Liger-Atlantel  (Breton)
Prefecture building in Nantes
Prefecture building in Nantes
Flag of Loire-Atlantique
Coat of arms of Loire-Atlantique
Location of Loire-Atlantique in France
Location of Loire-Atlantique in France
Coordinates: 47°20′N 1°40′W / 47.333°N 1.667°W / 47.333; -1.667Coordinates: 47°20′N 1°40′W / 47.333°N 1.667°W / 47.333; -1.667
Country France
Region Pays de la Loire
Prefecture Nantes
Subprefectures Châteaubriant
 • President of the Departmental Council Philippe Grosvalet (PS)
 • Total 6,881 km2 (2,657 sq mi)
 • Total 1,394,909
 • Rank 12th
 • Density 200/km2 (530/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number 44
Arrondissements 3
Cantons 31
Communes 207
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Loire-Atlantique (French: [lwa.ʁ‿at.lɑ̃.tik]; Breton: Liger-Atlantel; formerly Loire-Inférieure) is a department in Pays de la Loire on the west coast of France, named after the Loire River and the Atlantic Ocean.


Historical regions of Brittany before 1790

Loire-Atlantique is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. Originally, it was named Loire-Inférieure, but its name was changed in 1957 to Loire-Atlantique.

The area is part of the historical Duchy of Brittany, and contains what many people still consider to be Brittany's capital, Nantes. However, during World War II, the Vichy Government set up a system of regional prefectures where Loire-Atlantique was excluded from the Region of Brittany and united with neighbouring French departments, under the lead of Angers.

After the war these administrative changes were reimplemented in the 1955 boundary changes intended to optimise the management of the regions. There has since been a series of campaigns reflecting a strong local mood to have the department reintegrated with Brittany.


Loire-Atlantique is part of the current region of Pays de la Loire and is surrounded by the department of Morbihan, Ille-et-Vilaine, Maine-et-Loire, and Vendée, with the Atlantic on the west.


Population development since 1801:

Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1801 369,305 —    
1806 417,124 +2.47%
1821 433,815 +0.26%
1831 457,090 +0.52%
1841 486,806 +0.63%
1851 535,664 +0.96%
1861 580,207 +0.80%
1872 602,206 +0.34%
1881 625,625 +0.42%
1891 645,263 +0.31%
1901 664,971 +0.30%
1911 669,920 +0.07%
1921 649,691 −0.31%
1931 652,079 +0.04%
1936 659,428 +0.22%
1946 665,064 +0.09%
1954 733,575 +1.23%
1962 803,372 +1.14%
1968 861,452 +1.17%
1975 934,499 +1.17%
1982 995,498 +0.91%
1990 1,052,183 +0.69%
1999 1,134,493 +0.84%
2006 1,234,085 +1.21%
2011 1,296,364 +0.99%
2016 1,380,852 +1.27%


Upper Brittany's indigenous language is Gallo, a romance language related to French. The number of Gallo language speakers has been in steady decline since the early 20th century. The language is neither official nor taught in primary or secondary education. In the south of the département (Pays de Retz), the local language was Poitevin dialect.

The Breton language, a Celtic language, native to Lower Brittany, was historically spoken in the western area of Loire-Atlantique, and up to 1920 in Batz-sur-Mer. This area (Guérande, Le Croisic, and La Baule) has a rather Breton toponymy: for instance, Guérande originates from the Breton Gwenn Rann (white or pure place).

The folklore and musical traditions of eastern or Upper Brittany are generally similar to those of western or Lower Brittany.


Current Deputies of the National Assembly

Current Senators

Senator Party
Ronan Dantec (fr) DVG
Joël Guerriau (fr) UDI
Michelle Meunier (fr) SOC
Christophe Priou UMP
Yannick Vaugrenard SOC


TGV and Interloire trains in Le Croisic

The département operates the Lila network (fr) of interurban buses, which link its villages, towns and cities. The urban areas of Nantes and Saint-Nazaire operate their own urban transport networks, known as TAN and STRAN (fr) respectively.

By rail, the regional trains and buses of the TER Pays de la Loire link major towns and cities of the Pays de la Loire and adjoining regions, including those of the département. Nantes is on the TGV network, with high speed trains running to Paris by the LGV Atlantique in just over 2 hours.

Nantes Atlantique Airport, located 8 km to the southwest of the city of Nantes, serves the département and surrounding areas. It is the biggest airport in northwestern France, linking with several French, North African and European cities, as well as Montreal in Canada.


See also


External links