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Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire is one of the 26 regions of France. It is one of the regions created in the late 20th century to serve as a zone of influence for its capital, Nantes, one of a handful so-called "balancing metropolises" (métropoles d'équilibre)¹.
Pays de la Loire is made up of the following historical provinces:
* a part of Brittany, with its old capital Nantes contained within the Loire-Atlantique department. This is only 20% of Brittany. The other 80% of Brittany make up the region of Bretagne.
* Anjou: is largely contained within the Maine-et-Loire department. The whole of the former province of Anjou is contained inside Pays de la Loire.
* Maine: is now divided between the Mayenne and Sarthe departments. The whole of the former province of Maine is contained inside Pays de la Loire.
* a part of Poitou: is contained within the Vendée department. Most of the old province of Poitou is inside the Poitou-Charentes region.
* a part of Perche: is within the northeast of Sarthe department. The rest of Perche is inside the Basse-Normandie and Centre regions.
* a small part of Touraine: southeast of Maine-et-Loire department. Most of the former province of Tourraine is inside the Centre region.
Consequently, the name of the region, chosen by the French central government, was not based on history, but purely on geographical references: Pays (i.e. "lands") de la Loire (i.e. "of the Loire River"). However, the majority of the famous châteaux of the Loire Valley are located in the Centre region, and not inside Pays de la Loire, despite the confusing name.
A majority of the inhabitants of the department of Loire-Atlantique and of the region of Bretagne are unhappy with the division of Brittany between two regions and would like to have Loire-Atlantique enter the Bretagne region in order to reunify Brittany. Notably, both the Regional council of Bretagne and the General council of Loire-Atlantique have unanimously voted in favour of the reunification of Brittany. On the other hand, a part of the political elite of the two regions is fiercely against such a reunification (and notably the mayor of Nantes, Jean-Marc Ayrault, and the president of Pays-de-la-Loire, Jacques Auxiette, both from the Socialist Party). Therefore, the issue is quite difficult to resolve.
* La Roche-sur-Yon
* Le Mans
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