Geography of Lorraine
The Lorraine is the French Région to only divide its borders with three other countries: the Belgium (Walloon region), the Luxembourg and the Germany (länder of the the Saar and the Rhineland-Palatinat). It is also close to three French areas: Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne and Franche-Comté.
This situation is a strategic asset for this area located of this fact near the center of the blue Banane, this Conurbation which crosses the Europe of the Lancashire (England) to the Toscane (Italy), while passing by the Rhenish corridor .
Evolution of the population of Lorraine:
The figures indicated here until in 1866 include the communes of the Vosges which were lost in 1871 and are today Alsatian. The figures of 1872 with 1911 include the department of the Moselle which was German for this period.
The demographic trends of Lorraine mainly reflect its history and that of the France.
At the beginning of the 19th century, the population is primarily rural, the birthrate is high, mortality is less low than during the previous centuries, and the population increases regularly.
The middle of the century marks a great turning. It is the beginning of the Industrial revolution, of which the first effect is the Rural migration. The Lorraine campaigns thus start to be very strongly depopulated, like everywhere in France. But quickly, industrial development attracts the population towards the urban centres. Their growth, in Lorraine, will compensate for the losses of the rural world, and during more than one century the population will continue to increase, at the same time as it urbanizes more and more.
This growth will however have some accidents related to the history. In 1871, many inhabitants of the areas annexed by Germany choose to remain in France. Some settle in the part of Lorraine remained French, but much leave also the area, to go towards the Paris region or the Algérie for example.
During the First World War, Lorraine suffers enormously. Deaths of the war and the deficit of the births during 4 years strongly decrease the number of the inhabitants. He is necessary to add to it the departure of a certain number of Germans who had settled in the Moselle between 1871 and 1918, and which prefers to turn over towards other German areas.
The dynamism is however quickly of return, in the euphoria of the Mad years. But with the economic crisis and demographic which touches France in the Années 1930, the population stagnates again. The Second world war comes to amplify this tendency, driving out many inhabitants temporarily.
After the end of this war, the rebuilding and the return of certain inhabitants again revive the growth of the area, which will continue during the glorious Thirty. But in the Years 1970, the crisis returns. The main activities, mining and heavy industries which derive from it, are struck hard. The urban centres most industrial are depopulated, the campaigns continue to stagnate like before, and the area loses inhabitants in spite of his strong birthrate.
In the Years 1990, the effects of various conversions of industry successful in the area start to be felt démographiquement. The cities which found other activities attract inhabitants again, and as a whole Lorraine succeeded in stabilizing its population. The situation remains however very unequal. The essence of the population growth from now on is concentrated on the furrow native of the Moselle region (Thionville, Metz, Toul, Nancy, Épinal), whereas the field (Longwy, Forbach), all the western part of the area (Meuse) and the high Vosgean valleys are still in strong regression.
Today nearly the three quarters of the population domiciled in the departments of Meurthe-et-Moselle and the the Moselle which gained 14 000 inhabitants between 1990 and 1999 (+0,8%) while the the Vosges and the Meuse lost 9  of it; 000 (- 1,6%).
The population is urban to 72,5% (46% in the Meuse, 77% in Meurthe-et-Moselle), and 40% of Lorraine live on 5% of the territory (agglomerations of Nancy, Metz, Thionville and Forbach). Urban spreading out progresses also regularly: until the census of 1990, INSEE defined around Hagondange and of Briey an agglomeration of more than 100 000 inhabitants, but this one is now entirely included in the agglomeration close to Metz, from now on most extended from the area.
Agglomerations of more than 15 000 inhabitants: Chiffres of Total population (with double accounts) for the communes, of Population without double accounts for the urban agglomerations and surfaces. Census of 1999.
Many agglomerations overflow of the borders, in Germany (Forbach with Saarbrucken, Sarreguemines, Saint-Avold) or with the Luxembourg (Villerupt with the Esch-on-Alzette). The agglomeration of Longwy extends even on three countries, the France, the Luxembourg and the Belgium.
ReliefThe point low this locates at the level of Remennecourt where the Saulx (river) is with 115m of altitude.
The relief, of ascending average slope towards the east, is made of an alternation of valleys and plates separated by Cuesta S (reliefs of coasts) from direction south-north. On the basis of the west, one distinguishes successively: the Argonne, coasts of Bar, coasts of Meuse and finally the coasts of the Moselle which exceed the 450 m of altitude. Between Coasts of Meuse and Côtes of the Moselle extends the fertile plain from the broad Woëvre from 25 to 30 km. The Meuse and the the Moselle run towards north in an argillaceous plain.
In the south topography rises Vôge towards the the Vosges, old solid mass of the tertiary era culminating in Alsace with the Grand Balloon (1 424 m). The highest point of Lorraine is at the Hohneck (1 362 m). The sandy Vosges of north, are lower than the crystalline Vosges in the south.
BasementIt is made of sedimentary rocks (Calcaire, sandstone and marnes) except in the Massif of the Vosges (Granite). Geologically, Lorraine forms the Eastern limit of the Paris basin.
It provided during the history of many natural resources:
- rock salt;
- metals (money, lead and copper are exploited until the XVIIIe century);
- iron ores (iron ore).
Following the fold caused by the creation of the solid mass of the Vosges, the various sedimentary layers level on the surface, involving grounds of very diverse nature.
False : the sedimentary layers settled well after the creation of the Vosges. It is the formation of the young mountainous chains to the Tertiary sector which has " réactivé" (for a time) the orogenesis of the Vosgean solid mass. From there, the sedimentary layers levelled…
The Lorraine climate is oceanic range with continental influence. The seasons are contrasted and marked well but according to the dominant winds can follow one another of the day the shortly after the periods of precipitations (oceanic influence) or strong thermal amplitude (continental influence).
For example for the town of Nancy: the average temperature in January is of 1,2 °C (Nice 12,5 °C, Brest 6,3 °C) while it reaches 18,3 °C in July (Nice 26,6 °C, Brest 16,2 °C). Precipitations are in the national average: 740 mm/an over 163 days (Nice 767 mm -88 J Brest 1178 mm-211 J).
The Massif of the Vosges is much wetter (1780 mm/an with Gérardmer), which causes a strong snowing up in winter.
Lorraine is famous for the rigor of its climate and its rather frequent fogs. However this bad reputation is strongly exaggerated, it is probably due to the winter 1939-1940 which was exceptional, whereas a great number of French soldiers were in garrison on the fortifications of the Ligne Maginot. It however allows the culture of the vine (wines of the coasts of Toul) and of the fruit trees (the Mirabelle is a regional speciality). To note that the latter could be in regression in the area because of the Climate change.
Two great rivers, the Meuse and the the Moselle, and their principal affluents (Meurthe, Pail, the Saar…) drain the near total of the catchment area of the area. However, the the Saone takes its source in the south of the the Vosges to Vioménil, the east, the Zorn is a direct affluent of the the Rhine and, in the area of Bar-le-Duc, the Ornain is thrown in the Marne.
Lorraine thus forms the Western limit of the catchment area of the Rhine. There exist many channels to allow the river navigation. One of most important is the Canal of the Marne in the Rhine, which has a particularly remarkable work, the tilted Plan of Saint-Louis-Arzviller, a mobile lock moving on a slope thanks to a system of counterweight and which replaced 17 traditional locks.
On the whole, the area counts 700 km of inland waterways and three large commercial river ports: the port of Nancy - Frouard, the port of Metz and the port of It (near Thionville). The area also presents many marinas.
; Water levels:
Lorraine comprises many water levels, almost all artificial except some Vosgean lakes. They were created for pisciculture by monks with the Middle Ages, or are the consequences of exploitations of careers. The large majority of these water levels are located in the plain of Woëvre (department of the Meuse), in the valley of the lakes (department of the Vosges) and in the country of the ponds (south-eastern of the Moselle). They belong to the wetlands richest of the French territory. Thus the pond of Lindre accommodates approximately 230 of the 500 European species of birds.
Les more important is the Lac of Gérardmer (115 ha), the Lac of Madine (1 100 ha), the pond of Gondrexange (700 ha), the lakes of Pierre-Opening (280 ha), the pond of Stock (720 ha), the pond of Lindre (620 ha).
; Mineral water:
The area is also rich in mineral water whose many sources are the subject of an commercial exploitation. It is thus the case of the sources of Vittel (Great source and Hépar) or of Contrexéville. In addition, Plombières-the-Baths is famous since the Gallo-Roman time for the healing virtues of its source.
Grubbing having been limited to the 19th century for military reasons, the forest recovers 34% of the area and place thus Lorraine in the most wooded areas of France.
Because of mining and industrialization which accompanied it, the rural migration was earlier in Lorraine than in the remainder of France. One can distinguish six great agricultural zones overall:
the high Vosges: agriculture of the pastoral type related to manufacture of the munster and géromé and with the country holidays (many farms inns).
- the sandy Vosges: sylviculture
- the Eastern Lorraine plate: very rural area, one finds many typically Lorraine village-streets there. The exploitations generally exceed 100 ha. One practices there the breeding (dairy for the smallest farms) and the cultivation of cereals.
- the Western Lorraine plate: located between the the Moselle and the Argonne (the Meuse), it is primarily a ground of ploughings. The population is far from dense, this zone belongs to the " Deserted French ".
- the coast of the Moselle: strong agricultural decline in this area on the fertile ground and the climatic conditions very favorable.
- coasts of Meuse: development of the vine growing and arboriculture.
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