LOIRE , adepartment of central France, made up in 1793 of the old
See also:district of Forez and portions of Beaujolais and Lyonnais, all formerly included in the province of Lyonnais . Pop . (1906) 643,943 .
See also:Area 1853 sq. m . It is bounded N. by the department of
See also:Saone-et-Loire, E. by those of Rhone and Isere, S. by
See also:Ardeche and Haute-Loire, and W. by
See also:Puy-de-Dome and Allier . From 1790 to 1793 it constituted, along with that of Rhone, a single department (Rhone-et-Loire) . It takes its name from the
See also:river which bisects it from south to
See also:north . The Rhone skirts the S.E. of the department, about one-eighth of which belongs to its
See also:basin . After
See also:crossing the
See also:southern border the Loire runs through
See also:wild gorges, passing the picturesque crag crowned by the old fortress of St Paul-en-Cornillon . At St
See also:Rambert it issues into the broad plain of Fotez, flows north as far as its confluence with the
See also:Aix where the plain ends, and then again traverses gorges till it enters the less extensive plain of
See also:Roanne in the extreme north of the department . These two plains, the beds of
See also:ancient lakes, are enclosed east and west by chains of mountains
See also:running parallel with the river . In the west are the Forez mountains, which
See also:separate the Loire basin from that of the Allier; their highest point (
See also:Pierre sur Haute, J381 ft.) is 12 m .
See also:Montbrison . They sink gradually towards the north, and are successively called Bois Noirs (4239 ft.), from their woods, and Monts de la Madeleine (3822 to 1640 ft.) . In the east the Rhone and Loire basins are separated, by Mont Pilat (4705 ft.) at the north extremity of the
See also:Cevennes, and by the hills of Lyonnais,
See also:Tarare, Beaujolais and Charolais, none of which rise higher than 3294 ft . Of the affluents of the Loire the most important are the Lignon du
See also:Nord, the beautiful valley of which has been called " La Suisse Forezienne," and the Aix on the
See also:left, and on the right the Ondaine (on which stand the
See also:industrial towns of Chambon-Feugerolles and
See also:Firminy), the Furens and the Rhin . The Gier forms a navigable channel to the Rhone at
See also:Givors, and has on its
See also:banks the industrial towns of St Chamond and Rive-de-Gier . From Mont Pilat descends the Debme, in the valley of which are the workshops of
See also:Annonay (q.v.) . The
See also:climate on the heights is
See also:cold and healthy, it is unwholesome in the marshy plain of Forez, mild in the valley of the Rhone . The
See also:annual rainfall varies from 39 to 48 in. on the Forez mountains, but only reaches 20 to 24 in. in the vicinity of Montbrison . The plains of Forez and Roanne are the two most important agricultural districts, but the
See also:total production of
See also:grain within the department is insufficient for the requirements of the population . The pasture lands of the plain of Forez, the western portion of which is irrigated by the canal of Forez, support a large number of live stock .
See also:Good pasturage is also found on the higher levels of the Forez mountains, on the north-eastern plateaus, where oxen of the famous Charolais breed are raised, and on the uplands generally . Wheat and
See also:rye are the leading cereal crops; oats come next inimportance,
See also:barley and colza occupying a relatively small area .
See also:vine is cultivated in the valley of the Rhone, on the
See also:lower slopes of the Forez mountains and on the hills west of the plain of Roanne . The forests of Mont Pilat and the Forez chain yield good-sized pines and
See also:wood for
See also:mining purposes . The so-called
See also:Lyons chestnuts are to a large extent obtained from Forez; the woods and pasture lands of Mont Pilat yield medicinal
See also:plants, such as mint . Poultry-rearing and bee-keeping are considerable
See also:industries . The department is
See also:rich in
See also:mineral springs, the
See also:waters of St Galmier,
See also:Sail-sous-Couzan, St Romain-le-Puy and St
See also:Alban being largely exported . The chief
See also:wealth of the department lies in the
See also:coal deposits of the basin of St Etienne (q.v.), the second in importance in France,
See also:quarrying is also active .
See also:Metal-working industries are centred in the S.E. of the department, where are the
See also:great manufacturing towns of St Etienne, Rive-de-Gier, St Chamond and Firminy . At St Etienne there is a
See also:national factory of arms, in which as many as io,000 have been employed; apart from other factories of the same kind carried on by private individuals, the production of hardware, locks, edge-tools,
See also:common cutlery, chain cables for the mines, files, rails, &c., occupies thousands of hands .
See also:steel is largely manufactured, and the workshops of the department supply the heaviest constructions required in
See also:naval architecture, as well as war material and machinery of every description . The
See also:industry is carried on at Rive-de-Gier and St Galmier . St Etienne and St Chamond are centres for the fabrication of
See also:ribbons, elastic ribbons and laces, and the dressing of raw silks . Between 50,000 and 6o,000
See also:people are employed in the last-named industries .
Thearrondissement of Roanne manufactures
See also:cotton stuffs, muslins and the like . That of Montbrison produces table
See also:linen . The department has numerous dye-
See also:flour-mills, paper works, tanyards,
See also:brick-works, silk-
See also:spinning works and
See also:hat factories . It is served by the
See also:Paris-Lyon railway, Roanne being the junction of important lines from Paris to Lyons and St Etienne . Within the department the Loire is hardly used for commercial navigation; the chief
See also:water-ways are the canal from Roanne to
See also:Digoin (13 m. in the department), that from Givors to Rive-de-Gier (7 m.) and the Rhone (7 m.) . Loire comprises three arrondissements—St Etienne, Montbrison and Roanne—with 31 cantons and 335 communes . It falls within the region of the XIII. army
See also:corps and the
See also:diocese and acaderie (educational circumscription) of Lyons, where also is its
See also:court of
See also:appeal . St Etienne is the capital, other leading towns being Roanne, Montbrison, Rive-de-Gier, St Chamond, Firminy and Le Chambon, all separately noticed . St Bonnet-le-Chateau, besides old houses, has a
See also:church of the 15th and 16th centuries, containing paintings of the 15th century; St Rambert and St Romain-le-Puy have priory churches of the itth and 12th centuries; and at Charlieu there are remains of a
See also:Benedictine abbey founded in the 9th century, including a
See also:porch decorated with
See also:fine Romanesque
See also:carving . LOIRE-INFERIEURE, a maritime department of western France, made up in 1790 of a portion of
See also:Brittany on the right and of the district of Retz on the left of the Loire, and bounded W. by the ocean, N. by
See also:Morbihan and Ille-et-Vilaine, E. by Maine-et-Loire and S. by Vendee . Pop . (1go6) 666,748 .
Area 2694 sq. m . The
See also:surface is very
See also:flat, and the highest point, in the north on the
See also:borders of Ille-et-Vilaine, reaches only 377 ft . The
See also:line of hillocks skirting the right
See also:bank of the Loire, and known as the sillon de Bretagne, scarcely exceeds 250 ft.; below Savenay they recede from the river, and meadows give place to
See also:peat bogs . North of St Nazaire and Grande Briere, measuring 9 M. by 6, and rising hardly to ft. above the
See also:sea-level, still supplies old trees which can be used for joiners'
See also:work . A few scattered villages occur on the more elevated spots, but communication is effected chiefly by the canals which intersect it . The district south of the Loire lies equally low; its most salient feature is the lake of Grandlieu, covering 27 sq. m., and surrounded by low and marshy ground, but so shallow (62 ft. at most) that drainage would be comparatively easy . The Loire (q.v.) has a course of 7o m. within the department . On the left bank a canal stretches for 9 m. between Pellerin, where the dikes which protect the Loire valley from inundation terminate, and Paimbreuf, and vessels
See also:drawing 17 or 18 ft. can reach Nantes . The
See also:principal towns on the river within the department are Ancenis, Nantes and St Nazaire (one of the most important commercial ports of France) on the right, and Paimboeuf on the left . The chief affluents are, on the right the Erdre and on the left the Sevre, both debouching at Nantes . The Erdre in its lower course broadens in places into lakes which give it the appearance of a large river . Four
See also:miles below Nort it coalesces with the canal from Nantes to
See also:Brest .
The Sevre is hemmed in by picturesque hills; at the point where it enters the department it flows past the beautiful
See also:town of Clisson with its imposing
See also:castle of the 13th century . Apart from the Loire, the only navigable channel of importance within the department is the Nantes and Brest canal, fed by the Isac, a tributary of the Vilaine, which separates Loire-Inferieure from Ille-et-Vilaine and Morbihan . The climate is humid, mild and equable . At Nantes the mean annual temperature is 54.70 Fahr., and there are one
See also:hundred and twenty-two
See also:rainy days, the annual rainfall being 25.6 in .
See also:Horse and
See also:cattle raising prospers, being carried on chiefly in the west of the department and in the Loire valley . Good
See also:butter and
See also:cheese are produced . Poultry also is reared, and there is a good
See also:deal of bee-keeping . Wheat, oats,
See also:buckwheat and potatoes are produced in great abundance; leguminous plants are also largely cultivated, especially near Nantes .
See also:cider and
See also:forage crops are the chief remaining agricultural products . The woods are of
See also:oak in the interior and
See also:pine on the
See also:coast . The department has deposits of tin, lead and iron . N.W. of Ancenis coal is obtained from a
See also:bed which is a prolongation of that of
See also:Anjou .
See also:salt marshes, about 6000 acres in all, occur for the most
See also:part between the mouth of the Vilaine and the Loire, and on the
See also:Bay of Bourgneuf, and salt-refining, of which Guerande is the centre, is an important industry . The granite of the sea-coast and of the Loire up to Nantes is quarried for large blocks . Steam-engines are built for the
See also:government at Indret, a few miles below Nantes; the forges of Basse-
See also:Indre are in good repute for the quality of their iron; and the production of the lead-smelting works at Coueron amounts to several millions of francs annually . There are also considerable foundries at Nantes, Chantenay, close to Nantes, and St Nazaire, and
See also:shipbuilding yards at Nantes and St Nazaire . Among other industries may be mentioned the preparation of pickles and preserved meats at Nantes, the curing of sardines at Le Croisic and in the neighbouring communes, the manufacture of
See also:sugar, brushes,
See also:tobacco, macaroni and similar foods,
See also:soap and chemicals at Nantes, and of paper, sugar and soap at Chantenay . Fishing is prosecuted along the entire coast, particularly at Le Croisic . Among the seaside resorts Le Croisic, Pornichet and Pornic, where there are megalithic monuments,may be mentioned . The department is traversed by the
See also:railways of the state, the
See also:company and the Western company . The department is di\ ided into five arrondissements—Nantes, Ancenis,
See also:Chateaubriant, Paimboeuf and St Nazaire—45 cantons and 219 communes . It has its appeal court at
See also:Rennes, which is also the centre of the academia (educational division) to which it belongs . The principal places are Nantes, the capital, St Nazaire and Chateaubriant, which receive separate treatment . On the west coast the town of Batz, and the neighbouring villages, situated on the peninsula of Batz, are inhabited by a small community possessed of a distinct
See also:costume and dialect, and claiming descent from a Saxon or Scandinavian stock .
Its members are employed for the most part in the salt marshes N.E. of the town . Guerande has well-preserved ramparts and
See also:gates of the 15th century, a church dating from the 12th to the 16th centuries, and other old buildings . At St Philbert-de-Grandlieu there is a church, rebuilt in the 16th and 17th centuries, but preserving remains of a previous edifice belonging at least to the beginning of the 11th century .
LOIN (through O. Fr. loigne or logne, mod. lunge, f...
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