Deux-Sèvres

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Deux-Sèvres (French pronunciation: [dø sɛvʁ]) is a French département. Deux-Sèvres literally means "two Sèvres": the Sèvre Nantaise and the Sèvre Niortaise are two rivers which have their sources in the department.

Contents

History

Deux-Sèvres was one of the 83 original départements created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790.

Geography & Economics

The climate is mild, the annual temperature averaging 11 degrees Celsius.

The département remains rural: three-quarters of the area consists of arable land. Wheat and oats are the main products grown, as well as potatoes, apples, and walnuts. Niort is the center for growing vegetables and angelica. Some beetroot is grown in the district of Melle. Vineyards are numerous in the north (Vins du Haut-Poitou), and there are some in the south. The département is also well known for the breeding of cattle, mules, and horses. The Parthenais breed of cattle is named after the town of Parthenay in the north of the département. Also, dairy products are collected in sizeable quantities (butter in Echiré, goats cheese).

Some quarries are in operation (in Mazières-en-Gâtine, La Peyratte or Saint-Varent), as well as lime extraction operations.

Textiles, leather-tanning, and flour milling were the traditional industries of Niort, the capital and major city. Nowadays, Niort, with 60,000 inhabitants, is an important commercial and administrative center; in particular it is one of the main financial centers in France (fourth in rank after Paris, Lyon and Lille). Niort is the national headquarters of some of the major insurance companies in France (MAAF, MACIF, MAIF and others) and regional headquarters of others such as Groupama. The regional headquarters of several national banks including Banque Populaire and Crédit Agricole are located there. The services sector is also heavily represented in Niort, in consulting, accounting, brokerage and software. Chemistry, pharmacy (Boiron) and aeronautics (Zodiac Group, Leach International) are the main industries.

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