Tarbes (tärb) [key], city (1990 pop. 50,228), capital of Hautes-Pyrénées dept., SW France, on the Adour River. It is an industrial, commercial, and tourist center in a cattle- and horse-raising area. In addition to the traditional forging and leather industries, there are machinery, arsenal, aircraft, and electrical-equipment manufactures. The city was called Bigorra in Roman times and was later the capital of the earldom of Bigorre. In the 6th cent. it became an episcopal see. Invaded and destroyed many times in the course of its history, Tarbes was joined to the French crown in the 16th cent. In the city are the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-la-Sède (13th–15th cent.), the churches of St. Jean and St. Thérèse (13th cent.), and the base of a tower of an old castle built by the counts of Bigorre. Théophile Gautier and Marshal Ferdinand Foch were born in Tarbes.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: French Political Geography