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Louére-Atantique (Gallo)
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; -1.667
RegionPays de la Loire
 • President of the Departmental CouncilMichel Menard[1] (PS)
 • Total6,881 km2 (2,657 sq mi)
 • Total1,457,806
 • Rank9th
 • Density210/km2 (550/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number44
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Loire-Atlantique (French pronunciation: [lwaʁ atlɑ̃tik]; Gallo: Louére-Atantique; Breton: Liger-Atlantel; before 1957: Loire-Inférieure,[3] Breton: Liger-Izelañ) is a department in Pays de la Loire on the west coast of France, named after the river Loire and the Atlantic Ocean. It had a population of 1,429,272 in 2019.[4]


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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 March 9, 1957 to Loire-Atlantique.[3]

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 whereby on 19 April 1941 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.

Principal towns

The most populous commune is Nantes, the prefecture. As of 2019, there are 9 communes with more than 20,000 inhabitants:[4]

Commune Population (2019)
Nantes 318,808
Saint-Nazaire 71,394
Saint-Herblain 47,415
Rezé 42,919
Saint-Sébastien-sur-Loire 27,493
Orvault 27,209
Vertou 25,541
Couëron 22,309
Carquefou 20,365


Population development since 1801:

Historical population
YearPop.±% p.a.
YearPop.±% p.a.
Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on


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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.


The president of the Departmental Council is Michel Menard, elected in July 2021.

Current Deputies of the National Assembly

Constituency Deputy[6] Party
Loire-Atlantique's 1st constituency Mounir Belhamiti La République En Marche!
Loire-Atlantique's 2nd constituency Andy Kerbrat La France Insoumise
Loire-Atlantique's 3rd constituency Ségolène Amiot La France Insoumise
Loire-Atlantique's 4th constituency Julie Laernoes Europe Ecology - The Greens
Loire-Atlantique's 5th constituency Luc Geismar MoDem
Loire-Atlantique's 6th constituency Jean-Claude Raux Europe Ecology - The Greens
Loire-Atlantique's 7th constituency Sandrine Josso MoDem
Loire-Atlantique's 8th constituency Matthias Tavel La France Insoumise
Loire-Atlantique's 9th constituency Yannick Haury MoDem
Loire-Atlantique's 10th constituency Sophie Errante La République En Marche!

Current Senators

See also: List of senators of Loire-Atlantique

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

Political movements

The capital of the administrative region is Rennes, although Nantes is considered the capital of historic Brittany and is located in Loire-Atlantique. The reunification of historic Brittany is supported by a majority of Loire-Atlantique and is considered a prerequisite to further autonomy of Brittany as a whole.[7][8]


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


  1. ^ "Répertoire national des élus: les conseillers départementaux"., Plateforme ouverte des données publiques françaises (in French). 4 May 2022.
  2. ^ "Téléchargement du fichier d'ensemble des populations légales en 2021". The National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies. 28 December 2023.
  3. ^ a b c "Historique de la Loire-Atlantique". Le SPLAF.
  4. ^ a b Populations légales 2019: 44 Loire-Atlantique, INSEE
  5. ^ "Évolution et structure de la population en 2016". INSEE.
  6. ^ Nationale, Assemblée. "Assemblée nationale ~ Les députés, le vote de la loi, le Parlement français". Assemblée nationale (in French). Retrieved 2021-03-26.
  7. ^ "La moitié des habitants de la Bretagne à 5 favorables à un rattachement de la Loire-Atlantique". Retrieved 2023-10-18.
  8. ^ "Brittany lays claim to autonomy, in Corsica's footsteps". Le 2022-04-09. Retrieved 2023-10-18.