The Loire is the longest river in France and the 171st longest in the world. With a length of 1,012 kilometres, it drains an area of 117,054 km2, or more than a fifth of France's land area, while its average discharge is only half that of the Rhône, it rises in the highlands of the southeastern quarter of the French Massif Central in the Cévennes range at 1,350 m near Mont Gerbier de Jonc. Its main tributaries include the rivers Nièvre and the Erdre on its right bank, the rivers Allier, Indre and the Sèvre Nantaise on the left bank; the Loire gives its name to six departments: Loire, Haute-Loire, Loire-Atlantique, Indre-et-Loire, Maine-et-Loire, Saône-et-Loire. The central part of the Loire Valley, located in the Pays de la Loire and Centre-Val de Loire regions, was added to the World Heritage Sites list of UNESCO on December 2, 2000. Vineyards and châteaux are found along the banks of the river throughout this section and are a major tourist attraction; the human history of the Loire river valley begins with the Middle Palaeolithic period of 90–40 kya, followed by modern humans, succeeded by the Neolithic period, all of the recent Stone Age in Europe.
Came the Gauls, the historical tribes in the Loire during the Iron Age period 1500 to 500 BC. Gallic rule ended in the valley in 56 BC when Julius Caesar conquered the adjacent provinces for Rome. Christianity was introduced into this valley from the 3rd century AD, as missionaries, converted the pagans. In this period, settlers began producing wines; the Loire Valley has been called the "Garden of France" and is studded with over a thousand châteaux, each with distinct architectural embellishments covering a wide range of variations, from the early medieval to the late Renaissance periods. They were created as feudal strongholds, over centuries past, in the strategic divide between southern and northern France; the name "Loire" comes from Latin Liger, itself a transcription of the native Gaulish name of the river. The Gaulish name comes from the Gaulish word liga, which means "silt, deposit, alluvium", a word that gave French lie, as in sur lie, which in turn gave English lees. Liga comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *legʰ-, meaning "to lie, lay" as in the Welsh word Lleyg, which gave many words in English, such as to lie, to lay, law, etc.
Studies of the palaeo-geography of the region suggest that the palaeo-Loire flowed northward and joined the Seine, while the lower Loire found its source upstream of Orléans in the region of Gien, flowing westward along the present course. At a certain point during the long history of uplift in the Paris Basin, the lower, Atlantic Loire captured the "palaeo-Loire" or Loire séquanaise, producing the present river; the former bed of the Loire séquanaise is occupied by the Loing. The Loire Valley has been inhabited since the Middle Palaeolithic period from 40–90 ka. Neanderthal man navigated the river. Modern man inhabited the Loire valley around 30 ka. By around 5000 to 4000 BC, they began clearing forests along the river edges and cultivating the lands and rearing livestock, they built megaliths to worship the dead from around 3500 BC. The Gauls arrived in the valley between 1500 and 500 BC, the Carnutes settled in Cenabum in what is now Orléans and built a bridge over the river. By 600 BC the Loire had become a important trading route between the Celts and the Greeks.
A key transportation route, it served as one of the great "highways" of France for over 2000 years. The Phoenicians and Greeks had used pack horses to transport goods from Lyon to the Loire to get from the Mediterranean basin to the Atlantic coast; the Romans subdued the Gauls in 52 BC and began developing Cenabum, which they named Aurelianis. They began building the city of Caesarodunum, now Tours, from AD 1; the Romans used the Loire as far as Roanne, around 150 km downriver from the source. After AD 16, the Loire river valley became part of the Roman province of Aquitania, with its capital at Avaricum. From the 3rd century, Christianity spread through the river basin, many religious figures began cultivating vineyards along the river banks. In the 5th century, the Roman Empire declined and the Franks and the Alemanni came to the area from the east. Following this there was ongoing conflict between the Franks and the Visigoths. In 408, the Iranian tribe of Alans crossed the Loire and large hordes of them settled along the middle course of the Loire in Gaul under King Sangiban.
Many inhabitants around the present city of Orléans have names bearing witness to the Alan presence – Allaines. In the 9th century, the Vikings began invading the west coast of France, using longships to navigate the Loire. In 853 they attacked and destroyed Tours and its famous abbey destroying Angers in raids of 854 and 872. In 877 Charles the Bald died. After considerable conflict in the region, in 898 Foulques le Roux of Anjou gained power. During the Hundred Years' War from 1337 to 1453, the Loire marked the border between the French and the English, who occupied territory to the north. One-third of the inhabitants died in the epidemic of the Black D
Lyon is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located in the country's east-central part at the confluence of the rivers Rhône and Saône, about 470 km south from Paris, 320 km north from Marseille and 56 km northeast from Saint-Étienne. Inhabitants of the city are called Lyonnais. Lyon had a population of 513,275 in 2015, it is the capital of the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The Lyon metropolitan area had a population of 2,265,375 in 2014, the second-largest urban area in France; the city is known for its cuisine and gastronomy, historical and architectural landmarks. Lyon was an important area for the production and weaving of silk. Lyon played a significant role in the history of cinema: it is where Auguste and Louis Lumière invented the cinematograph, it is known for its light festival, the Fête des Lumières, which begins every 8 December and lasts for four days, earning Lyon the title of Capital of Lights. Economically, Lyon is a major centre for banking, as well as for the chemical and biotech industries.
The city contains a significant software industry with a particular focus on video games, in recent years has fostered a growing local start-up sector. Lyon hosts the international headquarters of Interpol, the International Agency for Research on Cancer and Euronews, it was ranked 19th globally and second in France for innovation in 2014. It ranked second in 39th globally in Mercer's 2015 liveability rankings. According to the historian Dio Cassius, in 43 BC, the Roman Senate ordered the creation of a settlement for Roman refugees of war with the Allobroges; these refugees had been expelled from Vienne and were now encamped at the confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers. The foundation was built on Fourvière hill and called Colonia Copia Felix Munatia, a name invoking prosperity and the blessing of the gods; the city became referred to as Lugdunum. The earliest translation of this Gaulish place-name as "Desired Mountain" is offered by the 9th-century Endlicher Glossary. In contrast, some modern scholars have proposed a Gaulish hill-fort named Lugdunon, after the Celtic god Lugus, dúnon.
The Romans recognised that Lugdunum's strategic location at the convergence of two navigable rivers made it a natural communications hub. The city became the starting point of the principal Roman roads in the area, it became the capital of the province, Gallia Lugdunensis. Two Emperors were born in this city: Claudius, whose speech is preserved in the Lyon Tablet in which he justifies the nomination of Gallic Senators, Caracalla. Early Christians in Lyon were martyred for their beliefs under the reigns of various Roman emperors, most notably Marcus Aurelius and Septimius Severus. Local saints from this period include Blandina and Epipodius, among others. In the second century AD, the great Christian bishop of Lyon was Irenaeus. To this day, the archbishop of Lyon is still referred to as "Primat des Gaules". Burgundians fleeing the destruction of Worms by the Huns in 437 were re-settled at Lugdunum. In 443 the Romans established the Kingdom of the Burgundians, Lugdunum became its capital in 461.
In 843, by the Treaty of Verdun, Lyon went to the Holy Roman Emperor Lothair I. It was made part of the Kingdom of Arles. Lyon did not come under French control until the 14th century. Fernand Braudel remarked, "Historians of Lyon are not sufficiently aware of the bi-polarity between Paris and Lyon, a constant structure in French development...from the late Middle Ages to the Industrial Revolution". In the late 15th century, the fairs introduced by Italian merchants made Lyon the economic counting house of France; the Bourse, built in 1749, resembled a public bazaar where accounts were settled in the open air. When international banking moved to Genoa Amsterdam, Lyon remained the banking centre of France. During the Renaissance, the city's development was driven by the silk trade, which strengthened its ties to Italy. Italian influence on Lyon's architecture is still visible among historic buildings. In the 1400s and 1500s Lyon was a key centre of literary activity and book publishing, both of French writers and of Italians in exile.
In 1572, Lyon was a scene of mass violence by Catholics against Protestant Huguenots in the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. Two centuries Lyon was again convulsed by violence when, during the French Revolution, the citizenry rose up against the National Convention and supported the Girondins; the city was besieged by Revolutionary armies for over two months before surrendering in October 1793. Many buildings were destroyed around the Place Bellecour, while Jean-Marie Collot d'Herbois and Joseph Fouché administered the execution of more than 2,000 people; the Convention ordered that its name be changed to "Liberated City" and a plaque was erected that proclaimed "Lyons made war on Liberty. A decade Napoleon ordered the reconstruction of all the buildings demolished during this period; the Convention was not the only target within Lyon during the 1789-1799 French Revolution. After the National Convention faded into history, the French Directory appeared and days after the September 4, 1797, Coup of 18 Fructidor, a Directory's commissioner was assassinated in Ly
An estuary is a enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime environments, they are subject both to marine influences—such as tides and the influx of saline water—and to riverine influences—such as flows of fresh water and sediment. The mixing of sea water and fresh water provide high levels of nutrients both in the water column and in sediment, making estuaries among the most productive natural habitats in the world. Most existing estuaries formed during the Holocene epoch with the flooding of river-eroded or glacially scoured valleys when the sea level began to rise about 10,000–12,000 years ago. Estuaries are classified according to their geomorphological features or to water-circulation patterns, they can have many different names, such as bays, lagoons, inlets, or sounds, although some of these water bodies do not meet the above definition of an estuary and may be saline.
The banks of many estuaries are amongst the most populated areas of the world, with about 60% of the world's population living along estuaries and the coast. As a result, many estuaries suffer degradation from a variety of factors including: sedimentation from soil erosion from deforestation and other poor farming practices; the word "estuary" is derived from the Latin word aestuarium meaning tidal inlet of the sea, which in itself is derived from the term aestus, meaning tide. There have been many definitions proposed to describe an estuary; the most accepted definition is: "a semi-enclosed coastal body of water, which has a free connection with the open sea, within which sea water is measurably diluted with freshwater derived from land drainage". However, this definition excludes a number of coastal water bodies such as coastal lagoons and brackish seas. A more comprehensive definition of an estuary is "a semi-enclosed body of water connected to the sea as far as the tidal limit or the salt intrusion limit and receiving freshwater runoff.
This broad definition includes fjords, river mouths, tidal creeks. An estuary is a dynamic ecosystem having a connection to the open sea through which the sea water enters with the rhythm of the tides; the sea water entering the estuary streams. The pattern of dilution varies between different estuaries and depends on the volume of fresh water, the tidal range, the extent of evaporation of the water in the estuary. Drowned river valleys are known as coastal plain estuaries. In places where the sea level is rising relative to the land, sea water progressively penetrates into river valleys and the topography of the estuary remains similar to that of a river valley; this is the most common type of estuary in temperate climates. Well-studied estuaries include the Severn Estuary in the United Kingdom and the Ems Dollard along the Dutch-German border; the width-to-depth ratio of these estuaries is large, appearing wedge-shaped in the inner part and broadening and deepening seaward. Water depths exceed 30 m.
Examples of this type of estuary in the U. S. are the Hudson River, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay along the Mid-Atlantic coast, Galveston Bay and Tampa Bay along the Gulf Coast. Bar-built estuaries are found in place where the deposition of sediment has kept pace with rising sea level so that the estuaries are shallow and separated from the sea by sand spits or barrier islands, they are common in tropical and subtropical locations. These estuaries are semi-isolated from ocean waters by barrier beaches. Formation of barrier beaches encloses the estuary, with only narrow inlets allowing contact with the ocean waters. Bar-built estuaries develop on sloping plains located along tectonically stable edges of continents and marginal sea coasts, they are extensive along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the U. S. in areas with active coastal deposition of sediments and where tidal ranges are less than 4 m. The barrier beaches that enclose bar-built estuaries have been developed in several ways: building up of offshore bars by wave action, in which sand from the sea floor is deposited in elongated bars parallel to the shoreline, reworking of sediment discharge from rivers by wave and wind action into beaches, overwash flats, dunes, engulfment of mainland beach ridges due to sea level rise and resulting in the breaching of the ridges and flooding of the coastal lowlands, forming shallow lagoons, elongation of barrier spits from the erosion of headlands due to the action of longshore currents, with the spits growing in the direction of the littoral drift.
Barrier beaches form in shallow water and are parallel to the shoreline, resulting in long, narrow estuaries. The average water depth is less than 5 m, exceeds 10 m. Examples of bar-built estuaries are Barnegat Bay, New Jersey. Fjords were formed where pleistocene glaciers deepened and widened existing river valleys so that they become U-shaped in cross s
Allier is a French department located in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of central France named after the river Allier. Moulins is the prefecture and the INSEE and Post Code is 03; the inhabitants of the department are known as Bourbonnais since October 2018. Allier department is composed of all of the former Duchy of Bourbonnais, it is part of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region and borders the departments of Cher, Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire, Puy-de-Dome, Creuse. Major towns The department includes three spa towns: Bourbon l'Archambault Neris-les-Bains VichyNeris-les-Bains is the only town in the department with more than 10% of second homes: 504 out of 1,800 homes in 1999. Bourbonnais bocage covers most of the western and central parts of the department, followed by the Bourbonnais Sologne in the east north-east, the Bourbonnais Mountain, the highest point of Bourbonnais together with Montoncel, in the south of the department, the Bourbonnais Limagne, which extends from Varennes to Gannat, is the breadbasket of the department.
The Bourbonnais BocageTo the north and just over 500 metres above sea level, the Bourbonnais Bocage occupies one-third of the department, with two parts: the centre and the west. The bocage is remarkable for its rich forests and woodlands including the famous Forest of Tronçais but the forests of Moladier Bagnolet, Soulongis, Dreuille and Suave. All of the southern area consists of Combrailles, sometimes called High Bourbonnais, in an area that goes beyond the departmental boundaries of Creuse and Puy-de-Dôme; this area of the department rises to 778 metres at Bosse. The rivers Sioule and Cher have carved the most picturesque gorges in Allier; the Bourbonnais SologneTo the east, between the Val d'Allier and the borders of Nièvre and Saône-et-Loire, the Bourbonnais Sologne has a nice balance between pastures, crops and ponds: the balance between agriculture and semi-wilderness constituting a favorable setting for fauna and flora. The Bourbonnais MountainsIn its southern extension, the Bourbonnais Mountain rises from the Puy Saint-Ambroise near Saint-Léon and extends to the massif of Assisi and the Black Forest at the edge of Puy-de-Dome and Loire, marked by the Puy de Montoncel – the highest point in Allier.
The Bourbonnais LimagneCommonly grouped under the name of Val d'Allier, the Limagne and Forterre extend on both sides of the river between Vichy and Saint-Pourçain-sur-Sioule with an essential quality of fertility. Limogne, together with Sioule and Allier, is part of the Gannat / Escurolles / Saint-Pourçain triangle while Forterre covers the Canton of Varennes-sur-Allier ending near Jaligny. Watercourses to the west: the Cher in the centre: the Allier and its tributary the Sioule to the east the Loire and its tributary the Besbre A transition zone in the middle of the country, Allier is a free zone between north and south; the department is wide open to Atlantic influences and it enjoys a mild and humid climate dominated by westerly winds which helps a little to differentiate it from other parts of Auvergne. The weather variances coincide with the diversity of Bourbonnais territory such as: flat regions, low altitude Bourbonnais Sologne and large floodplains, the hill country, the average altitude of 300 to 600 metres, the central part of the department, the semi-mountainous southern townships bordering the Combraille and Forez between 700 and 1,200 metres.
There are two periods of maximum precipitation in June and October and a minimum in January and February with average of 694 millimetres in Montluçon, 763 mm in Moulins 778 mm in Vichy 791 mm in Lapalisse. and nearly 1,200 mm in Assisi. As noted Atlantic winds are dominant from northwest, or southwest; the influence of topography in the valleys of Cher and Allier contributes to the south and north variance. The history of Allier corresponds to the Duchy of Bourbon with which it shares the entire territory. Allier is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790, it was created from parts of the former provinces of Bourbonnais. In 1940, the government of Marshal Philippe Pétain chose the town of Vichy as its capital. Vichy became the department's second sub-prefecture in 1940, since the department now found itself split by the demarcation line between the occupied and free zones of France. On 1 January 1997 the population of Allier was estimated at 357,100 inhabitants which represented an average density of 50 people/km².
Many areas have a density less than 20 people/km². Because of its low population density, it is considered to fall within the empty diagonal. Since the early 1980s Allier has faced many demographic handicaps; the ratio of older people is important and with low fertility rates the natural growth is negative. Meanwhile, net migration has become negative. At 1 January 2009 the legal population was 343,046 inhabitants; the fertility rate was lower than the national average in 2007 but would renew the Allier population if it were not for the lack of jobs that led to the exodus of young people to more favourable employment areas, thus confirming a negative net migration. Allier has three major cities: Montluçon, Moulins by size; the rest of the department includes some small towns and villages, scattered along the rivers. The few villages are far from one another, it is a sparsely-populated
Rhône is a French department located in the central Eastern region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. It is named after the river Rhône; the Rhône department was created on August 12, 1793 when the former département of Rhône-et-Loire was split into two departments: Rhône and Loire. The eastern border of Rhône was the city of Lyon itself, so that the communes east of Lyon belonged to neighboring departments. With the growth of Lyon and the spilling of the urban area into the suburban communes of Lyon, such as Villeurbanne, the limits of the department were judged impractical as they left the suburbs of Lyon outside of Rhône. Thus, Rhône was enlarged several times to incorporate into it the suburbs of Lyon from neighboring department: In 1852, four communes from Isère were incorporated into Rhône. In 1967, 23 communes of Isère and six communes of Ain were incorporated into Rhône. In 1971, one commune from Isère was incorporated into Rhône. With these enlargements, the area of the Rhône department increased from 2,791 km² to the current 3,249 km².
At the 1999 French census, the original Rhône department would have had only 1,071,288 inhabitants, which means that the population in the territories added in the last two centuries was 507,581 inhabitants in 1999. In 2015 the Metropolis of Lyon was separated from the Rhône department. Lyon, although no longer part of the department, remains its administrative center. Rivers include the Saône; the neighboring departments are Isère, Loire and Saône-et-Loire. Before the Metropolis of Lyon was separated from the department, over 75% of its population lives within the Greater Lyon, which included all of the largest cities of the Rhône department, apart from Villefranche-sur-Saône. Lyon: 491,268 inhabitants Villeurbanne: 145,034 inhabitants Vénissieux: 60,159 inhabitants Vaulx-en-Velin: 42,726 inhabitants Saint-Priest: 42,535 inhabitants Caluire-et-Cuire: 41,357 inhabitants Bron: 38,881 inhabitants Villefranche-sur-Saône: 35,640 inhabitants The President of the Departmental Council is Christophe Guilloteau, a member of the Republicans.
This list includes representatives from Lyon Metropolis created in 2015 as a separate department. Cantons of the Rhône department Communes of the Rhône department Arrondissements of the Rhône department French language Arpitan language Prefecture website General Council website 69.pagesd.info - Webportal and directory of communes and web sites of the Rhône département website
France the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean, it is bordered by Belgium and Germany to the northeast and Italy to the east, Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic and Indian oceans; the country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres and a total population of 67.3 million. France, a sovereign state, is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Toulouse, Bordeaux and Nice. During the Iron Age, what is now metropolitan France was inhabited by a Celtic people. Rome annexed the area in 51 BC, holding it until the arrival of Germanic Franks in 476, who formed the Kingdom of Francia.
The Treaty of Verdun of 843 partitioned Francia into Middle Francia and West Francia. West Francia which became the Kingdom of France in 987 emerged as a major European power in the Late Middle Ages following its victory in the Hundred Years' War. During the Renaissance, French culture flourished and a global colonial empire was established, which by the 20th century would become the second largest in the world; the 16th century was dominated by religious civil wars between Protestants. France became Europe's dominant cultural and military power in the 17th century under Louis XIV. In the late 18th century, the French Revolution overthrew the absolute monarchy, established one of modern history's earliest republics, saw the drafting of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, which expresses the nation's ideals to this day. In the 19th century, Napoleon established the First French Empire, his subsequent Napoleonic Wars shaped the course of continental Europe. Following the collapse of the Empire, France endured a tumultuous succession of governments culminating with the establishment of the French Third Republic in 1870.
France was a major participant in World War I, from which it emerged victorious, was one of the Allies in World War II, but came under occupation by the Axis powers in 1940. Following liberation in 1944, a Fourth Republic was established and dissolved in the course of the Algerian War; the Fifth Republic, led by Charles de Gaulle, remains today. Algeria and nearly all the other colonies became independent in the 1960s and retained close economic and military connections with France. France has long been a global centre of art and philosophy, it hosts the world's fourth-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites and is the leading tourist destination, receiving around 83 million foreign visitors annually. France is a developed country with the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP, tenth-largest by purchasing power parity. In terms of aggregate household wealth, it ranks fourth in the world. France performs well in international rankings of education, health care, life expectancy, human development.
France is considered a great power in global affairs, being one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council with the power to veto and an official nuclear-weapon state. It is a leading member state of the European Union and the Eurozone, a member of the Group of 7, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, La Francophonie. Applied to the whole Frankish Empire, the name "France" comes from the Latin "Francia", or "country of the Franks". Modern France is still named today "Francia" in Italian and Spanish, "Frankreich" in German and "Frankrijk" in Dutch, all of which have more or less the same historical meaning. There are various theories as to the origin of the name Frank. Following the precedents of Edward Gibbon and Jacob Grimm, the name of the Franks has been linked with the word frank in English, it has been suggested that the meaning of "free" was adopted because, after the conquest of Gaul, only Franks were free of taxation.
Another theory is that it is derived from the Proto-Germanic word frankon, which translates as javelin or lance as the throwing axe of the Franks was known as a francisca. However, it has been determined that these weapons were named because of their use by the Franks, not the other way around; the oldest traces of human life in what is now France date from 1.8 million years ago. Over the ensuing millennia, Humans were confronted by a harsh and variable climate, marked by several glacial eras. Early hominids led a nomadic hunter-gatherer life. France has a large number of decorated caves from the upper Palaeolithic era, including one of the most famous and best preserved, Lascaux. At the end of the last glacial period, the climate became milder. After strong demographic and agricultural development between the 4th and 3rd millennia, metallurgy appeared at the end of the 3rd millennium working gold and bronze, iron. France has numerous megalithic sites from the Neolithic period, including the exceptiona
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