Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine
Babeau-Bouldoux is a commune in the Hérault department in the Occitanie region in southern France. Communes of the Hérault department INSEE
Azillanet is a commune in the Hérault department in southern France. Communes of the Hérault department INSEE
Les Aires is a commune in the Hérault department in the Occitanie region in southern France. Ruins of the château of Mourcairol; the castle chapel of Saint-Michel. Part of the ancient road between Béziers and Cahors. Communes of the Hérault department INSEE
Hérault is a department in southern France named after the Hérault. It is part of the Occitanie region of the country. Hérault is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790, it was created from part of the former province of Languedoc. At the beginning of the 20th century, viticulture in the wine-growing region was devastated by a slump in sales combined with disease affecting the vines. Thousands of small scale producers revolted; this revolt was suppressed harshly by the government of Georges Clemenceau. The catastrophic frost of the winter of 1956 damaged the olive trees, the olive-growing regions did not recover until the late 1980s. Many of the olive-industry co-ops closed. During the second half of the twentieth century the Montpellier basin saw some of the most rapid population growth in France. Hérault is part of the region of Occitanie and is surrounded by the departments of Aude, Aveyron and the Mediterranean on the south; the department is geographically diverse, with beaches in the south, the Cévennes mountains in the north, agricultural land in between.
To define the Hérault, one tends to compare its territory to an open amphitheater facing the sea. The geography of the Hérault is marked by the diversity of its landscapes; these range from the southern foothills of the Massif Central, to the Mediterranean Sea, through the areas of garrigue and the low plain of Languedoc wine. The Hérault is bathed by a Mediterranean climate; the minimum altitude is at sea level and the highest point of the department is at an altitude of 1181m in one of the peaks of Espinouse. The average altitude is about 227m; the department of Hérault is crossed by several coastal rivers that originated in the southern foothills of the Massif Central to jump into the Mediterranean Sea after a course of general north-south orientation short and high altitude. The main ones are from east to west the Vidourle, which marks the limit with the Gard department, the Lesz which crosses notably Montpellier, the Hérault, which gave its name to the department, the Orb which waters Béziers.
To the west, the Aude Valley, a 224 km river from the Pyrenees, whose course is oriented west-east, forms the limit with the department of the same name. These rivers as well as their tributaries are characterized by their regime, called "cévénol", marked by sudden variations of flow causing sudden and important floods. All along the coast of Herault successive lagoon, some of which have a large area, the largest of, the Étang de Thau with an area of about 7,500 hectares; the hinterland of the lowlands of Bas-Languedoc is hilly. It is the territory of the vineyard, olive groves and scrubland. Olive growing and viticulture symbolize an important part of the Mediterranean heritage and lifestyle; the area of Hérault near the town of Lodève is the geographical antipode point of Chatham Island off the east coast of New Zealand. The most populated municipality is Montpellier with 277,639 inhabitants in 2015; the least populated municipality is Romiguières with 27 inhabitants in 2015. The vast majority of the department can be characterized by a Mediterranean climate.
However, the mountainous areas of the northwest have an oceanic influence. Some sectors of northern Herault can for their part know a temperate continental influence; the average temperature of the summer months is close to the maximum French average. The sea protects the coastal areas from the extremes of heat waves in summer, but frosts in winter, they range from about 27 degrees Celsius on the seashore to 32 degrees Celsius inland. Mean minimum temperatures are very varied, ranging from about 19 degrees Celsius on the coast to 15 degrees Celsius in the interior; the historical language is Occitan. The totemic animals of Herault are typical. During cultural events or local votive festivals, many towns or villages scroll through the streets a totemic animal representing their municipality; the sound of traditional Languedoc oboe or fife instruments accompany these parades. The most famous is the Foal of Pézenas. Indeed, UNESCO proclaimed the immaterial cultural heritage of humanity, the Processional giants and dragons in Belgium and France, which includes the Foal of Pézenas.
Béziers festivals: Fèsta d'Oc, Béziers's FeriaMontpellier festivals: I Love Techno Europe, Mediterranean Film Festival, Comédie du Livre, Montpellier Dance Festival,International Festival of Extreme Sports Pézenas festivals: Printival Boby Lapointe, Mirondela dels ArtsSète festivals: Sète's Jazz Festival, Documentary Photo Festival "Imagesingulieres", Poetry Festival "Vivid Voice of the Mediterranean in the Mediterranean" The Canal du Midi has been designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The agricultural area used in the department is nearly 30 % of the department. Viticulture is important with 85,525 hectares, other arable land is used for orchards with 3,400 hectares, artificial grasslands with 7,090 hectares, vegetable cultivation with 3,788 hectares, the cultivation of cereals with 20,095 hectares, fallows with 4,991 hectares; the vineyard is old and dates from before the founding of Gallia Narbonensis. The Hérault is today the second French wine department behind the Gironde, representing 14% of the total area of the department.
The department has both a favorable climate, excellent exposure, a wide variety of soils and a wide range of grape varieties: all the assets are there to produce generous wines, sometimes robust, with a wide aromatic palette AOC: Saint-Chinian, Faugères, Coteaux-du-languedoc, Clairette du Languedoc, Muscat de Frontignan, Muscat de Lunel, Muscat de Mireval
Béziers is a town and commune in the Occitanie region of Southern France. In 2014, it had a population of 75,701. Béziers hosts the famous Feria de Béziers, centred on bullfighting, every August. A million visitors are attracted to the five-day event. Béziers is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network; the town is located on a small bluff above the river Orb, about 10 km from the Mediterranean coast, 75 km southwest of Montpellier. At Béziers, the Canal du Midi spans the river Orb as an aqueduct called the Pont-canal de l'Orb, claimed to be the first of its kind. Béziers is one of the oldest cities in France. Research published in March 2013 shows that Béziers dates from 575 BC, making it older than Agde and a bit younger than Marseille The site has been occupied since Neolithic times, before the influx of Celts. Roman Betarra was on the road that linked Provence with Iberia; the Romans refounded the city as a new colonia for veterans in 36–35 BC and called it Colonia Julia Baeterrae Septimanorum.
Stones from the Roman amphitheatre were used to construct the city wall during the 3rd century. White wine was exported to Rome. A dolia discovered in an excavation near Rome is marked "I am a wine from Baeterrae and I am five years old", it was occupied by the Moors between 720 and 752. From the 10th to the 12th century, Béziers was the centre of a Viscountship of Béziers; the viscounts ruled most of the coastal plain around Béziers, including the town of Agde. They controlled the major east-west route through Languedoc, which follows the old Roman Via Domitia, with the two key bridges over the Orb at Béziers and over the Hérault at Saint-Thibéry. After the death of Viscount William around 990, the viscounty passed to his daughter Garsendis and her husband, count Raimond-Roger of Carcassonne, it was ruled by their son Peter-Raimond and his son Roger, both of whom were Counts of Carcassonne. Roger died without issue and Béziers passed to his sister Ermengard and her husband Raimond-Bertrand Trencavel.
The Trencavels ruled for the next 142 years, until the Albigensian Crusade, a formal crusade authorised by Pope Innocent III. Béziers was a Languedoc stronghold of Catharism, which the Catholic Church condemned as heretical and which Catholic forces exterminated in the Albigensian Crusade. Béziers was the first place to be attacked; the crusaders reached the town on July 21, 1209. Béziers' Catholics were given an ultimatum to hand over the heretics or leave before the crusaders besieged the city and to "avoid sharing their fate and perishing with them". However, they resisted with the Cathars; the town was sacked the following day and in the bloody massacre, no one was spared, not Catholic priests and those who took refuge in the churches. One of the commanders of the crusade was the Papal Legate Arnaud-Amaury; when asked by a crusader how to tell Catholics from Cathars once they had taken the city, the abbot replied, "Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius". Amalric's own version of the siege, described in his letter to Pope Innocent III in August 1209, states: While discussions were still going on with the barons about the release of those in the city who were deemed to be Catholics, the servants and other persons of low rank and unarmed attacked the city without waiting for orders from their leaders.
To our amazement, crying "to arms, to arms!", within the space of two or three hours they crossed the ditches and the walls and Béziers was taken. Our men spared no one, irrespective of rank, sex or age, put to the sword 20,000 people. After this great slaughter the whole city was despoiled and burnt... The invaders burned the Cathedral of Saint Nazaire, which collapsed on those who had taken refuge inside; the town was burnt. By some accounts, none was left alive - by others, there were a handful of survivors. Despite the massacre, the city was repopulated. A few parts of the Romanesque cathedral of St-Nazaire had survived the carnage, repairs started in 1215; the restoration, along with that of the rest of the city, continued until the 15th century. Béziers became part of the royal domain in 1247. Rule of the city was for a long time divided among three powers: the Bishopric, which reached its apogee in the 16th and 17th centuries when it was held by the Bonsi family, allied to the Medici. Béziers was not damaged in the Hundred Years War.
On September 8, 1381, a riot broke out at the seat of the municipal council, rioters setting the Town House on fire. The councillors tried to take refuge in the tower, but fire spread there as well, they all died either by fire or in jumping from the tower to the square. King Charles IX passed through the city during his royal tour of France, accompanied by the Court and the great men of the kingdom: his brother the Duke of Anjou, Henri of Navarre, the cardinals of Bourbon and Lorraine. In 1551, Béziers became the seat of a Seneschal, being removed from the jurisdiction
Bassan is a commune in the Hérault department in the Occitanie region in southern France. Communes of the Hérault department INSEE