Pays de la Loire (French pronunciation: [pe.i də la lwaʁ]; Breton: Broioù al Liger, meaning Loire Country) is one of the 18 regions of France. It is one of the regions created in the 1950s to serve as a zone of influence for its capital, Nantes, one of a handful so-called "balancing metropolises" (métropoles d'équilibre)¹.
Pays de la Loire is made up of the following historical provinces:
Thus the name of the region, chosen by the French central government, was not based on history, but purely on geographical references: Pays ("lands") de la Loire ("of the Loire"). The majority of the châteaux of the Loire Valley are located in the Centre-Val de Loire region, and not in Pays de la Loire.
The Pays de la Loire has numerous prominent monuments, such as the castles of Angers and Laval, and the Nantes Château des Ducs de Bretagne, the Royal Fontevraud Abbey (the widest monastic ensemble in Europe), and the old city of Le Mans. In addition, it also has 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|
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.
¹ In the 1960s under the Charles de Gaulle government, 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.
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