Loire-Atlantique

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Loire-Atlantique (formerly Loire-Inférieure) is a department on the west coast of France named after the Loire River and the Atlantic Ocean.

Contents

History

Loire-Atlantique is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. Originally, it was named Loire-Inférieure, but its name was changed in 1957 to Loire-Atlantique.

The area was originally part of Brittany, and contains what many people still consider to be Brittany's capital, Nantes. This department was separated from Brittany in 1941 by the Vichy government. There is a popular campaign to have it reintegrated in Brittany.

Geography

Loire-Atlantique is part of the current region of Pays-de-la-Loire and is surrounded by the department of Morbihan, Ille-et-Vilaine, Maine-et-Loire, and Vendée, with the Atlantic on the west.

Culture

Upper Brittany's indigenous language is Gallo, a romance language related to French. The number of Gallo language speakers has been in steady decline since the early 20th century. The language is neither official nor taught in primary or secondary education. The Breton language, a Celtic language, native to Lower Brittany, was historically spoken in the western area of Loire-Atlantique, and up to 1920 in Batz-sur-Mer. This area (Guérande, Le Croisic, and La Baule) has a rather Breton toponymy: for instance, Guérande originates from the Breton Gwenn Rann (white or pure place).

The folklore and musical traditions of eastern or Lower Brittany are generally similar to those of western or Upper Brittany.

Transport

The département operates the Lila network of interurban buses, which link its villages, towns and cities. The urban areas of Nantes and Saint-Nazaire operate their own urban transport networks, known as Tan and Stran respectively.

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