Main Births etc
Pays de la Loire
—  Region of France  —
Château de Montsoreau


Coat of arms

Country  France
Prefecture Nantes
 • President of the Regional Council Christelle Morançais (LR)
 • Total 32,082 km2 (12,387 sq mi)
Area rank 8th
 • Total 3,553,352
 • Density 110/km2 (290/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+01:00)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+02:00)
ISO 3166 code FR-PDL
GDP (2012)[1] Ranked 5th
Total €101.2 billion (US$130.2 bn)
Per capita €27,775 (US$35,725)
NUTS Region FR5

Pays de la Loire (French: [pe.i də la lwaʁ]; lit.    'Loire Countries'    or 'Loire Lands') are one of the 18 regions of France, in the west of the mainland. It was created in the 1950s to serve as a zone of influence for its capital, Nantes, one of a handful of "balancing metropolises" (métropoles d'équilibre)¹.


A vine in Brem, Pays de la Loire

Pays de la Loire is in western France, bordered by Brittany on the northwest, Normandy on the north, Centre-Val de Loire on the east, Nouvelle-Aquitaine on the south, and the Bay of Biscay of the North Atlantic Ocean on the southwest.

Departments and Former Provinces[]

Pays de la Loire comprises five departments: Loire-Atlantique, Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Sarthe, Vendée.

Pays de la Loire is made up of the following historical provinces:

  • Part of Brittany, with its old capital Nantes contained within the Loire-Atlantique department. This is only 20% of historical Brittany. The other 80% of historical Brittany makes up the region of Brittany
  • Anjou: is largely contained within the Maine-et-Loire department; the whole of the former province of Anjou is contained inside Pays de la Loire.
  • Maine: is now divided between the Mayenne and Sarthe departments; the whole of the former province of Maine is contained inside Pays de la Loire.
  • Part of Poitou: is contained within the Vendée department; most of the old province of Poitou is inside the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region.
  • Part of Perche: is within the northeast of Sarthe department; the rest of Perche is inside the Normandy and Centre-Val de Loire regions.
  • Small part of Touraine: southeast of Maine-et-Loire department; most of the former province of Touraine is inside the Centre region.

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").

Loire Valley is a UNESCO listed World heritage Site since 2000, it is located both in the administrative regions of Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire.[2][3] Although majority of the châteaux of the Loire Valley such as Montsoreau, Angers, Saumur or Brézé in Pays de la Loire are located in the Maine-et-Loire departement,[4] Pays de la Loire has numerous prominent monuments, such as the castles of 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. 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
1801 369,305 375,544 305,654 388,143 243,426 1,682,072
1851 535,664 516,197 374,566 473,071 383,734 2,283,232
1901 664,971 515,431 313,103 422,699 441,311 2,357,515
1921 649,691 475,485 397,292 2,174,150
1936 659,428 478,404 251,348 388,519 389,211 2,166,910
1946 665,064 393,787 2,224,163
1954 733,575 395,641 2,320,177
1962 803,372 535,122 250,030 443,019 408,928 2,440,471
1968 861,452 585,563 252,762 461,839 421,250 2,582,866
1975 934,499 629,849 261,789 490,385 450,641 2,767,163
1982 995,498 675,321 271,784 504,768 483,027 2,930,398
1990 1,050,539 704,668 277,748 513,280 508,962 3,055,197
2005 1,208,761 754,997 297,854 551,971 587,162 3,400,745

A steep 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.


The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the region was 119.1 billion euros in 2018, accounting for 5.1% of French economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 28,200 euros or 94% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 102% of the EU average.[5]

Major communities[]

Half-timbered houses in Angers

The biggest city in Pays de la Loire is Nantes, which is the sixth most populated city in France with over 315,000 people (city proper) and a metropolitan population of almost 975,000.

Angers is another metropolis of the region. It has a metropolitan population of about 400,000 and is the third biggest job provider in north-western France, just behind Nantes and Rennes.

Le Mans is another city in Pays de la Loire. Situated in north-east Pays de la Loire, Le Mans is home to over 300,000 (metropolitan population).

See also[]

  • Saint-Paulin cheese, another Trappist cheese from France
  • Château de Montsoreau-Museum of Contemporary Art, featuring the Philippe Méaille Collection, the largest collection of works by the radical conceptual artists of Art & Language.[6][7][8][9]
  • Montsoreau Flea Market, the largest Flea Market in the Loire Valley, every second Sunday of the month.[10][11][12]


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.


  1. ^ INSEE. "Produits intérieurs bruts régionaux et valeurs ajoutées régionallolà 2012". 
  2. ^ Centre, UNESCO World Heritage. "The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes" (in en). 
  3. ^ Tockner, Klement; Uehlinger, Urs; Robinson, Christopher T. (2009). Rivers of Europe. Academic Press. p. 183. ISBN 978-0-12-369449-2. 
  4. ^ "Loire Valley Chateaux |Castles| visit from our extensive list". 
  5. ^ "Regional GDP per capita ranged from 30% to 263% of the EU average in 2018". 
  6. ^ "Largest Art & Language Collection Finds Home - artnet News" (in en-US). artnet News. 2015-06-23. 
  7. ^ "MACBA banks on History". 2011. 
  8. ^ "Art & Language Uncompleted". 2014. 
  9. ^ "Chateau de Montsoreau - FIAC" (in en). 2017-09-23. 
  10. ^ "Practical Information" (in en). 
  11. ^ "Snapshots of the Loire The Montsoreau flea market" (in en). 
  12. ^ "Discover the World's 500 Best Flea Markets" (in en-US). 

External links[]

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Coordinates: 47°28′N 0°50′W / 47.467, -0.833