IV. BRITTANY – LOWER NORMANDY – LOIRE
Th e APP Ren n es’ district in clu des th e followin g region s: Brittan y, Lower
Norm an dy, an d Pays de la Loire.
A. Brit t an y
Th e region of Brittan y is com posed of fou r cou n ties: Ille-et-Vilain e, Côtes d’Arm or, Fin istère an d Morbih an .
Brittan y is th e seven th m ost popu lou s region of Fran ce with 2.9 m illion in h abitan ts.
Ren n es, th e capital of Brittan y, h as a popu lation of 212,000 in h abitan ts, m akin g it th e 10th largest city in Fran ce. In clu din g th e m etropolitan region , th e popu lation is 362,000.
Ren n es com es in at or n ear th e top of all qu ality of life polls in Fran ce, du e to its com bin ation of an attractive city cen ter, parts of wh ich date back to Medieval tim es, a vibran t popu lation th at in clu des 60,000 stu den ts, a stron g overall econ om y an d th e n atu ral beau ty of th e
Brittan y region th at su rrou n ds th e city.
Celtic his tory
Th e Brittan y region h as a stron g Celtic h eritage th at is experien cin g resu rgen ce today in th e form of Breton cu ltu ral developm en t, periodically in term in gled with political separatism . Th e Breton lan gu age is already tau gh t in a series of special sch ools, th e Diwan bilin gu al. Celtic m u sic is pervasive in th e region , an d th e Celtic Festival in Lorien t, on th e sou th ern coast of Brittan y, grows in statu re an d popu larity each year. TV
Breizh , a region al cable an d satellite ch an n el, dedicated to th e prom otion of Celtic Breton h eritage, ju st cam e in to bein g in Septem ber 2000.
Brittan y accou n ts for 4% of th e Fren ch n ation al GDP an d 3.1% of Fren ch exports. Key in du strial sectors in Ren n es an d in Brittan y m ore largely are telecom m u n ication research , with 40% of Fren ch telecom m research cen tered in Ren n es, Brest an d Lan n ion . Th e Ren n es Atalan te Scien ce
Park, created in 1984, is th e cen ter of n ew tech n ology developm en t in Ren n es. Th e area is well served by region al h igh way n etworks an d th e
TGV h igh -speed train .
Agricu ltu re, fish in g an d food in du stry, are th e oth er m ajor econ om ic sectors. Brittan y is th e first region in Fran ce for agricu ltu ral produ ction an d for fish in g, an d accou n ts for 8% of Fran ce’s added agricu ltu ral valu e an d 46% of n ation al fish in g produ ction .
Ren n es is prou d of its cu ltu ral life. In addition to an active season of classical con certs an d plays, th e city h olds n u m erou s an n u al festivals geared to th e you n ger stu den t popu lation , in clu din g Tran sm u sicales, Les
Tom bées de la Nu it, J azz à l’Ou est an d Travellin g, a film festival.
Th e Fran co-Am erican In stitu te in Ren n es, a bin ation al cu ltu ral cen ter open ed in 1961 by th e US Em bassy in Paris an d Ren n es city h all, offers a broad ran ge of cu ltu ral activities, su ch as art exh ibition s, con certs, con feren ces, a stu den t exch an ge program , Am erican En glish cou rses, tran slation services an d an Am erican library.
Ren n es h as broken grou n d for a n ew cu ltu ral cen ter, th e “Ch am ps
Libres”, with open in g sch edu led for 2006.
Britta ny a nd the United Sta tes
On e of th e m ost im portan t poin ts of em igration from Fran ce to th e U.S. was a sm all village in Brittan y called Gou rin . Between th e 1860s an d th e
1950s, th ou san ds of people from th is on e town an d th e su rrou n din g area em igrated to Am erica. Every residen t of Gou rin can n ow cou n t at least on e Am erican relative.
Th e city of Ren n es was liberated on Au gu st 4, 1944, by th e troops of Gen eral Patton . Th e citizen s of Ren n es tu rn ed ou t in force on City Hall
Plaza to join th e arrivin g Am erican soldiers an d celebrate th eir liberty.
Th e sam e site was ch osen by th e city of Ren n es for th e official m em orial service on Septem ber 14, con du cted join tly with APP Ren n es, in com m em oration of th e tragic even ts of Septem ber 11.
Th e city of Ren n es h as been Sister City with Roch ester, New York, sin ce
1947. Moreover, th e cities of Brest an d Vitre are respectively Sister Cities with Den ver an d Greece, New York.
B. Lower Norm an dy
Th e region of Lower Norm an dy is com posed of th ree cou n ties: Calvados,
Man ch e an d Orn e.
Demogra phics Lower Norm an dy ran ks as th e 17th m ost popu lou s region in Fran ce with
1.4 m illion people. Th e capital of Lower Norm an dy is Caen , with a popu lation of n early 120,000. Th e m etropolitan statistical area of Caen boasts over 200,000 in h abitan ts. Th e city is a two-h ou r drive from Paris an d a two-h ou r drive from Ren n es, th e site of th e Am erican Presen ce
Post for Western Fran ce. At 9.1 %, th e u n em ploym en t rate is u n der th e
Fren ch n ation al average of 10.2%
Th e region produ ces 1.3% of all exports from Fran ce, an d con su m es
1.2% of all im port to Fran ce. 4.5% of all produ ces exported from th e region in 2000 cam e to th e Un ited States. Lower Norm an dy h as globally a h igh er th an n ation al average rate as th e workin g agricu ltu ral popu lation is 10%. With 24% of workers workin g in th e secon dary sector, Lower Norm an dy is at th e sam e level as th e n ation al average.
Th ree sectors dom in ate th e m arket: th e car in du stry, ch em icals an d petrol, an d th e food in du stry. Man y oth er areas participate in th e in du strial activity of th e region particu larly th e electrical con stru ction an d electron ics, aeron au tic an d n aval con stru ction , th e iron an d steel in du stry, textile in du stry an d paper in du stry. Caen is th e 1st port of Lower Norm an dy.
In J u n e 6th 1944, allied forces lan ded on th e coasts of Calvados an d
Man ch e. Th e beach es were given Am erican n am es (Om ah a Beach , Utah
Beach ) by battle plan n ers du rin g th e war an d th e n am es h ave rem ain ed.
Arrom an ch es with its artificial port, m ilitary cem eteries, la Poin te du
Hoc, m on u m en ts, m ileston es an d m ilitary relics con tin u e to serve as rem in ders of th e battles. At th e Am erican cem etery in Colleville su r Mer, wh ich covers twen ty eigh t acres, rest m ore th an 4,000 Am erican soldiers wh o died in th e Norm an dy an d Brittan y cam paign s in 1944.
Lower Norma ndy a nd the United s ta tes
Lower Norm an dy h as always h ad close relation s with th e Un ited States, an d th ose ties grew even tigh ter followin g th e en d of th e Secon d World
War. Th e region h osts m an y Am erican citizen s, particu larly in Caen area. Th e city of Caen is Sister City with Nash ville an d Alexan dria. Man y association s attest a steadfast com m itm en t in preservin g th e Fran co-
Am erican frien dsh ip; am on gst th em are th e Sister City Com m ittees of Caen -Nash ville an d Caen Alexan dria, Les Fleu rs de la Mem oire, an d
Fran ce Etats-Un is Caen .
C. Pays de Loire
Th e Pays de Loire region is com posed of five cou n ties: Loire-Atlan tiqu e,
Ven dée, Mayen n e, Main e-et-Loire an d Sarth e.
On ce th e royal capital of Brittan y, Nan tes is a dyn am ic city with stron g ties to n ot on e bu t two region s: Brittan y an d th e Loire Region . Th e popu lation of th e city com es from both region s an d h as soared in recen t years. Sin ce World War II, th e city an d th e Loire Atlan tiqu e Departm en t h ave belon ged to th e Pays de la Loire region . Over 400,000 people n ow live in Nan tes itself an d an oth er 200,000 live in its im m ediate su bu rbs.
Nan tes is th e 6th largest city in Fran ce.
Th e city of Nan tes is h om e to a n u m ber of Am erican com pan ies an d h as th e largest com m odities exch an ge h ou se in Fran ce ou tside Paris.
Nan tes is also th e capital of th e Pays de la Loire (th e Loire Region ). Th e city of Ren n es, th e adm in istrative capital of Brittan y an d h om e to th e
Am erican Presen ce Post for Western Fran ce, is located 100 kilom eters n orth of Nan tes. Sixty kilom eters west of Nan tes, at th e Loire river estu ary, is th e city of Sain t-Nazaire, a h eavily in du strialized port city th at is closely lin ked to Nan tes.
Pays de la Loire was join ed with Brittan y an d Poitou -Ch aren tes th rou gh an active econ om ic developm en t association called Ou est Atlan tiqu e. Th e th ree region s worked togeth er econ om ically for twen ty years before
Brittan y with drew. Nan tes, th e capital of th e Pays de la Loire, h as th e largest econ om y am on g th e cities of th e western region s of Fran ce.
An gers, th e capital of Main e-et-Loire, is after Nan tes th e largest bu sin ess cen ter in th e region , with a sizable U.S. bu sin ess presen ce.
Culture Th e region h as developed a very in ten se cu ltu ral life an d h olds m an y festivals, su ch as Eu ropa J azz festival in Le Man s, Les Accroch e-Coeu rs in An gers, or La Folle J ou rn ee an d Les Ren dez Vou s de l’Erdre in Nan tes.
Th e capital city h as an active th eater season , an d th e Orch estre Nation al des Pays de la Loire, fou n ded in 1971. Th e Mu sée du Ch ateau des Du cs de Bretagn e, h ou sed in th e origin al ch ateau wh ich dates from th e 13th cen tu ry, con tain s two m u seu m s, both focu sed on th e h istory of Nan tes.
Pa ys de la Loire a nd the United Sta tes
Th e city of Nan tes h as two sister city relation sh ips in th e U.S. Th e relation sh ip with J ackson ville, Florida dates from 1985. Th e pairin g with
Seattle, Wash in gton , dates from 1980.