Pays de la Loire in Western France
The Pays de la Loire is one of the 13 regions of Metropolitan France.
It includes 5 departments:
Loire-Atlantique (Nantes – 44), the western side of Maine-et-Loire (Angers – 49), Mayenne (Laval – 53), Sarthe (Le Mans – 72) and Vendée (La Roche-sur-Yon – 85)
It préfecture is Nantes.
The department of Loire Atlantique corresponds to the south part of the historical Duchy of Brittany.
Nantes, the former capital of the Dukes of Brittany, therefore boasts a rich cultural and architectural heritage.
The department of Vendée was originally known as Bas-Poitou and was part of the historical province of Poitou, which used to be part of the Duchy of Aquitaine.
Legend has it that Eleanor of Aquitaine, the only daughter of the Duke of Aquitaine, was born in the village of Nieul-sur-l’Autise.
Eleanor married Henry Plantagenet, the future Henry II of England, and brought him the southwest of France (and more) in her dowry.
She was at the origin of the rivalry that opposed French and English for generations.
Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne and Sarthe departments were created during the French Revolution.
The first corresponds to the historical province of Anjou, the other two to sections of Anjou and the historical province of Maine.
These two provinces were the property of the powerful dynasty of the Dukes of Anjou, the descendants of Henry Plantagenet.
They were also coveted by the neighbouring Dukes of Normandy and changed hand several times during the Middle-Ages.
Pays de la Loire is therefore a region that boasts a rich history.
It spreads on both banks of the river Loire; this translates in an interesting array of landscapes and climates.
You’ll therefore find several renowned seaside resorts and vineyards in Vendée, a region that benefits from an oceanic weather,
The historical cities of Nantes, Angers and their chateaux and the city of Le Mans attract many visitors, while rural Mayenne and Sarthe are known for their beautiful landscapes.
Area: 32,082 km²
Population: 3.658,000 (2013)