Occitanie, France

Occitanie is an administrative region in the South-West and South-East of France resulting from the merger of the former Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions. Created by the territorial reform of 2014, it comprises 13 departments. Its capital is Toulouse.

The region extends over 72,724 km2 and is comparable to Ireland, making it the third largest region in France behind New Aquitaine and Guyana, as well as the second in mainland France. It has 6,101,005 inhabitants (municipal population on January 1, 2023) and is thus the fifth most populated French (and metropolitan) region. Its population density is lower than the average for metropolitan France, with 84 inhabitants/km2, which is the sixth lowest density among French regions (and the fourth among metropolitan regions). However, its population is very unevenly distributed, with two major cities (Toulouse and Montpellier), a fairly densely populated Mediterranean coastline and rural regions belonging to the “diagonal of the void”.

Its largest city is Toulouse, which is also the regional prefecture, while the second regional metropolis, Montpellier, retains several administrations. The headquarters, the administrations and the general management of the Regional Council are located in Toulouse and the deliberative assemblies are held in Montpellier.

With a maritime facade on the Mediterranean Sea, it brings together territories of the Aquitaine Basin to the west (Gers, northern Hautes-Pyrénées and Ariège, center and north of Haute-Garonne, center and west of Tarn -et-Garonne, west of the Tarn, south of the Lot), the Pyrenees to the south (south of the Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne and Ariège, south of the Aude and west of the Pyrénées-Orientales), of the Massif Central to the north ( Aveyron and Lozère, central and northern Lot, eastern Tarn-et-Garonne and Tarn, northern Aude, Hérault and Gard) and the Mediterranean basin to the east (eastern Pyrénées-Orientales and Aude, south of Hérault and Gard). It is bordered by the regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine to the west, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes to the north and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur to the east, as well as by Spain and Andorra to the south.





Other destinations

Cévennes National Park

Pont du Gard


Pyrenees National Park


Toponymy and logotype

Temporarily called Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées, the name “Occitanie” has been official since September 28, 2016 and effective since September 30, 2016. If it is subtitled “Pyrénées-Méditerranée” by the regional council, this sub- title does not appear in the Official Journal of the French Republic. The law initially provided for naming the merged regions by juxtaposing the names of the former regions in alphabetical order. The region is therefore provisionally named "Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées" until a new name is chosen by decree in Council of State on the proposal of the regional council of the merged region, a decision to be taken before July 1, 2016.

On June 24, 2016, the regional council meeting in plenary assembly voted in favor of adopting the name Occitanie. This name will be accompanied by the Pyrénées-Méditerranée signature in all of the region's official communication. The name was validated by the Council of State and the Government, and published in the official journal on September 29, 2016. In 2016 and then in 2017, the Council of State rejected Catalan appeals seeking to have the name Occitanie-Pays Catalan adopted.

The logo, created by Léa Filipowicz19, takes up the motifs of the Occitan cross (former arms of the Counts of Toulouse, gules with a cross emptied, keyed and pommetée in gold) and the coat of arms of Roussillon (equivalent to the former arms of the Counts of Barcelona, or four pales gules). It was officially unveiled on Friday February 3, 2017 in Montpellier by regional president Carole Delga.



The Occitanie region largely overlaps with the territory of the Garonne watershed, which depends on the Adour-Garonne Water Agency based in Toulouse. This river flows over approximately 250 km on the territory of the region, i.e. almost half of the French course of the river (522 km), between the Franco-Spanish border at Pont-du-Roy (Fos, Haute-Garonne) and the boundary with New Aquitaine at Lamagistère (Tarn-et-Garonne). And its basin extends over 55,600 km2 in France, corresponding to almost all of the former Midi-Pyrénées region, to the north of Languedoc-Roussillon (especially Lozère), and to part of the north of the former Aquitaine.

Nine of the ten main tributaries of the Garonne (reaching or exceeding 100 km) flow entirely or mainly in Occitanie: the Lot (about 400 km out of the 485 km in total length of the river flowing from east to west on the right bank of the Garonne, in Lozère, Aveyron and in the Lot department), the Tarn (380.2 km from east to west on the right bank, in Lozère, Aveyron then in the departments of Tarn, Haute- Garonne and Tarn-et-Garonne), Ariège (163.2 km from south-south-east to north-north-west on the right bank, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, the department of Ariège and Haute- Garonne), the Gers (about 150 km out of the 175 km of the river flowing from south to north on the left bank, in the Hautes-Pyrénées and in the department of Gers), the Save (148.4 km from the south- west to north-east on the left bank, in the Hautes-Pyrénées, Gers and Haute-Garonne), the Baïse (140 km out of the 188 km of the total course flowing from south to north on the left bank, in the Hautes -Pyrenees and in the Gers), Gimone (135.7 km from south - south-west to north - north-east on the left bank, in the Hautes-Pyrénées, Gers, Haute-Garonne and Tarn-et- Garonne), Arrats (131 km of natural course and 162 km with the Neste canal from south-south-west to north-north-east on the left bank, in the Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne, Gers and Tarn-et-Garonne) and La Louge (100 km from south-west to north-east on the left bank, in Haute-Garonne).

The eastern limit of the region, in Gard and Lozère, is attached to the Rhône basin. More specifically, it includes the western part of the Rhône delta, in the Camargue: the Petite Camargue. Two tributaries of more than 100 km, on the right bank of the Rhône, flow from the northwest to the southeast in the departments of Lozère and Gard: the Cèze (128.4 km) and the Gardon (127.3 km).

The Loire basin for its part concerns a small part of the regional territory, namely 22 municipalities to the north-east of Lozère, the department where the longest tributary of the Loire, the Allier (420.7 km from south to north on the left of the Loire, of which only 30 km is in Lozère), has its source (at Moure de la Gardille in Margeride). The triple meeting point of the watershed lines between the Rhône, Garonne and Loire basins is at the top of Planas (1,271 m), near the boundary between the municipalities of Belvezet and Allenc in Lozère.

Between these three watersheds, the Languedoc coastal plain is crossed by two other rivers of relative importance to the southern rainfall regime, the Aude (224 km from south to north then from west to east, in the Pyrénées-Orientales, in Ariège, in the department of Aude and in Hérault) and La Têt (115.8 km from west to east, in the Pyrénées-Orientales). There are also several coastal rivers with the Cévennes rainfall regime, the main ones being the Hérault (147.6 km from north to south, in the Gard and the department of Hérault) and the Orb (135.4 km from the north to south then from northwest to southeast, in Aveyron and Hérault).

The south-west of the region (almost all of the Hautes-Pyrénées department, western part of the Gers department) is integrated into the Adour basin (308 km), and its main tributaries: gave de Pau, Arros, Midouze. The Adour notably waters the town of Tarbes, the Gave de Pau and that of Lourdes.

Numerous streams and rivers have dug, in the reliefs of sedimentary rock of the region (especially in the southern foothills of the Massif Central), steep passages called gorges. The gorges of the Tarn, the gorges of the Hérault, the gorges of the Gardon, the gorges of the Allier, for example, can thus be cited.

Many lagoons or coastal ponds line the Mediterranean coast, separated from the sea by coastal bars formed by the sedimentary contribution of the Rhône and connected to it by channels locally called graus. The largest in the region, which is also its largest body of water (the second largest French Mediterranean pond and the third largest natural body of water in France, after Lake Geneva and the Etang de Berre), is the Etang de Thau (75 km2) located in the Hérault, between Agde and Sète. Other important ponds are those of Bages-Sigean (55 km2, in Aude), Salses-Leucate (54.8 km2, between Pyrénées-Orientales and Aude) and Or (or Mauguio , 31.4 km2, on the border between Hérault and Gard).


Topography and geology

The region extends over part of the two major mountainous massifs of the South of France: the northern slope of the Pyrenees and the south of the Massif Central.

The Pyrenean massif extends over approximately 15,000 km2 in the region, covering more or less significant portions of the Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Garonne, Ariège, Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales. This is thus 85.5% of the whole of the French Pyrenees, and about a fifth of the regional territory. Part of the Alpine belt and of Eocene age, it stretches from east to west and marks the border with Spain. More particularly, the region includes the French slopes of the central Pyrenees (the highest and with the fewest passes between France and Spain, the highest regional point and of the French Pyrenees is located there, at 3,298 m at Vignemale in the Hautes- Pyrenees) and the eastern or Catalan Pyrenees (culminating at the Pic Carlit at 2,921 m, it is nevertheless the Canigou, which dominates the plain of Roussillon from the top of its 2,784 m, which appears representative of the Catalan Pyrenees). The relief is marked by its very deep south-north facing valleys, the rarity and high altitude of its passes, its numerous mountain torrents (called gaves or nestes), the frequency of cases where the upper part of a valley ends in a circus (of Gavarnie, Troumouse or Marcadau in the Hautes-Pyrénées), the absence of large lakes, compared to the Alps massif for example, and its low population density (27.5 inhab./ km2 in 2006 for the whole of the French Pyrenees).

The Massif Central covers for its part in the region approximately 26,000 km2, i.e. all of Lozère, Aveyron and Lot, the eastern limit of Tarn-et-Garonne and the south-eastern third of Tarn, as well as the northern limits of Aude, Hérault and Gard. This corresponds to 30% of the entire Massif Central and just over a third of the regional territory. Set of ancient geological formation (Hercynian) and therefore eroded, the relief is relatively hilly and moderately high, combining plateaus, low and medium mountains. The highest point of the massif in the region is the summit of Finiels at Mont Lozère (1,699 m). The set includes heavily eroded karstic (limestone) plateaus called causses (causses du Quercy in the northwest in the Lot and Tarn-et-Garonne, Grands Causses like those of Larzac or Méjean in the center-east in the Aveyron, in Lozère, Hérault and Gard), volcanic and granitic high plateaus (Aubrac in the north in Aveyron and Lozère) or crystalline (Lévézou in the center in Aveyron) and secondary mountain ranges (Margeride to the northeast in Lozère, Cévennes to the east in Aveyron, Lozère, in Hérault and Gard, and the succession of the mountains of Lacaune, Caroux-Espinouse and the Montagne Noire to the south between Haute- Garonne, Tarn, Aveyron, Aude and Hérault). These regions are interspersed with low altitude acidic siliceous soils (Ségala in the west in the Tarn and Aveyron) or the gorges of the main rivers of the region.

These two massifs meet as closely as possible at the level of the Montagne Noire and the Corbières massif, separated by a narrow strip of plain and low hills, uniting the Lauragais and the Minervois. Culminating at Naurouze (189 m), between Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) and Biterrois (Hérault) via Carcassonne (Aude), this geographical threshold thus connects the sedimentary basin which extends to the west to to the Atlantic (Aquitaine Basin), and to the east the sandy coastal plain of the Mediterranean Sea (Languedoc coast). This, in its hinterland, rises gradually towards the plateaus and mountains of the Massif Central through a system of intermediate limestone reliefs, between 200 and 400 m altitude (Garrigues).

The subsoil of the region has limited resources that were exploited in the past. Mention may be made of tungsten mines (circus of Anglade in Salau in the Ariège Pyrenees until 1987, the Fumade deposit in the Tarn could be exploited in the future), gold (fed by alluvial deposits of very low levels, most of the waterways of the Massif Central and the Pyrenees being gold-bearing rivers, especially the Salsigne gold mine in the Montagne Noire and the Aude department, closed in 2004), copper (for example the Pioch Farrus mine, in Cabrières in Hérault, was exploited in the late Neolithic period 5,000 years ago), bituminous shale (from Cisba lake in Sévérac-le-Château in Aveyron to in 1951), zinc and lead (in Arrens in the Hautes-Pyrénées until 1983, the Croix de Pallières mine in the lower Cévennes of Gard was operated until 1971, that of Bentaillou in the Pyrenean valley of Biros was arrested in 1955) or uranium (in Lodève in the Hérault until 1997). The south of the Massif Central also has coal reserves which were exploited until 2001 in the mines of the Cévennes in the Gard (Pays d'Alès), Decazeville in the Aveyron and Carmaux in the Tarn.

This particular topographical and geological setting, as well as the situation of the region, contribute to creating certain local climatic particularities.



The Occitanie region straddles three major climatic areas: the Languedoc coast is subject to the Mediterranean climate (Csa, even tending towards Csb in certain areas, according to the Köppen classification); the Aquitaine Basin has a slightly warmer oceanic climate because it is further south (Aquitaine oceanic climate, Cfb de Köppen); the Massif Central and the Pyrenees have a climate under mountain influence (only the highest peaks of the Pyrenees have a mountain climate). The space located between Toulouse and the threshold of Lauragais is subject to a Mediterranean climate under both oceanic and mountain influence.

In the Mediterranean climate, the annual amplitude is quite limited, being 14°C in Perpignan, 15°C in Sète, 17°C in Montpellier and 18°C in Nîmes. These values are comparable to those of semi-oceanic climates, despite the often lower latitude. The winters are however a little milder than those of the western facade: the average temperature in January ranges from 6.9°C in Nîmes to 8.4°C in Perpignan, the number of annual frost days is 8.5 in Sète and 12.1 in Grau-du-Roi on the coast, 13.5 in Perpignan and 25.3 in Montpellier, a few km from the coast. Summers are by definition hot and dry; the average July temperature ranges from 23°C in Sète to 24.9 in Nîmes. The minimum rainfall in summer is recorded in July, 12.4 mm or 13.1 mm on the coast respectively in Grau-du-Roi and Sète but 16.4 mm in Montpellier, 17.1 mm in Perpignan and 28, 2 mm in Nimes. Sunshine, as on the entire Mediterranean rim, is very high: on average, 2,506 hours per year in Perpignan, 2,663 in Nîmes and 2,668.2 in Montpellier.

For the Mediterranean climate under oceanic influence, the average temperatures are slightly lower, in winter as in summer, and the precipitations are stronger. Thus, in Toulouse and Albi, although the annual amplitude remains almost identical to those of the Languedoc coast (16°C), the thermal averages for January (5.9°C) and July (22°C) are lower by 1 to 3°C, while the least rainy month, which remains July, sees 37.7 mm of precipitation. There is less sunshine there (2,031 hours per year in Toulouse and 2,200 hours in Albi).

Regarding the Aquitaine oceanic climate, the winters remain rather mild (in January 5°C in Gourdon, 5.2 in Auch, 5.5 in Montauban) with frosts which can however be severe. Over the period 1971-2000, the absolute minima are −20°C in Montauban. Summers are hotter than in the oceanic type of the territories located further north (in July 20.3°C in Gourdon, 20.7°C in Auch, 22.5°C in Montauban) and stormy. As for the Paris area, the amplitude increases with distance from the coast but remains within reasonable limits, with 15.5°C in Auch. Precipitation is regular all year round, but unlike the “Parisian” area, the summer minimum persists most often, including when going east. There is also a maximum of spring which does not exist in the north, in particular at the foot of the Pyrenees. These rains are moderate in the center of the basin (Montauban 747 mm/year) and increase as you approach the massifs (Gourdon 883 mm/year). Sunshine decreases when approaching the Pyrénées-Atlantiques with 1,866 hours per year in Auch, and increases towards the east and the Mediterranean: Gourdon 2,054 hours and Albi 2,200 hours. Although this climate is more southern than the “Parisian” type, fog or low winter clouds in anticyclonic weather are still frequent.

In the northern and southern massifs of the region, with altitude, the temperature decreases and, for the slopes exposed to rainy winds, precipitation increases. In the small massifs and the outer foothills, the mountain climate corresponds to the climate of the neighboring plain modified by altitude. Winters become much colder than in the plains, the average temperature in January remains positive in the middle mountains: 0.6°C in Mende (1,019 m). However, this winter temperature becomes clearly negative in the deep valleys or when the altitude increases, such as at Mont Aigoual (1,567 m) with −1.4°C. Where the average winter temperature is below 0°C, snow falls regularly and lasts a long time in winter. Summers are cool, Mount Aigoual records a July average of 13.1°C. The decrease in temperature with altitude is not uniform depending on the season, it is more marked in spring and summer than in autumn and winter, which means that the annual amplitude tends to be lower at altitude than in the surrounding plains. The rhythm of sunshine is different, in winter in anticyclonic weather, the massifs generally overhang the inversion layer, they are then sunny and relatively mild while the plain remains cold and gray. In summer, cumulus clouds are more numerous near the summits, the massifs experience cloudy weather with thunderstorms at the end of the afternoon, while the weather remains sunny in the plains. The mountains tend to be sunnier than the plains in winter, and vice versa in summer.

The topographical setting of the region also creates specific climatic and meteorological phenomena. In particular, the reliefs create the conditions for the development of relatively violent winds, by acceleration of the maritime, oceanic or northern winds due to the channeling effect (Venturi effect) of the surrounding massifs (Massif Central and Pyrenees in the Lauragais threshold, Massif center and the Alps via the Rhone corridor to the northeast). Thus, three corridor winds regularly mark the territories of the region: coming from Lauragais, the autan wind blows from the southeast / south-southeast in the eastern part of the Aquitaine Basin and the southwest of the Massif Central , while the tramontane comes in the opposite direction from the north-northwest towards the Languedoc coast29,30. The mistral comes from the north – north-east through the Rhône valley, and mainly affects the eastern part of the Languedoc plain and the south-east of the Massif Central. These winds, generally powerful, dry the air, clear the sky and, in winter in the Mediterranean climate, can cause more frequent cold episodes than in protected regions such as the Côte d'Azur.

The meeting of cold oceanic air with warm and humid air carried by winds coming from the Gulf of Lion (called "maritime entries"), and the accumulation of the cloud masses thus formed on the reliefs of the south of the Massif Central (mainly the Cévennes), cause violent storm phenomena. Called "Cévennes episodes", they mainly affect Gard, Hérault and Lozère (an identical phenomenon existing in Aude with the Montagne Noire), mainly in autumn. Months of precipitation can then fall in a few days, causing the swelling of coastal rivers (called Cévennes rivers) and flooding in the plains, then causing significant damage.

In the Pyrenean foothills and the Aquitaine basin, in autumn and winter, the south to southwest wind can bring dry and exceptionally hot weather for the season, due to the foehn effect due to the crossing of the Pyrenees by a mild air mass from Spain. This phenomenon can promote forest fires.



The low densities of mountain territories have allowed the maintenance of relatively large, preserved and diverse natural environments. Agricultural areas cover 48% of the regional area, supplemented by 43% of forests and 2% of other natural areas (and forest areas tend to grow due to the agricultural decline known in the diagonal of low densities or policies public). Thus, an inhabitant of Occitania has, on average, 1.5 times more natural and agricultural space than in the whole of metropolitan France, and the natural areas of ecological, faunal and floristic interest (ZNIEFF) cover 52% of the regional territory (compared to 24% for the whole of metropolitan France). Three forest areas in the region are in the process of being labeled "Forêt d'Exception" by the National Forestry Office (ONF) in 2018: those of Mont Aigoual between Gard and Lozère, Camporells in the Pyrénées-Orientales and Mount Valier in Ariège.

These natural regions serve as biotopes for specific biocenoses and which are the subject of preservation policies. In terms of number of species, Occitania (and especially the former Languedoc-Roussillon) is one of the three most important French regions in terms of biodiversity, along with Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur and Corsica. Four of the fourteen biosphere reserves recognized by Unesco in France are located at least partially in the region: the Camargue (in the Gard), the Cévennes (in Lozère and in the Gard), the watershed of the Dordogne (in the Lot) and the Gorges du Gardon (in the Gard exclusively). Among the areas of endemism or sub-endemism are the mountainous massifs of the Pyrenees (for example, the desman of the Pyrenees or the euprocte of the Pyrenees), the Cévennes, the Causses and the Montagne Noire in the south of the Massif central (especially plant species such as the Ophrys of Aveyron, molluscs or insects), the Clape massif in the Aude, the Alaric mountain in the Corbières or the Albères, but also the coastal rivers of the coastal plain (Chabot du Lez, Chabot de l'Hérault and Minnow of Septimanie) or the Pyrenean mountain streams. Several national action plans for the reintroduction or restoration of vulnerable or extinct species concerned the Occitanie region, starting with the reintroduction of the bear in the Pyrenees carried out in 1996-1997 and 2006 in Haute-Garonne and in the Hautes-Pyrenees.

Another emblematic animal in the region, but causing strong tensions with the populations living from livestock which had led to its gradual extermination and its disappearance from French territory in the 1940s, the gray wolf reappeared in the Alps in the 1990s and in the massifs of Occitanie in a attested manner in the years 2000 and 2010. In 2016-2017, seven zones of permanent presence (ZPP) of the wolf were attested in the region, including four in the south of the Massif Central (Aubrac as well as as the Grands Causses and Mont Lozère between Aveyron and Lozère, the Caroux in the Hérault, and the Tanargue as well as the Moure de la Gardille in Lozère but also in Ardèche and Haute-Loire) and in the eastern Pyrenees ( on the peaks of Carlit and Puig de Campcardós, Puigmal and Canigou, and Razès in the Pyrénées-Orientales and Aude).

The region has several protected areas, including the Pyrenees National Park (part of which is classified as a World Heritage site in the Pyrénées-Mont Perdu site), the Cévennes National Park and the Grands Causses Regional Natural Park (which are part of the of the Causses and Cévennes site classified as World Heritage), the Haut-Languedoc regional natural park, the Causses du Quercy regional natural park, the Narbonnaise regional natural park in the Mediterranean, the Catalan Pyrenees regional natural park, the regional natural park of the Ariège Pyrenees, the regional natural park of Aubrac, the marine natural park of the Gulf of Lion and the five sites classified with the Grand Site de France label of the Pont du Gard, Saint-Guilhem-le-Désert and Gorges Hérault, the Canigou massif, the Petite Camargue and the Cirque de Navacelles.

On the other hand, the lowest altitudes of the coastal plain and the Toulouse basin, historically the densest and most urbanized, concentrate almost all of the demographic and economic development experienced by the region since the 1960s (with the attractiveness of the two metropolises or mass tourism on the Mediterranean coast). This results in increasingly marked anthropogenic pressure, causing the artificialization of agricultural land or natural spaces (banks of waterways and ponds, coastal strips, scrubland, etc.) through urban sprawl, the segmentation of the space by buildings and traffic routes, soil depletion and pollution, for example by agricultural inputs, the erosion of dunes on the coast, among others.


Human geography

The geographical distribution of the population in Occitania is characterized by the macrocephaly of Toulouse and Montpellier, a densely populated and urbanized Mediterranean coastal plain, an agricultural Toulouse hinterland and mountainous massifs forming part of the "diagonal of low densities".

The urban framework of the regional space has essentially been established since the central Middle Ages, during which the urban development then experienced by the Christian West - and particularly the Mediterranean regions - made it possible to complete an initial network inherited from Antiquity.

Since then, while the urban hierarchy has changed little and urban growth has been very limited throughout the modern era and the Industrial Revolution, the economic and demographic dynamism known since the last third of the 20th century has greatly contributed to urban spaces. It has been accompanied by a phenomenon of metropolisation, with a densification of increasingly vast peri-urban or interstitial spaces along the axes around Toulouse and on the coast where “a quasi-urban continuum” is forming. Similarly, while this growth has generally benefited all cities, it has greatly contributed to widening the gaps between, on the one hand, the two main regional cities, Toulouse and Montpellier, and, on the other apart, the other agglomerations.

To the west, this framework includes a monocentric system made up of medium-sized towns (Montauban, Albi, Castres, Pamiers, Auch, Carcassonne, even Cahors and, outside the region, Agen) arranged in a star pattern around the Toulouse metropolis; to the east, large cities (especially Montpellier, but also Perpignan and Nîmes) and more modest urban centers (Béziers, Narbonne, Sète) which extend in a chain across the coastal plain from Avignon in the northeast to in Perpignan to the south-west. Apart from these two main networks, in a piedmont situation, a few agglomerations of relative importance complete this network (Alès in front of the Cévennes in the Gard, Rodez at the foot of the Grands Causses in the Aveyron or Tarbes in the Pyrenean foothills) .



The organization of the transport networks corresponds to the distribution of the population in the region, and offers fairly diversified modes of travel.


Air transport

The region has 10 airports, the most important of which are those of Toulouse-Blagnac (9,264,611 passengers in 2017) and Montpellier-Méditerranée (1,849,410 passengers in 2017) with many international connections to Europe and the Maghreb. The region also has many smaller capacity airports such as Nîmes-Garons, Perpignan-Rivesaltes, Carcassonne-Salvaza, and Béziers-Cap d'Agde, with many daily flights to the UK in particular. Tarbes-Lourdes-Pyrénées airport welcomes international tourist-religious charter traffic to Lourdes. Finally, the region also has airports of regional importance such as Brive-Souillac, Castres-Mazamet and Rodez-Marcillac.


Road transport

The region is crossed by the A9, A20, A54, A61, A62, A64, A66, A68, A75, A620, A621, A623, A624, A645, A680, A709 and A750 motorways.

Four class A European roads pass through the regional territory: the E9 (Orléans-Barcelona axis, passing through the region via the A20, A62, A61, A66 and N20), the E11 ( Vierzon-Béziers, formed in the region by the A75), the E15 (one of the "north-south" reference routes between Inverness in Scotland to Algeciras in Andalusia, passing in particular through London, Paris, Lyon and Barcelona, its route in the region corresponds exclusively to the A9), the E72 (Bordeaux-Toulouse via the A62), the E80 ("east-west" reference road between Lisbon and the Turkey-Iran border passing between others, via Vitoria-Gasteiz, Toulouse, Montpellier, Nice, Rome, Dubrovnik, Sofia and Istanbul, in the Occitanie region it follows the route of the A64, A620, A61, A9 and A54) .

The organization of the road network is twofold. First of all, it is structured as a star around Toulouse in the western part of the region, the most important axis being the "Autoroute des Deux Mers" linking Bordeaux to Narbonne via the regional capital, but also Montauban to the northwest and Carcassonne to the southeast, consisting of the A62 and A61, the junction between the latter two forming the eastern half of the Toulouse ring road. The other important routes of this old "Midi-Pyrenean" network, which radiate from this Deux Mers motorway or the A620 (former "western ring road" and current western and southern portions of the Toulouse ring road) are the A64 "La Pyrénéenne" towards Tarbes in the south-west and beyond Pau and Bayonne as well as the A645 "slipway of the Val d'Aran" towards Spain, the A66 "L'Ariégeoise" and the RN20 towards Pamiers and Foix to the south, the A68 "Autoroute du Pastel" (doubled by the A680 being extended to Castres) and the RN88 towards Albi and Rodez to the northeast and beyond to Lyon, the A20 "L'Occitane" from Montauban to Cahors to the north and beyond to Vierzon, the A621 "Fil d'Ariane" to Blagnac airport to the north-west, the A624 and the RN124 to Auch to the west and beyond Mont-de-Marsan. The convergence of all these radial motorways as well as the importance of commuting in the Toulouse urban area make the Toulouse ring road the busiest road axis in Occitanie, with, in 2016 and on average, more than 93,000 vehicles /d counted on all the permanent counting stations of this ring road (figure amounting to more than 130,000 and up to 140,000 vehicles/d on the south-west portions, and more than 120,000 in the north-west and north -East).

The network is on the other hand more linear on the Mediterranean coastal plain, organized from the A9 "La Languedocienne - La Catalane" (doubled by the A709 for the service of the agglomeration of Montpellier and completed from Nîmes towards Arles and Salon-de-Provence to the east by the A54) and the main railway lines which practically follow the route of the ancient Voie Domitienne. The fact that it serves several major cities (Nîmes, Perpignan and above all Montpellier, but also, beyond the eastern border of the region, Avignon) and a very busy tourist coast in the summer (with the seaside resorts of the mission Racine), while being part of a European axis linking together several European and even world cities (Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Barcelona) and generating significant commercial flows, make the A9 one of the busiest motorways (and one of the most congested) in France. It is still, outside the ring road, the most used road axis in the region in 2016, especially between Montpellier and Nîmes (around 90,000 vehicles/day on average for all the permanent stations in this section, up to 119,500 vehicles /d in Montpellier East). Although the intensity of this traffic is gradually decreasing between Montpellier and the Franco-Spanish border (32,600 vehicles/day at Perthus on average in 2016), it is mainly personal vehicles that use this section less, while the number of heavy goods is still very important there (representing between 20% and 30% of traffic).

Finally, a penetrating road linking this Mediterranean coastal axis to the Massif Central was gradually developed between 1989 and 2014: the A75 "La Méridienne" from Béziers to the western part of Lozère and beyond to Clermont- Ferrand to the north, symbolized by the Millau viaduct (only paid section) and linked to Montpellier by the A750 “L'Héraultaise”.

The Franco-Spanish border is crossed in the mountains by the Aragnouet-Bielsa tunnel, and passes such as the Col d'Ares or the Col du Perthus.


Rail transport

The organization of this network takes up the characteristics of the road network. It is thus starred from the Toulouse-Matabiau station in the former Midi-Pyrénées, with the main axis being the cross between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean: the line from Bordeaux-Saint-Jean to Sète-Ville. On the other hand, it is more linear in the former Languedoc-Roussillon, with the axis serving the main cities of the coastal plain as its backbone and consisting successively of the line from Tarascon to Sète-Ville, from the end of the Bordeaux line -Saint-Jean to Sète-Ville between Sète and Narbonne and the line from Narbonne to Port-Bou to the border. These main lines are connected to the national and international network, and are used by the Regional Express Transport (TER), Intercités and Intercités de nuit, TGV and Alta Velocidad Española (AVE) trains, as well as trains freight.

The most important stations in the region are all located on one of these two axes, namely those of Toulouse-Matabiau, with approximately 10 million passengers in 2015, Montpellier-Saint-Roch, with 8 million passengers same year, from Nîmes, 3.8 million, from Perpignan, 1.6 million, from Narbonne, 1.4 million, from Béziers, 1.3 million, from Montauban-Ville-Bourbon, 1.1 million, from Sète, 1 million, and from Carcassonne, 800,000.

The small lines, almost exclusively served by TER, connect these stations to the rural hinterland and the mountainous regions of the Massif Central and the Pyrenees, with for example: from Toulouse, the line from Saint-Agne to Auch (from the Toulouse-Saint-Agne station to the west and Auch), the line from Toulouse to Bayonne (from Matabiau to the south-west, Tarbes and Lourdes, then Pau and finally Bayonne), the Transpyrénéen Oriental (from Portet station -Saint-Simon in the suburbs of Toulouse to the south, Pamiers, Foix and finally the stations of Latour-de-Carol - Enveitg, where it connects with the Cerdagne line also known as the "yellow train" which joins Villefranche - Vernet -les-Bains and beyond the line descending to Perpignan) and the line from Brive-la-Gaillarde to Toulouse (from Matabiau towards the northeast, passing through Saint-Sulpice from where a branch to Castres starts and Mazamet, via Gaillac then via Figeac, which both allow the stations of Albi-Ville, Albi-Madeleine and Rodez to be connected via a bypass); from Montauban-Ville-Bourbon, the Orléans - Limoges - Montauban line departing from Paris-Austerlitz station (towards the northeast, it passes through Cahors station); from Carcassonne, the line from Carcassonne to Rivesaltes (towards the south, single track, it is no longer served by TER trains until Quillan via Limoux, certain portions upstream and up to Rivesaltes can still be used for the transport of minerals or by the Cathar country and Fenouillèdes train, a tourist train); from Béziers, the Causses line (towards the north, it serves Bédarieux, Millau, Sévérac-le-Château and the western part of Lozère with Marvejols and Saint-Chély-d'Apcher, before continuing to Neussargues in the Cantal); from Nîmes, the line from Saint-Germain-des-Fossés to Nîmes (on which the Le Cévenol train runs, from Nîmes station to the northwest, which serves Alès, the Cévennes at Génolhac, the eastern part of Lozère with La Bastide - Saint-Laurent-les-Bains then Langogne, and beyond to Clermont-Ferrand) and the line from Saint-Césaire to Grau-du-Roi (from Saint-Césaire station on a single track to the south-west, serving the Petite Camargue to the sea with Aigues-Mortes and Grau-du-Roi, very busy in summer).

The Occitanie region manages the TER Occitanie network, inherited from the two TER networks of the former Midi-Pyrénées and Languedoc-Roussillon regions: the TER Midi-Pyrénées representing, in 2010, 356 train trips and 80 coach trips per day weekdays, and the TER Languedoc-Roussillon, with, in the same year, 236 train runs and 53 coach runs per day on a full weekday. In 2016, traffic on this network was 21 million passengers on the 543 trains of the 20 rail lines and 43 lines by coach of the network, traveling on a rail network of 2,514 km and between 274 stations and stopping points. . The number of travelers per daily average is around 56,000, which is equivalent to 3.66 trips per inhabitant per year.

In 2016, for rail transport, the annual budget of the Occitanie region amounted to 484 million euros. Between the regionalization of the TER and 2016, Occitanie or its two predecessors invested around 2 billion euros for rail transport. Between 2002 and 2016, the region financed 153 new trains, fitted out 65 interchange hubs, and refurbished 130 regional stations as well as 600 kilometers of regional railway lines. Going from 13.1 million annual travelers in 2002 to 20.8 million in 2014, passenger traffic has increased by 60%. In September 2018, the TER network merged with that of coaches, school transport and regional on-demand transport to form the Intermodal Lines of Occitanie (LiO).

The region is crossed by three high-speed lines (LGV), crossing part of the coastal plain and forming part of a European radial axis going from Paris to Madrid: the LGV Méditerranée (put into service in 2001, it serves the station from Nîmes and the future TGV station of Nîmes - Manduel - Redessan from the Valence TGV station and, beyond, by the LGV Rhône-Alpes and Sud-Est, from Paris-Gare-de-Lyon via the Gare de Lyon -Part-Dieu, or from Marseille-Saint-Charles station), the Nîmes – Montpellier bypass (which extends the previous one since 2017 for freight and from 2018 for passengers to the new Montpellier-Sud station -de-France) and the LGV Perpignan - Figueras (which links, since a progressive opening to traffic between 2010 and 2013, the station of Perpignan to that of Figueras-Vilafant on the other side of the border with Spain and, beyond, to the stations of Girona, Barcelona-Sants then the future Barcelona-Sagrera TAV, Zaragoza-Delicias and finally Madrid-Atocha by the Spanish LGV Madrid-Barcelona-Figueras). Several lines are planned or under construction: the new Montpellier - Perpignan line (which should allow a complete high-speed service from Paris or Marseille to Madrid via Barcelona, TGVs currently running at reduced speed on the classic line , congested, serving the stations of Béziers and Narbonne) and the LGV Bordeaux - Toulouse (one of the constituent elements of the major South-West railway project or GPSO, this line should make it possible to connect Toulouse-Matabiau station to that of Paris-Montparnasse via the Montauban-Ville-Bourbon station and by connecting, at the Bordeaux-Saint-Jean station, to the LGV Sud Europe Atlantique, the TGVs circulating while waiting at reduced speed by taking the line classic from Bordeaux-Saint-Jean to Sète-Ville). A new Toulouse - Narbonne line has also been considered (but the launch of the public debate, scheduled for 2012, never took place), which would make it possible to complete the cross-sectional link between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea but also to connect the capital to Barcelona, Marseille, Lyon and Paris-Gare-de-Lyon at high speed. The international LGVs to Spain are operated by the Renfe-SNCF in Cooperation rail partnership, which uses French TGVs or Spanish AVEs therefore traveling at high speed from Paris or Marseille to Montpellier then from Perpignan to Madrid, and at reduced speed from Toulouse or Montpellier to Perpignan via Narbonne.


River transport

The region is crossed by the Canal des Deux-Mers which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and consists of the Canal Lateral à la Garonne and the Canal du Midi, as well as by the Canal du Rhône à Sète between the Etang de Thau (and therefore the Mediterranean Sea) and the Rhône. However, since the 1970s and 1980s, these river axes no longer accommodate any transport of goods, which were their initial vocation. Instead, significant river tourism has developed.

The only river axis to retain commercial and industrial importance is the Rhône at the eastern limit of the region, with the multimodal hub of Beaucaire (the only Rhone port located in the region, but mainly intended for yachting) - Tarascon (industrial and secondary river) - Arles (main industrial and port site in this area).


Maritime transport

With its facade open to the Mediterranean Sea, commercial ports have developed such as the port of Sète (the first in the region in tonnes of goods, the second on the French Mediterranean coast, far behind the large maritime port of Marseille and the 11th in France), the port of Port-la-Nouvelle (the second in the region, the third on the French Mediterranean coast but the first for the export of cereals or the second for the import of petroleum products, and the 21st in France ) or the port of Port-Vendres (the third in the region, the eighth in French Mediterranean waters and the 35th in France for all the goods traded, but it is above all the second fruit port in the whole of the Mediterranean) . But these three ports, all beneficiaries of the “Ports Sud de France” label, concentrate only a small part of the maritime traffic of goods in French Mediterranean waters, the bulk of it being provided by Marseille. The Occitanie region is, with Brittany, the only metropolitan region with access to the sea to have no major seaport in 2018. The two main commercial ports, those of Sète and Port-la-Nouvelle, are properties of the region.

For passenger transport, only the ports of Sète and, to a lesser extent, Port-Vendres stand out, while being very far from the major platforms of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (Marseille, Nice, Toulon) and from Corsica (Bastia and Ajaccio).


Urban transport

In Occitania, only the agglomeration of Toulouse has a metro network. The urban areas of Toulouse and Montpellier are also the only two to have a tram network.

However, all major cities have a bus network. This is the case for the largest main cities such as Toulouse or Montpellier, but also for medium-sized cities such as Tarbes, Montauban, Albi, Rodez, Carcassonne or even Sète. The departments also have interurban lines. The cities of Nîmes and Perpignan also have a high-level service bus network (BHNS).

Four cities have a self-service bicycle system: Toulouse (VélôToulouse), Montpellier (Vélomagg'), Perpignan (BIP!) and Tarbes (Vél'en ville).


Occitanie intermodal lines

From September 2018, the Occitanie region becomes the organizing authority for all interurban and school transport in the region, in addition to TER. This leads to the transformation of the departmental interurban networks into a single regional network, called Lignes intermodales d'Occitanie. In 2018, this network will consist of approximately 360 regular lines, as well as thousands of school lines, on-demand transport services, and the currently existing TERs. This new network is accompanied by the creation of two lines in the department of Tarn-et-Garonne, the only department where these did not exist. Despite this unique network, in 2020, it will still be difficult to travel between different departments, without taking regional TER coaches at least, the standardization of the network taking time. In addition, for the moment, there is still no single tariff range: each network will keep its own for the 2020-2021 school year.


People and society

With 5,933,185 inhabitants on January 1, 2019, Occitanie is the fifth most populated French region. It is also one of the most dynamic demographically, in particular thanks to a very positive migratory balance. But, with 79 inhabitants/km2, it is also the sixth least dense region, and the fourth in mainland France (excluding Corsica). The population is very unevenly distributed there, with two poles concentrating nearly three-fifths of the inhabitants: the urban area of Toulouse (nearly a quarter), which forms a monocentric system to the west, and the Languedoc coastal plain (more than a third ), very urbanized, polycentric and included in the Mediterranean Arc, to the east. Between the two, the rest of the Aquitaine Basin as well as the reliefs of the Pyrenees and the Massif Central constitute for their part the south-western limit of the “Diagonal of the void”.



The Occitanie region has been one of the regions with the strongest demographic growth in metropolitan France for many years. During the period 2007-2012, the increase in population averaged 0.9% per year, which places it second in mainland France after the territorial community of Corsica (1.1%). This dynamism is mainly driven by the large conurbations (1.4% annual growth in the urban area of Toulouse, 1.3 in that of Montpellier and 1.1 for those of Perpignan or Béziers), by the whole coast (1.3% in Hérault which is one of the two most attractive departments, 1% in Gard, 0.9% in Aude and Pyrénées-Orientales) and by Tarn-et-Garonne (1.3%). Conversely, the least dynamic departments are those located in the heart of the Pyrenees (average annual growth was zero between 2007 and 2012 in the Hautes-Pyrénées) and the Massif Central (also 0% in Lozère, 0.1% in Aveyron).

Demographic growth is explained above all by the strong attractiveness of these territories (heliotropism), since the apparent migratory balance was, between 2007 and 2012, a surplus of 40,400 people, then carrying four-fifths of the population growth and making the region the first land of reception of Metropolis in absolute value. In relation to the population, this migratory balance represents an average annual growth of +0.7%, the second in mainland France, again behind Corsica (+1.1%). On the other hand, the rate of population change due to the natural balance is relatively low (+0.2% per year between 2007 and 2012), i.e. twice less than the metropolitan average and a level comparable to that of several other major regions. (Brittany, Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Centre-Val de Loire). However, the ratio between natural balance and migratory balance is more balanced in the two regional cities, the two being equal at + 0.7% per year between 2007 and 2012 in the urban area of Toulouse and respectively at + 0 .6% and + 0.7% in Montpellier.

On the other hand, the natural balance is particularly weak, even negative, in the more modest agglomerations (+ 0.2% per year in the urban area of Perpignan, + 0.1% in that of Béziers, - 0.1% in the urban unit of Alès) and in all the departments of the Pyrenees (0% in the Pyrénées-Orientales, -0.2% in the Ariège and the Hautes-Pyrénées), the rural Aquitaine basin (-0, 3% in Gers, 0% in Tarn) and the Massif Central (-0.3% in Lot, -0.2% in Aveyron and Lozère).

This low natural balance is strongly associated with the average age of the population, which is slightly higher than in the country as a whole: in fact, the under 20s represent only 23% of the regional population, compared to 24.4 % for the whole of metropolitan France, while people aged 65 or over make up almost a fifth of the inhabitants (19.7%), ie 2.5 points more than the average for Metropolitan France. Moreover, the proportion of very old people, over 80, was 6.5% in 2012, compared to 5.5% at metropolitan level. The same disparities observed for the natural balance are visible with regard to the distribution by age: indeed, the two urban areas of Toulouse and Montpellier, student towns and important technology parks on a national or even European scale, are younger and maintain or attract young workers by a more diversified job offer than in the rest of the region. Thus, in the urban area of Toulouse, the under 20s rose to 24.7% and the over 65s fell to 14.2% in 2012, and these figures were 23.9% for the under 20s. years and 15.5% for those over 65 in the urban area of Montpellier. On the other hand, there were 20% under 20 years old and 25.6% over 65 years old in the Lot, as well as 20.9% and 24.7% respectively in Aveyron, 20.9% and 24.4% in Gers, 20.9% and 23.9% in Hautes-Pyrénées, 21.4% and 23% in Ariège, 21.4% and 22.05% in Lozère, 22.7% and 22.8% in the Pyrénées-Orientales as well as 22.9% and 22.5% in the urban unit of Béziers.



It is therefore migratory flows, both internal to French territory and international, that drive the bulk of demographic growth. As a result, less than six out of ten inhabitants in 2011 were born in the future Occitanie region, compared to an average of more than two thirds of natives for the other regions. A large proportion of these non-natives come from other French regions, with relatively varied profiles and ages (students attracted by the Toulouse or Montpellier university centres, active in employment or not, especially from their thirties onwards with an even higher net migration high for people nearing the end of their career, mainly retirees). More specifically, in 2008, 3,183,471 inhabitants of the future region were born there, ie 58.7% of the total population (50.8% from Languedoc-Roussillon and 59.9 from Midi-Pyrénées). Among the 2,236,475 residents born outside this territory, more than two-thirds (1,519,265 people or 67.9%) came from another metropolitan region, especially Île-de-France (379,678 residents or 17%), the future neighboring regions of Nouvelle-Aquitaine (227,083 and 10.2%), Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (179,912 and 8%) and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (162,457 and 7.3%), as well as old industrial regions in the north such as the future Hauts-de-France (151,306 and 6.8%) or the Grand Est (135,169 and 6%). Added to this were 32,382 people from overseas territories (1.4%).

A significant proportion of these residents born outside the region's borders were born abroad. Also in 2008, there were 684,828 or 30.6% of natives living outside (and 12.6% of the regional population). About two-thirds of them are immigrants, as defined by INSEE and the former High Council for Integration, namely “a person born abroad and residing in France”. These therefore do not include repatriates from Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco (Pieds-noirs and Harkis), numerous in the former Languedoc-Roussillon (one of the two main settlement regions for these communities, with Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur), particularly in the major conurbations of Montpellier (in the district of La Paillade in the north or in the town of Lattes in its southern suburbs, for example, with 25,000 repatriated from Algeria settled between 1962 and 1963), Béziers, Sète, Perpignan, Narbonne or Toulouse. Pieds-noirs and Harkis (who were first grouped together in concentration camps such as that of Rivesaltes in the Pyrénées-Orientales or Saint-Maurice-l'Ardoise in the Gard) then largely contributed to the development of these urban centers which were still in the 1960s only small provincial towns that were not very dynamic. Nowadays, Pied-noir culture and ancestry is very strong in Occitania, and many political figures claim this affiliation (Pierre Cohen, former mayor of Toulouse, Jean-Marc Pujol, mayor of Perpignan, Robert Ménard, mayor of Béziers, Julien Sanchez, mayor of Beaucaire, Kléber Mesquida, deputy then president of the departmental council of Hérault, Louis Aliot, deputy of Pyrénées-Orientales, Ysabel Saiah, wife of Dominique Baudis, Bernard Soléra, mayor of Quint-Fonsegrives, Paul Quilès, Mayor of Cordes-sur-Ciel, Secretary of State Kader Arif, etc.), making the Pieds-noirs an essential electoral and economic lobby in Occitania.

In absolute value, the region is the fourth in mainland France in number of immigrants in 2012 (469,325 people), far behind Île-de-France and Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes but almost on a par with Provence- Alps-Cote d'Azur. On the other hand, in relative value and in relation to the regional population, the proportion of immigrants is lower than the metropolitan average (8.3% against 8.8%, but higher than the 6.7% in provincial France) and brings its place within the regions in fifth place (tied with the Grand Est and behind Corsica). The share of immigrants in the departmental population is highest in Pyrénées-Orientales (10%), Hérault (9.5%), Haute-Garonne (9.2%) and Gard (8.8%). ), and lowest in Lozère and Aveyron (4.5%).

The regional space has been, since Antiquity, a land of welcome for major international population movements. During the 20th century, various communities settled in the region. The Italians arrived at the turn of the century, working in the vineyards or for the Salins du Midi and causing violent reactions to their installation which marked the regional history, such as the massacre of Aigues-Mortes in August 1893. From the 1930s, the Spanish refugees from the Retirada after the war in Spain were first concentrated in camps with deplorable living conditions, hastily settled mainly on the beaches of the Roussillon coast, like those of Argelès. -sur-Mer or Barcarès, but also other departments, such as the Agde camp in Hérault. A large part of them will then settle in the Pyrénées-Orientales, more generally in all the coastal departments of the former Languedoc-Roussillon or in those of the Pyrenean border (Hautes-Pyrénées and Ariège), adding to a few communities formed at the beginning of the century by the migration of agricultural workers mainly from the region of Murcia (Mauguio being one of the main centers of this immigration in the region and more generally in France). These populations of Spanish origin have strongly marked the region demographically, economically and culturally, by maintaining specific practices (romerias, bullfights, flamenco, bullfights, etc.). The arrivals of Spaniards, like those of Italians, however gradually decreased from the end of the 1960s to become almost non-existent at the end of the 20th century. The Portuguese came from the 1960s (even if few of them settled in the region, compared to Île-de-France for example), as did the Algerians, many of whom settled in France after the War of Independence. Moroccans and nationals of sub-Saharan Africa or Asia have largely immigrated since the late 1970s and 1980s.

Thus, almost half of these immigrants living in the region (45.7%) come from another country of the European Union (mainly from the neighboring country, Spain, but also from Italy or Portugal), almost one-fifth (19%) from Morocco (mainly concentrated in Gard, Hérault and Tarn-et-Garonne) and one-tenth (11.4%) from Algeria (fairly large community in Haute-Garonne, especially in the Toulouse conurbation). These immigrant populations, and especially those of African origin, are mainly concentrated in certain districts of the urban centers of the large urban areas of the region, generally those where the number of social housing (in the form of large complexes) is important: Bagatelle , La Reynerie and Bellefontaine in the south-west receive 20% of immigrants from the municipality of Toulouse; La Paillade, Hauts-de-Massanne, Alco and Le Petit Bard, to the north-west of Montpellier, are the districts of this agglomeration with the highest proportions of immigrants (more than 15% in 1999); the same applies to the Haut-Vernet, Bas-Vernet and Moyen-Vernet districts to the north of Perpignan; for Mont-du-Plan in the center-east of Nîmes; for La Devèze south-east of Béziers. The immigrant populations originating from Spain, Italy or Portugal, as well as their descendants, although also very present in the large urban centers, are however more distributed in space than those originating from the African continent, and the percentage of of them living in a peri-urban or rural commune is more important.

An increasing number of people from Eastern Europe are arriving in this French region, especially from Romania, Bulgaria, Poland, Moldova and Ukraine.