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Pays de la Loire

Pays de la Loire
Region of France
Template:Infobox settlement/columns
Country 23x15px France
Prefecture Nantes
 • President Jacques Auxiette (PS)
 • Total 32,082 km2 (12,387 sq mi)
 • Total 3,553,353
 • Density 110/km2 (290/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code FR-R
GDP (2012)[1] Ranked 5th
Total €101.2 billion (US$130.2 bn)
Per capita €27,775 (US$35,725)
NUTS Region FR5

Pays de la Loire (Template:IPA-fr; Breton: Broioù al Liger) is one of the 27 regions of France. It is one of the regions created in the late 20th century to serve as a zone of influence for its capital, Nantes, one of a handful so-called "balancing metropolises" (métropoles d'équilibre)¹. Other examples of "artificially created" regions include Rhône-Alpes, which was created as the region for Lyon, and Midi-Pyrénées, which was created as the region for Toulouse.


Pays de la Loire is made up of the following historical provinces:

  • Part of Brittany, with its old capital Nantes contained within the Loire-Atlantique department. This is only 20% of historical Brittany. The other 80% of historical Brittany makes up the region of Brittany
  • Anjou: is largely contained within the Maine-et-Loire department; the whole of the former province of Anjou is contained inside Pays de la Loire.
  • Maine: is now divided between the Mayenne and Sarthe departments; the whole of the former province of Maine is contained inside Pays de la Loire.
  • Part of Poitou: is contained within the Vendée department; most of the old province of Poitou is inside the Poitou-Charentes region.
  • Part of Perche: is within the northeast of Sarthe department; the rest of Perche is inside the Basse-Normandie and Centre regions.
  • Small part of Touraine: southeast of Maine-et-Loire department; most of the former province of Touraine is inside the Centre region.
A vine in Brem, Pays de la Loire

Thus the name of the region, chosen by the French central government, was not based on history, but purely on geographical references: Pays (i.e., "lands") de la Loire (i.e. "of the Loire River"). However, the majority of the famous châteaux of the Loire Valley are located in the Centre region, and not inside Pays de la Loire, despite the confusing name. The Pays de la Loire present many great monuments as the castles of Angers, Laval, Mayenne and the Nantes "Château des Ducs de Bretagne", the Royal Fontevraud Abbey (the widest monastic ensemble in Europe), the old city of Le Mans, and also many natural parks such as the Brière and the Marsh of Poitou.


Evolution of the population listed by departments:

Year Population of the departments
Loire-Atlantique department Maine-et-Loire department Mayenne department Sarthe department Vendée department Total Pays de la Loire
1801 369,305 375,544 305,654 388,143 243,426 1,682,072
1851 535,664 516,197 374,566 473,071 383,734 2,283,232
1901 664,971 515,431 313,103 422,699 441,311 2,357,515
1921 649,691 475,485 397,292 2,174,150
1936 659,428 478,404 251,348 388,519 389,211 2,166,910
1946 665,064 393,787 2,224,163
1954 733,575 395,641 2,320,177
1962 803,372 535,122 250,030 443,019 408,928 2,440,471
1968 861,452 585,563 252,762 461,839 421,250 2,582,866
1975 934,499 629,849 261,789 490,385 450,641 2,767,163
1982 995,498 675,321 271,784 504,768 483,027 2,930,398
1990 1,050,539 704,668 277,748 513,280 508,962 3,055,197
2005 1,208,761 754,997 297,854 551,971 587,162 3,400,745

An increase in the population was seen particularly as people migrated from all over France to the Loire region due to the rise of Nantes to prominence.

Major communities

The biggest city in Pays de la Loire is Nantes, which is the sixth most populated city in France with over 290,000 people (city proper) and a metropolitan population of almost 900,000.

File:Angers Oisellerie.jpg
Half-timbered houses in Angers

Angers is another metropolis of the region. It has a metropolitan population of about 400,000 and is the third biggest job provider in north-western France, just behind Nantes and Rennes.

Le Mans is another city in Pays de la Loire. Situaded in north-east Pays de la Loire, Le Mans is home to over 300,000 (metropolitan population).


¹ In the 1960s, eight large regional cities of France (Lille, Nancy, Strasbourg, Lyon, Nantes, Bordeaux, Marseille, Toulouse) were made "balancing metropolises", receiving special financial and technical help from the French government in order to counterbalance the excessive weight of Paris inside France.

See also


External links

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