The Indre is a 279.3 km long river in central France, a left tributary to the Loire. Its source is in the department of Cher, near Préveranges, it flows through the departments of Cher and Indre-et-Loire. It flows northwest, through the communes of La Châtre, Châteauroux and Loches, it joins the Loire near the site of the Chinon nuclear power plant, north of Avoine. Its main tributary is the Indrois. Departments and towns along the river: Cher Indre: La Châtre, Châteauroux Indre-et-Loire: Loches http://www.geoportail.fr
Sunshine duration or sunshine hours is a climatological indicator, measuring duration of sunshine in given period for a given location on Earth expressed as an averaged value over several years. It is a general indicator of cloudiness of a location, thus differs from insolation, which measures the total energy delivered by sunlight over a given period. Sunshine duration is expressed in hours per year, or in hours per day; the first measure indicates the general sunniness of a location compared with other places, while the latter allows for comparison of sunshine in various seasons in the same location. Another often-used measure is percentage ratio of recorded bright sunshine duration and daylight duration in the observed period. An important use of sunshine duration data is to characterize the climate of sites of health resorts; this takes into account the psychological effect of strong solar light on human well-being. It is used to promote tourist destinations. If the Sun were to be above the horizon 50% of the time for a standard year consisting of 8,760 hours, apparent maximal daytime duration would be 4,380 hours for any point on Earth.
However, there are physical and astronomical effects. Namely, atmospheric refraction allows the Sun to be still visible when it physically sets below the horizon. For that reason, average daytime is longest in polar areas, where the apparent Sun spends the most time around the horizon. Places on the Arctic Circle have the longest total annual daytime, 4,647 hours, while the North Pole receives 4,575; because of elliptic nature of the Earth's orbit, the Southern Hemisphere is not symmetrical: the Antarctic Circle, with 4,530 hours of daylight, receives five days less of sunshine than its antipodes. The Equator has a total daytime of 4,422 hours per year. Given the theoretical maximum of daytime duration for a given location, there is a practical consideration at which point the amount of daylight is sufficient to be treated as a "sunshine hour". "Bright" sunshine hours represent the total hours when the sunlight is stronger than a specified threshold, as opposed to just "visible" hours. "Visible" sunshine, for example, occurs around sunrise and sunset, but is not strong enough to excite the sensor.
Measurement is performed by instruments called sunshine recorders. For the specific purpose of sunshine duration recording, Campbell–Stokes recorders are used, which use a spherical glass lens to focus the sun rays on a specially designed tape; when the intensity exceeds a pre-determined threshold, the tape burns. The total length of the burn trace is proportional to the number of bright hours. Another type of recorder is the Jordan sunshine recorder. Newer, electronic recorders have more stable sensitivity than that of the paper tape. In order to harmonize the data measured worldwide, in 1962 the World Meteorological Organization defined a standardized design of the Campbell–Stokes recorder, called an Interim Reference Sunshine Recorder. In 2003, the sunshine duration was defined as the period during which direct solar irradiance exceeds a threshold value of 120 W/m². Sunshine duration follows a general geographic pattern: subtropical latitudes have the highest sunshine values, because these are the locations of the eastern sides of the subtropical high pressure systems, associated with the large-scale descent of air from the upper-level tropopause.
Many of the world's driest climates are found adjacent to the eastern sides of the subtropical highs, which create stable atmospheric conditions, little convective overturning, little moisture and cloud cover. Desert regions, with nearly constant high pressure aloft and rare condensation—like North Africa, the Southwestern United States, Western Australia, the Middle East—are examples of hot, dry climates where sunshine duration values are high; the two major areas with the highest sunshine duration, measured as annual average, are the central and the eastern Sahara Desert—covering vast desert countries such as Egypt, Libya and Niger—and the Southwestern United States. The city claiming the official title of the sunniest in the world is Yuma, with over 4,000 hours of bright sunshine annually, but many climatological books suggest there may be sunnier areas in North Africa. In the belt encompassing northern Chad and the Tibesti Mountains, northern Sudan, southern Libya, Upper Egypt, annual sunshine duration is estimated at over 4,000 hours.
There is a smaller, isolated area of sunshine maximum in the heart of the western section of the Sahara Desert around the Eglab Massif and the Erg Chech, along the borders of Algeria and Mali where the 4,000-hour mark is exceeded, too. Some places in the interior of the Arabian Peninsula receive 3,600–3,800 hours of bright sunshine annually; the largest sun-baked region in the world is North Africa. The sunniest month in the world is December in Eastern Antarctica, with 23 hours of bright sun daily. Conversely, higher latitudes lying in stormy westerlies have much cloudier and more unstable and rainy weather, have the lowest values of sunshine duration annually. Temperate oceanic climates like those in northwestern Europe, the western coast of Canada, areas of New Zealand's South Island are examples of cool, wet, humid climates where cloudless sunshine duration values are low; the areas with the lowest sunshine duration annually lie over the polar oceans, as well as parts of northern Europe, southern Alaska, northern Russia, areas near the Sea of
Brittany is a cultural region in the northwest of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown. Brittany has been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain, it is bordered by the English Channel to the north, the Celtic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean to the west, the Bay of Biscay to the south. Its land area is 34,023 km². Brittany is the site of some of the world's oldest standing architecture, home to the Barnenez, the Tumulus Saint-Michel and others, which date to the early 5th millennium BC. Today, the historical province of Brittany is split among five French departments: Finistère in the west, Côtes-d'Armor in the north, Ille-et-Vilaine in the north east, Loire-Atlantique in the south east and Morbihan in the south on the Bay of Biscay. Since reorganisation in 1956, the modern administrative region of Brittany comprises only four of the five Breton departments, or 80% of historical Brittany.
The remaining area of old Brittany, the Loire-Atlantique department around Nantes, now forms part of the Pays de la Loire region. At the 2010 census, the population of historic Brittany was estimated to be 4,475,295. Of these, 71 % lived in the region of Brittany. In 2012, the largest metropolitan areas were Nantes and Brest. Brittany is the traditional homeland of the Breton people and is recognised by the Celtic League as one of the six Celtic nations, retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history. A nationalist movement seeks greater autonomy within the French Republic; the word Brittany, along with its French and Gallo equivalents Bretagne and Bertaèyn, derive from the Latin Britannia, which means "Britons' land". This word had been used by the Romans since the 1st century to refer to Great Britain, more the Roman province of Britain; this word derives from a Greek word, Πρεττανικη or Βρεττανίαι, used by Pytheas, an explorer from Massalia who visited the British Islands around 320 BC.
The Greek word itself comes from the common Brythonic ethnonym reconstructed as *Pritanī, itself from Proto-Celtic *kʷritanoi. The Romans called Brittany Armorica, together with a quite indefinite region that extended along the English Channel coast from the Seine estuary to the Loire estuary, according to several sources, maybe along the Atlantic coast to the Garonne estuary; this term comes from a Gallic word, which means "close to the sea". Another name, was used until the 12th century, it means "wide and flat" or "to expand" and it gave the Welsh name for Brittany: Llydaw. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, many Britons settled in western Armorica, the region started to be called Britannia, although this name only replaced Armorica in the sixth century or by the end of the fifth. Authors like Geoffrey of Monmouth used the terms Britannia minor and Britannia major to distinguish Brittany from Britain. Breton-speaking people may pronounce the word Breizh in two different ways, according to their region of origin.
Breton can be divided into the dialect of Vannes. KLT speakers pronounce it and would write it Breiz, while the Vannetais speakers pronounce it and would write it Breih; the official spelling is a compromise with a z and an h together. In 1941, efforts to unify the dialects led to the creation of the so-called Breton zh, a standard which has never been accepted. On its side, Gallo language has never had a accepted writing system and several ones coexist. For instance, the name of the region in that language can be written Bertaèyn in ELG script, or Bertègn in MOGA, a couple of other scripts exist. Brittany has been inhabited by humans since the Lower Paleolithic; the first settlers were Neanderthals. This population was scarce and similar to the other Neanderthals found in the whole of Western Europe, their only original feature was a distinct culture, called "Colombanian". One of the oldest hearths in the world has been found in Finistère, it is 450,000 years old. Homo sapiens settled in Brittany around 35,000 years ago.
They replaced or absorbed the Neanderthals and developed local industries, similar to the Châtelperronian or to the Magdalenian. After the last glacial period, the warmer climate allowed the area to become wooded. At that time, Brittany was populated by large communities who started to change their lifestyles from a life of hunting and gathering, to become settled farmers. Agriculture was introduced during the 5th millennium BC by migrants from the east. However, the Neolithic Revolution in Brittany did not happen due to a radical change of population, but by slow immigration and exchange of skills. Neolithic Brittany is characterised by important megalithic production, it is sometimes designated as the "core area" of megalithic culture; the oldest monuments, were followed by princely tombs and stone rows. The Morbihan département, on the southern coast, comprises a large share of these structures, including the Carnac stones and the Broken Menhir of Er Grah in the Locmariaquer megaliths, the largest single stone erected by Neoli
Bourges is a city in central France on the Yèvre river. It is the capital of the department of Cher, was the capital of the former province of Berry; the name of the city derives either from the Bituriges, the name of the original inhabitants, or from the Germanic Burg, for "hill/village". The Celts called it Avaricon. In 52 BC, the sixth year of the Gallic Wars the Gauls were practicing a scorched earth policy to try to deny Caesar's forces supplies, but the inhabitants of Avaricum begged not to have their city burned, it was temporarily spared due to its good defences provided by the surrounding marshes, a river that nearly encircled it, a strong southern wall. Julius Caesar's forces captured and destroyed the city, killing all but 800 of its inhabitants. Rome reconstructed Avaricum as a Roman city, with a monumental gate, thermae and an amphitheatre, reaching a greater size than it would attain during the Middle Ages; the massive walls surrounding the late Roman city, enclosing 40 hectares, were built in part with stone re-used from earlier public buildings.
The third-century AD Saint Ursinus known as Saint Ursin, is considered the first bishop of the city. Bourges is the seat of an archbishopric. During the 8th century Bourges lay on the northern fringes of the Duchy of Aquitaine and was therefore the first town to come under Frankish attacks when the Franks crossed the Loire; the Frankish Charles Martel captured the town in 731, but Duke Odo the Great of Aquitaine re-took it. It remained under the rule of counts who pledged allegiance to the Aquitanian dukes up to the destructive siege by Frankish King Pepin the Short on independent Aquitaine in 762, when Basque troops are found defending the town along with its count. During the Middle Ages, Bourges served as the capital of the Viscounty of Bourges until 1101. In the fourteenth century it became the capital of the Duchy of Berry; the future king of France, Charles VII, sought refuge there in the 1420s during the Hundred Years' War. His son, Louis XI, was born there in 1423. In 1438, Charles VII decreed the Pragmatic Sanction of Bourges.
During this period, Bourges was a major capital of alchemy. The Gothic Cathedral of Saint Etienne, begun at the end of the twelfth century, ranks as a World Heritage Site, it is considered as one of the earliest examples of the High Gothic style of the thirteenth century. The city has a long tradition of history. Apart from the cathedral, other sites of importance include the 15th-century Palace of Jacques Cœur and a sixty-five-hectare district of half-timbered houses and fine town-houses. Bourges sits at the river junction; the disused Canal de Berry follows alongside the course of the Auron through Bourges. The climate is oceanic with a regular precipitation. However, its location in the center of France, makes the city has a better experience in the distinctions of the seasons, for example: its cold record is lower than that of Lille in the far north of the country at the same time that its heat record is higher than that of Marseille in the Mediterranean, its summers are quite hot for a marine climate of the west coast, but its winters are still mild to qualify in a continental climate due to the latitude and influence of the Atlantic Ocean and not only of seas like East Germany.
The temperatures can be compared to the valleys of the interior of western Washington like East Renton Highlands, although Val de Loire has less humidity of the air due to the greater distance of the ocean and less precipitation. The wettest month is May on average and April, the driest previous month although precipitation differences are small. July tends to be the hottest month and unlike coastal cities, January is the coldest month, its Gothic cathedral was added to the list of the World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 1992 Jacques Cœur's palace Lallemant's hotel, from the early French Renaissance The Berry museum, located in the Cujas' hotel The Estève museum, located in the so-called aldermen's hotel The marshes of the Yèvre and Voiselle rivers were listed in 2003 as a French Natural Monument or Site The ruins of the Gallo-Roman walls The Conservatoire national du Pélargonium The railway station Gare de Bourges offers direct connections to Paris, Orléans, Tours and several regional destinations.
The A71 motorway connects Bourges with Clermont-Ferrand. Bourges Airport is a small regional airport. Bourges' principal football team are Bourges Football 18, it is home to the women's basketball club CJM Bourges Basket, which has won multiple titles in domestic and European basketball. Bourges XV is the premier rugby team in the region playing in French National Division, Federal 3. University of Bourges École des Beaux Arts Ecole Nationale Supérieure d'Ingénieurs ENSI Bourges is twinned with: Augsburg, Germany Aveiro, Portugal Forlì, Italy Koszalin, Poland Palencia, Spain Peterborough, United Kingdom Yoshkar-Ola, Russia The Printemps de Bourges music festival takes place in Bourges every year; every summer, since 2002, « les milles univers » hosts a writing workshop in collaboration with Oulipo. 17th-century composer and singer François Bourgoing was born in Bourges. The merchant Jacques Cœur was born in Bourges; the manuscript illuminator. John Calvin was a student in the University of Bourges.
The legal expert Jacques Cujas lived in Bourges during 1555-1557 and 1575-1590. The Impressionist painter Berthe Morisot was born in Bourges on
The Normans are an ethnic group that arose in Normandy, a northern region of France, from contact between indigenous Franks and Gallo-Romans, Norse Viking settlers. The settlements followed a series of raids on the French coast from Denmark and Iceland, they gained political legitimacy when the Viking leader Rollo agreed to swear fealty to King Charles III of West Francia; the distinct cultural and ethnic identity of the Normans emerged in the first half of the 10th century, it continued to evolve over the succeeding centuries. The Norman dynasty had a major political and military impact on medieval Europe and the Near East; the Normans were famed for their martial spirit and for their Catholic piety, becoming exponents of the Catholic orthodoxy of the Romance community into which they assimilated. They adopted the Gallo-Romance language of the Frankish land they settled, their dialect becoming known as Norman, Normaund or Norman French, an important literary language, still spoken today in parts of Normandy and the nearby Channel Islands.
The Duchy of Normandy, which they formed by treaty with the French crown, was a great fief of medieval France, under Richard I of Normandy was forged into a cohesive and formidable principality in feudal tenure. The Normans are noted both for their culture, such as their unique Romanesque architecture and musical traditions, for their significant military accomplishments and innovations. Norman adventurers played a role in founding the Kingdom of Sicily under Roger II after conquering southern Italy and Malta from the Saracens and Byzantines, during an expedition on behalf of their duke, William the Conqueror, which led to the Norman conquest of England at the historic Battle of Hastings in 1066. In the ninth century, the Normans captured Seville in Southern Spain, Norman and Anglo-Norman forces contributed to the Iberian Reconquista from the early eleventh to the mid-thirteenth centuries. Norman cultural and military influence spread from these new European centres to the Crusader states of the Near East, where their prince Bohemond I founded the Principality of Antioch in the Levant, to Scotland and Wales in Great Britain, to Ireland, to the coasts of north Africa and the Canary Islands.
The legacy of the Normans persists today through the regional languages and dialects of France, England and Sicily, as well as the various cultural and political arrangements they introduced in their conquered territories. The English name "Normans" comes from the French words Normans/Normanz, plural of Normant, modern French normand, itself borrowed from Old Low Franconian Nortmann "Northman" or directly from Old Norse Norðmaðr, Latinized variously as Nortmannus, Normannus, or Nordmannus to mean "Norseman, Viking"; the 11th century Benedictine monk and historian, Goffredo Malaterra, characterised the Normans thus: Specially marked by cunning, despising their own inheritance in the hope of winning a greater, eager after both gain and dominion, given to imitation of all kinds, holding a certain mean between lavishness and greediness, uniting, as they did, these two opposite qualities. Their chief men were specially lavish through their desire of good report, they were, moreover, a race skillful in flattery, given to the study of eloquence, so that the boys were orators, a race altogether unbridled unless held down by the yoke of justice.
They were enduring of toil and cold whenever fortune laid it on them, given to hunting and hawking, delighting in the pleasure of horses, of all the weapons and garb of war. In the course of the 10th century, the destructive incursions of Norse war bands going upstream into the rivers of France penetrated further into interior Europe, evolved into more permanent encampments that included local French women and personal property; the Duchy of Normandy, which began in 911 as a fiefdom, was established by the treaty of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte between King Charles III of West Francia and the famed Viking ruler Rollo known as Gaange Rolf, from Scandinavia, was situated in the former Frankish kingdom of Neustria. The treaty offered Rollo and his men the French coastal lands along the English Channel between the river Epte and the Atlantic Ocean coast in exchange for their protection against further Viking incursions; as well as granting to protect the area of Rouen from Viking invasion, Rollo had to swear not to invade further Frankish lands himself, accept baptism and conversion to the Roman Catholic faith of Christianity becoming Christian and swear fealty to King Charles III.
He became the first Duke of Count of Rouen. The area corresponded to the northern part of present-day Upper Normandy down to the river Seine, but the Duchy would extend west beyond the Seine; the territory was equivalent to the old province of Rouen, reproduced the old Roman Empire's administrative structure of Gallia Lugdunensis II. Before Rollo's arrival, Normandy's populations did not differ from Picardy or the Île-de-France, which were considered "Frankish". Earlier Viking settlers had begun arriving in the 880s, but were divided between colonies in the east around the low Seine valley and in the west in the Cotentin Peninsula, were separated by traditional pagii, where the population remained about the same with no foreign settlers. Rollo's contingents from Scandinavia who raided and settled Normandy and parts of the European Atlantic coast included Danes, Norse–Gaels, Orkney Vikings, p
Concours des villes et villages fleuris
The Concours des villes et villages fleuris is a contest organized annually in France which aims to encourage communes to adopt and implement policies that improve the quality of life of their inhabitants and enhance their attractiveness to visitors through the provision and maintenance of green spaces and the enhancement of their natural environments. Successful communes are awarded the right to display a badge on road signs and in other local promotional material; the competition was created in 1959 by the French state and it is administered by a distinct national committee since 1972. This committee is still linked to the Ministry of Tourism. All the French communes can take part and there are no application fees. There is not any limitation to the number of awarded communes, so they are not in competition between each other; the label has experienced a large success since its creation. The number of villages taking part in the contest has increased from 600 at its inception, to 5,300 in 1972, 10,000 in 1993, 12,000 in 2005.
The label comprises four awards: one, three or four flowers, according to the efforts of the municipality. Each award is given according to strict criteria; the "Fleur d'Or" is a special prize awarded to a small number of applicants. Labelled communes display their flowers on road signs at their entrances; as of 2015, there are some 12,000 awarded cities and villages. They represent a third of all the French communes. 226 of them have 4 flowers. The Concours des villes et villages fleuris originates in the various horticultural contests that appeared at the beginning of the 20th century; as tourism was growing, competitions were created for train stations and hotels for them to improve their visual quality. The French Touring Club created the first competition dedicated to villages during the 1920s. Called "Concours des villages coquets" it existed until 1939. After the Second World War, the Touring Club created an itinerary of flower-decked roads together with the Horticultural Association and the magazine Rustica.
The success of the itinerary led to the creation of the present Concours des villes et villages fleuris in 1959. The competition passed from the French state to a national committee in 1972. Since 1988, its organisation has been the responsibility of the general councils which are the elected assemblies of the departments; the national comity remains the coordinator on a national level. At the beginning, the competition was about the aesthetics of floral displays. Nowadays, it focuses more on general planning and how it improves the lives of local residents and the experience of visitors. Communes that apply for the label are first selected by their department which transmit the application to the regional council; the latter attributes the lowest awards. The best applications are submitted to the national committee who can attribute the 4 flowers and extra awards. Boards of examiners are formed on departmental and national levels, their members are municipal councilors, municipal clerks, gardeners, landscape architects, tourist office officials and representatives of various associations.
The Concours des villes et villages fleuris awards its labels according to strict criteria. They help examiners to evaluate the motivation of the local authorities, the development they expect through plants and green spaces, how they communicate to the public about it, how they respect the environment, so forth; the evaluation grid comprises a number of questions which can be answered by "non existent", "initiated", "realised" and "confronted". The answer to each question determines a level between four flowers. For instance, a question asks if the locality displays plants all year round; the average of all the answers moderated by the general impression of the examiners determine which label the locality is awarded. The Concours des villes et villages fleuris has initiated a European competition called Entente Florale Europe, it started in 1975 between Great Britain and France and has since expanded to include all members of the European Union and the EFTA. As of 2015, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Hungary, the Republic of Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are full members of the Entente.
During this annual competition, each country submits a candidate locality. The best one is awarded a prize. Britain in Bloom Tourism in France French towns and lands of Art and History Les Plus Beaux Villages de France Website of the competition