The Département of Ariège is adjacent to Spain, and Andorra, in the south, about two thirds of the distance of the Franco-Spanish border, from the Atlantic, going west to east. It is bounded by the départements of
Haute-Garonne to the west and north,
Aude [region of
Languedoc-Roussillon] on the northeast and
Pyrénées-Orientales [region of Languedoc-Roussillon] on the southeast. Its capital is
The département was formed in 1790 from the ancient countship of Foix together with parts of the old provinces of
Gascony and Languedoc. It is situated in the highest and widest area of the Pyrénées where there are passes as high as 6000 feet with peaks rising above 9000.
The economy of the higher elevations is principally pastoral. In the lowlands, beans, corn, deciduous fruits and potatoes are cultivated along with wheat. There is also some mining of low-grade deposits of such minerals as iron, lead and zinc as well as anhydrite and gypsum. Aluminum refining, based upon the area’s hydroelectric generation, is located at Sabart. The old spas, such as those at Ax-les-Thermes, which were known to the Romans, have been revived by the growing tourist industry.
The Département of Aveyron, with its capital at
Rodez, was formed from the old province of
Guyenne. It is located in the southwest sector of the Massif Central and consists of an eroded basalt plateau in the north, an unproductive plateau in the center and fertile valleys in the south and west. The area is deeply eroded by the Aveyron, Lot and Tarn rivers. It is bounded by the départements of
Cantal [region of
Auvergne] on the north, the
Languedoc-Roussillon départements of
Gard on the east, Hérault [region of Languedoc-Roussillon] and
Tarn on the south. The départements of
Lot are located to its west.
Orchards and vineyards are found in the low valleys of Aveyron. The higher plateaus are dedicated to sheep grazing. The sheep milk is used for making Roquefort cheese which they age in the limestone caves of the area.
In 1790, the Département of Gers was formed in the hilly Armagnac region of southwestern France from the old province of
Gascony. Gers is bordered by the département of
Aquitaine] to the north,
Tarn-et-Garonne to the northeast,
Haute-Garonne to the east and southeast,
Hautes-Pyrénées to the south, and
Landes [region of Aquitaine] to the east. The Gers River bisects the département from souch to north and passes through its capital of
Gers is one of France’s richest agricultural areas. There are fruit orchards, vineyards, cereal cultivation and cattle raising. It is here that Armagnac, a type of brandy, is distilled.
the Hundred Years' War, both the French and English kings built castles along the frontier that was established in the late 13th century.
The Département of Haute-Garonne covers the entire basin of the upper Garonne River in southwestern France. It was created primarily from the historic province of Languedoc and from the northeastern part of
Gascony. It is bordered, to the north, by the département of
Tarn-et-Garonne, to the northeast by
Tarn, to the southeast by
Ariège, to the south by Spain, to the southwest by
Hautes-Pyrénées and to the west by
Gers. The département’s capital, Toulouse, is split by the Garonne River and the intersection of the Midi Canal.
A substantial tourist industry has grown in the mountainous southern part of the region due principally to its magnificent mountain scenery. Other economic activity, in the south, includes hydroelectric power generation, chemical production and sheep raising. In the non-mountainous areas, of the region, there is considerable cattle raising, cereals cultivation, market gardening, fruit orchards and grape growing. Aircraft manufacturing, food processing, leather processing and textile manufacturing are important industries in the Toulouse district.
The Département of Hautes-Pyrénées is located primarily in the central Pyrénées mountains, north of the Franco-Spanish border. The mountain passes into Spain are very high and difficult to use. It is surrounded by the Département of
Gers to the north,
Haute-Garonne to the east, Spain to the south and the département of
Pyrénées-Atlantiques [region of
Aquitaine] to the west. Its capital is
A tourism industry has replaces Hautes-Pyrénées’ traditional craft industries. Its tourism is centered primarily about the popular spas of Bagneres-de-Bigorre and Cauterets and the old fortress town of
Lourdes which has become one of the world’s most popular pilgrimage venues. Winter sports also attract tourist to Hautes-Pyrénées. Other economic activities include hydroelectric generation, beans and corn cultivation, deciduous fruit growing and sheep raising.
The département of Lot is located on the northwestern edge of
Midi-Pyrénées region. It is bordered by the départements of
Correze [region of
Limousin] to the north,
Cantal [region of
Auvergne] to the northeast,
Aveyron to the east,
Tarn-et-Garonne to the south, and the départements of Aquitaine:
Lot-et-Garonne to the east and
Dordogne to the northwest. Its capital is
Cahors, one of the most ancient towns in France.
Lot was formed from the historic district of Quercy, in the province of
Guyenne, in 1790. It extends from the Aquitaine Basin to the western part of the Massif Central. The western and southwestern areas of Lot are hilly whereas the central and northern sections are located on a limestone plateau known as the Causses [chaux means limestone in French]. The Lot River has cut a deep east-west valley through the Causses and meanders about Cahors. Another river, the Dordogne, flows across the northeastern part of Lot.
The agriculture of cereals, fruit trees, tobacco and vegetables is found in the valleys, with grape vines flourishing along the valleys’ lower slopes. Cattle and sheep are raised on the plateaus. Truffles are also found on the plateaus. Industry is almost non-existent with the exception of an aeronautical factory at Figeac.
A tourist industry has been growing in the département mainly due to the charm of the ancient towns and villages and the beauty of the countryside. Other contributing factors to this industry is the pilgrimage center at Rocamadour, which is located near the spectacular Gouffre de Padirac sinkhole. And, at Pech-Merle, which is located east of Cahors, there is a cave with prehistoric wall paintings.
The département of Tarn is located between the Massif Central, in the northeast, and the Aquitaine basin in the west. It is surrounded by the départements of
Aveyron to the northeast, the
Languedoc-Roussillon départements of
Hérault to the southeast [which separates it from the Mediterranean Sea to the east] and
Aude to the south,
Haute-Garonne to the southwest, and
Tarn-et-Garonne to the northwest. Its capital is
Albi, which is located on the Tarn River.
Tarn was created in 1790 from part of the historic province of Languedoc. In the northeast is the wooded plateau known as Segala. In the southeast are several mountain chains separated by the Agout and Thoré valleys.
Tarn’s primary agricultural products are cattle, cereals, chestnuts, fruits, mulberry trees, sparkling wines and vegetables. The local industry consists mainly of engineering, food processing, metal fabrication, paper production and synthetic fiber production. The coal mines, in the Albi-Carmaux area, supply this industry.
The département of Tarn-et-Garonne is located to the north of
Toulouse. It is encircled by the départements of
Lot to the north,
Aveyron to the east,
Gers to the south and
Lot-et-Garonne [region of
Aquitaine] to the northwest. Its capital,
Mantauban, is situated on the Tarn River, which enters the département from the southeast and flows northwest through the capital, to join the Aveyron River. It finally empties into the Garonne River. The river crosses the département from southeast to the northwest.
The département was established in 1808 from areas originally belonging to the historic regions of
Guyenne and Languedoc. For the most part, Tarn-et-Garonne is low-lying and fertile. Corn and wheat are grown, cattle raised and vineyards and orchards are cultivated. The département’s industry consists of some textile and mechanical manufacturing.