Keyword: Pyrenees

The smugglers and ancient alliances defying the borders of the Pyrenees

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Shops in the Andorran town of El Pas de la Casa enjoy brisk year-round business with customers and smugglers attracted by its low VAT rates. © Photo Emmanuel Riondé pour Mediapart Shops in the Andorran town of El Pas de la Casa enjoy brisk year-round business with customers and smugglers attracted by its low VAT rates. © Photo Emmanuel Riondé pour Mediapart

The Pyrenees mountains separating France and Spain have long been a crossing route for smugglers of all kinds of wares, which today range from cigarettes to elvers. But the 623-kilometre-long border between the two countries, definitively traced in 1866, has also never been a barrier for the centuries-old exchanges, local alliances and regulations established between the communities living on either side. Emmanuel Riondé reports. 

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