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Lozere

LOZERE, a department of south-eastern France belonging to the central plateau, composed of almost the whole of Gevaudan and of some portions of the old dioceses of Uzes and Alais, districts all formerly included in the province of Languedoc. Pop. (1906) 128,016. Area, 1999 sq. m. It is bounded N. by Cantal and Haute-Loire, E. by Ardeche and Card, S. by Card and Aveyron and W. by Aveyron and Cantal. Lozere is mountainous throughout and in average elevation is the highest of all the French departments. It has three distinct regions the Cevennes proper to the south-east, the causses to the south-west and the mountain tracts which occupy the rest of its area. The Cevennes begin (within Lozere) with Mont Aigoual, which rises to a height of more than 5100 ft.; parallel to this are the mountains of Bouges, bold and bare on their southern face, but falling gently with wooded slopes towards the Tarn which roughly limits the Cevennes on the north. To the north of the Tarn is the range of Lozere, including the peak of Finiels, the highest point Of the department (5584 ft.). Farther on occurs the broad marshy plateau of Montbel, which drains southward^ to the Lot, northwards to the Allier, eastward by the Chassezac to the Ardeche. From this plateau extend the mountains of La Margeride, undulating granitic tablelands partly clothed with woods of oak, beech and fir, and partly covered with pastures, to which flocks are brought from lower Languedoc in summer. The highest point (True de Randon) reaches 3098 ft. Adjoining the Margeride hills on the west is the volcanic range of Aubrac, a pastoral district where horned cattle take the place of sheep; the highest point is 4826 ft. The causses of Lozere, having an area of about 564 sq. m., are calcareous, fissured and arid, but separated from each other by deep and well-watered gorges, contrasting with the desolate aspect of the plateaus. The causse of Sauveterre, between the Lot and the Tarn, ranges from 3000 to 3300 ft. in height; that of Mejan has nearly the same average altitude, but has peaks some 1000 ft. higher. Between these two causses the Tarn valley is among the most picturesque in France. Lozere is watered entirely by rivers rising within its own boundaries, being in this respect unique. The climate of Lozere varies greatly with the locality. The mean temperature of Mende (50 F.) is below that of Paris; that of the mountains is always low, but on the causses the summer is scorching and the winter severe; in the Cevennes the climate becomes mild enough at their base (656 ft.) to permit the growth of the olive. Rain falls in violent storms, causing disastrous floods. On the Mediterranean versant there are 76 in., in the Garonne basin 46 and in that of the Loire only 28. Sheep and cattle-rearing and cheesemaking are the chief occupations. Bees are kept, and, among the Cevennes, silkworms. Large quantities of chestnuts are exported from the Cevennes, where they form an important article of diet. In the valley of the Lot wheat and fruit are the chief products; elsewhere rye is the chief cereal, and oats, barley, meslin and potatoes are also grown. Fruit trees and leguminous plants are irrigated by small canals (beats) on terraces made and maintained with much labour. Lead, zinc and antimony are found. Saw-milling, the manufacture of wooden shoes and woolspinning are carried on; otherwise industries are few and unimportant. Of mineral springs, those of Bagnols-les-Bains are most frequented. The line of the Paris-Lyon company from Paris to Nimes traverses the eastern border of the department, which is also served by the Midi railway with the line from Neussargues to Beziers via Marvejols. The arrondissements are Mende, Florae and Marvejols; the cantons number 24, the communes 198. Loze're forms the diocese of Mende and part of the ecclesiastical province of Albi. It falls within the region of the XVI. army corps, the circumscriptions of the academic (educational division) of Montpellier and the appeal court of Nimes. Mende (q.v .) is its most important town.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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