Location of Lozère in France
|Departement||4 March 1790|
|o President of the Departmental Council||Sophie Pantel (PS)|
|o Total||5,166.9 km2 (1,995.0 sq mi)|
|o Density||15/km2 (38/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|ISO 3166 code||FR-48|
Lozère (French pronunciation: [l?z] ; Occitan: Losera [lu'ze]) is a department in the region of Occitanie in Southern France, located near the Massif Central. It is named after Mont Lozère. With a population of 76,422 in 2016, it is the least populous French department.
Lozère was created in 1790 during the French Revolution, when the whole of France was divided into departments, replacing the old provinces. Lozère was formed with part of the old province of Languedoc.
Les Sources and Hautes-Cèvennes were two other names proposed for this department but they were not accepted.
Pliny's Natural History praised the cheese of Lozère:
During the period 1764-67, the Beast of Gévaudan, a creature believed to be a wolf, terrorized the general area in the Margeride Mountains of the former province of Gévaudan (nearly identical with the modern Lozère department).
Lozère has an area of 5,166.9 km2 (1,995 sq mi). It is the northernmost department of the current Occitanie region and is surrounded by five departments belonging to two regions: Cantal, Haute-Loire and Ardèche departments of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, and Gard and Aveyron departments of the Occitanie region.
The geography of Lozère is complicated, covering four mountain ranges. In the north-west, the basalt plateau of Aubrac rises between 1,000 and 1,450 m (3,280 and 4,760 ft), with a cold humid climate influenced by the Atlantic. The north and north-east of the department contains the Margeride mountains, which are formed of granite, and have peaks between 1,000 and 1,550 m (3,280 and 5,090 ft). The climate here is also cold, but drier than in Aubrac, with less snow.
The Causses are a series of very dry limestone plateaus in the south-west, and the south-east contains the Cévennes, which include the highest point in the department, the granite Mont Lozère at 1,702 m (5,584 ft).
The main activities are cattle farming and tourism. There is barely any agricultural farming in Lozère due to poor soil quality. The hardy Aubrac is the most commonly farmed cattle breed here.
The region has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in France, which may be attributed to the enforced long-standing tradition whereby young people emigrate to cities such as Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier when they reach working age.
Lozère is a rural department, with relatively little land taken up by roads and buildings. Overall the land use is divided as follows:
Population development since 1801:
Lozère is the least populated French department. It has a population, in 2017, of 76,601, for a population density of 14.8 inhabitants/km2. The arrondissement of Mende, with 63,402 inhabitants, is by far the largest. The other arrondissement, Florac, has 13,199 inhabitants.
The only important town is Mende with 12,134 people living there in 2017. Other cities are Marvejols (4,722) and Saint-Chély-d'Apcher (4,164).
Tourist activities include caving and a variety of sports, such as skiing and kayaking. Lozère contains a part of the Cévennes National Park. Lozère is considered one of the best areas in France for trout fishing. Rivers such as the Lot, Tarn and Truyère are particularly noted for their trout populations.