Culture, museumsand heritage sites

Famous faces of Tarbes

You have probably heard of these singers, sports personalities, writers and politicians!
But did you know that they were born in Tarbes?
Tarbes en tourisme - Office du tourisme - Hautes-Pyrénées - Boulevard des Airs

Boulevard des Airs

Boulevard des Airs (BDA) is a French pop band with catchy tunes, meaningful lyrics and a touch of electro!

BDA is a group of friends who are all from Tarbes and in 2004 decided to form a band. Sylvain Duthu, Florent and Jean-Noël Dasque, Jérémie Planté, and Laurent Garnier are all a part of this exciting adventure and each brings his own style and influence.

After years of hard work, their album ‘Bruxelles’ propelled them to fame when it went double platinum in 2015. In 2018, they won the song of the year at the Victoire de la Musique competition with their song ‘Je me dis que toi aussi’.

As they became more and more well-known, they were invited to perform at some of the big festivals in France such as the Francofolies and Garorock, and to team up with some big names, such as Dj Snake, Vianney, Tryo, LEJ, Patrick Bruel, Yannick Noah, Claudio Capéo, Lola Dubini, Jérémy Frérot, and many more.

The band likes to do their part in helping others and so they composed the song for the charity event Les Enfoirés 2020, ‘A côté de toi’, along with Tibz and prepared the launch of their very own label to help young artists break into the music scene!

They are attached to their hometown and continue to compose and produce their work here. It’s not rare to see them performing at Chez Marcel or just enjoying a drink with friends.

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David Fray

David Fray was born in Tarbes in 1981 and is an international renowned pianist.

David Fray’s parents were both teachers and he started playing the piano at a very young age. At the age of 14, he was honoured by the Conservatoire de Tarbes and then at the age of 18 he joined the ‘Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse’ in Paris and graduated with distinction. David Fray was then accepted onto a postgraduate course with Jacques Rouvier, and then went on to study chamber music. Since finishing his studies, he has been performing on some of the most prestigious stages and plays with international orchestras. He performs all over the world.

Treat yourselves to a concert in Tarbes! David Fray organised a festival, with other musicians including Renaud Capuçon: L’Offrande Musicale from 26th June to 7th July 2021.

Tarbes en tourisme - Office du tourisme - Hautes-Pyrénées - David Fray

Céline Dumerc

Céline Dumerc was born in Tarbes in 1982 and is an international basketball player. She joined INSEP the same year as Tony Parker! She played with ‘les violettes’ at TGB (the women’s team for Tarbes with quiet a few victories to their name) from 2000 to 2003. Over the years, she was recognised as point guard for the French national team and was selected 262 times, a record! She then became team captain. She led her team to victory at various European championships, as well as the Olympic Games in London!

She currently plays point guard for Basket Landes thanks to her height, 1m69.

Today, Cap’s (that’s her nickname) is the general manager for the French national women’s basketball team.

This summer, you might just see her on the terrace of the bar-restaurant Chez Marcel!

Bastien Montes

Bastien Montes is a high-level athlete who was born in 1985 in Tarbes and has a very fast-paced lifestyle! His parents were professionals in the sports industry and so he was brought up with sport and very quickly took an interest in various disciplines. He is a French speed skier and a fan of extreme sports, and enjoys travelling around the world. Bastien Montes was crowned world champion in 2017 when he reached a speed of over 251 km/h. He lives in Tarbes and practices his skiing technique in our beautiful Pyrenees to make sure he’s on top form for upcoming competitions. In the summer, if you’re lucky, you might run into him on the terrace of Chez Marcel

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Tarbes en tourisme - Office du tourisme - Hautes-Pyrénées - Bastien Montes

Charles Dantzig

Charles Dantzig was born in 1961 in Tarbes and is a writer and editor.

He is the author of countless novels, including ‘Nos Vies Hâtives‘, published by Grasset in 2001 and awarded the Jean-Freustié award and the Roger-Nimier award. In 2005, the ‘Dictionnaire Egoïste de la Littérature Française‘ was published and awarded the Prix Décembre and the Prix de l’Essai from the Académie Française which was a huge success with both the critics and the general public, both in France and overseas. Charles Dantzig is also a poet and takes a keen interest in art. He participates in art magazines and exhibitions at the Centre Pompidou Metz, the Musée d’Orsay and the Petit Palais.

He enjoys coming back to Tarbes, often for book signings, such as for the ‘Dictionnaire Egoïste de la Littérature Mondiale‘. He studied at the Lycée Théophile Gautier.

Yvette Horner

Yvette Horner (1922- 2018) was born in Tarbes, and is a French accordion player, pianist and composer.

You’ve most likely already seen Yvette with her flaming red hair and sombrero, playing the accordion along the routes of the Tour de France!

She studied music at the Conservatoire de Toulouse and at the age of 11, she won her very first prize as a pianist. Her mother made her play the chromatic button accordion. She performed for the first time at the Les Nouveautés Theatre, which belonged to her grandmother. In 1948, Yvette Horner was the first woman to win the accordion World Cup. She was propelled to fame across France thanks to her involvement in the Tour de France. For eleven editions of the Tour, ‘Vévette’ could be seen on the roof of an advertising car, wearing a sombrero. During her seventy-year-long career, Yvette Horner performed 2,000 concerts, and sold 30 million copies of 150 records. To show her contempt for the intelligentsia status class, Yvette Horner was dressed in blue, white and red by fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier to pose as the face of the bicentenary of the Storming of the Bastille ont he 14th July 1989, alongside Guinean musician Mory Kanté.

Yvette Horner died at the age of 95 in Courbevoie.

Come to Saint Jean cemetery on Rue Saint Jean to see the extraordinary statue in her name.

Tarbes en tourisme - Office du tourisme - Hautes-Pyrénées - Yvette Horner

Marshall Foch

Ferdinand Foch (1851 – 1929) was born in Tarbes. He lived there for the first twelve years of his life and was a pupil at the Théophile Gautier high school. .

His military career brought him back to his hometown, as he was made lieutenant for the 24th Artillery Regiment in Tarbes.

His first operations in the Great War were a disaster for him and he was temporarily disgraced due to the significant blood shed and human loss. In 1918, this student of the Ecole Polytechnique became commander in chief of the Allied Forces on the Western Front, then he was promoted to generalissimo of the allied armies in 1919. As Marshall of France, Great Britain and Poland, he was the only person to have ever had all three titles under his belt!

On the 11th November 1918, Foch signed the Armistice with Germany on behalf of the Allies, after leading France to victory.

Since 1937, Marshall Foch has been resting at Les Invalides. Foch is the 9th most cited person on the road names of France.

Come and visit his childhood home, a beautiful 18th-century, Bigorre-style house on Rue de la Victoire.

Théophile Gautier

Théophile Gautier (1811- 1872) was born in Tarbes in 1811 and was a French poet, novellist and art critic. Théophile Gautier is the author of Captain Fracasse, but his career didn’t stop there. The work of this local of Tarbes was in fact extremely diverse, as he was also a poet, traveller and critic. Novels, ballets, theatre productions, travel logbooks (for Spain, Italy, Russia, etc.), short stories… Baudelaire dedicated ‘Les Fleurs du Mal’ to this “impeccable poet, a perfect magician of French literature”.
You may think you know about Théophile Gautier but there are still some surprises to uncover!
The classicism of some of Théophile Gautier’s work can still take you by surprise. In his novel ‘Le Roman de la Momie’, you’ll find some of the greatest pages in French fantastic literature.

He spent his childhood in Tarbes. He grew up in his childhood home at 23 Rue Brauhauban. In the historic town centre the Lycée Théophile Gautier, on Rue Abbé Torné is another beautiful architectural masterpiece to discover.

You may think you know about Théophile Gautier but there are still some surprises to uncover!

The classicism of some of Théophile Gautier’s work can still take you by surprise. In his novel ‘Le Roman de la Momie’, you’ll find some of the greatest pages in French fantastic literature.

Tarbes en tourisme - Office du tourisme - Hautes-Pyrénées - Théophile Gautier

Bertrand Barère de Vieuzac

Bertrand Barère (1755 – 1841) was born in Tarbes, in an upper-class family of magistrates. He was a qualified lawyer and became a major political figure of the French Revolution thanks to his talents as a speaker. He was Deputy for the Third Estate in 1789 and was elected General Councillor under Louis-Philippe from 1834 to 1840. The creation of the Hautes-Pyrénées with the capital as Tarbes is also thanks to him. Bertrand Barère’s roots were very important to him and so it was impossible to imagine that Bigorre and Béarn would be merged and cease to be two independent entities! His childhood home is at 31 Rue Brauhauban, opposite the church of Saint Jean.