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Loire-Atlantique (formerly Loire-Inférieure) is a department on the west coast of Francemarker named after the Loire Rivermarker and the Atlantic Oceanmarker.


Loire-Atlantique is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790. Originally, it was named Loire-Inférieure, but its name was changed in 1957 to Loire-Atlantique.

The area was originally part of Brittany, and contains what many people still consider to be Brittany's capital, Nantesmarker. This department was separated from Brittany in 1941 by the Vichy government. There is a popular campaign to have it reintegrated in Brittany.


Loire-Atlantique is part of the current region of Pays-de-la-Loiremarker and is surrounded by the department of Morbihanmarker, Ille-et-Vilainemarker, Maine-et-Loiremarker, and Vendéemarker, with the Atlantic on the west.


Eastern Brittany's autochthonous language is Gallo, a romance language related to French. . The number of Gallo language speakers have been in steady decline since the 20th century. The language is neither official nor taught in primary or secondary education. Breton language, a Celtic language, autochthonous to Western Brittany, was spoken in the western area of Loire-Atlantique (up to 1920 in Batz-sur-Mermarker) . This area (Guérandemarker, Le Croisicmarker, La Baulemarker...) has a rather Breton toponymy : for instance, Guérande originates from Breton Gwenn Rann (=white or pure place).

Folklore and musical traditions of Eastern Brittany are generally common to the ones in Western Brittany.


The département operates the Lila network of interurban buses, which link its villages, towns and cities. The urban areas of Nantesmarker and Saint-Nazairemarker operate their own urban transport networks, known as Tan and Stran respectively.

By rail, the regional trains and buses of the TER Pays de la Loire link major towns and cities of the Pays de la Loiremarker and adjoining regions, including those of the département. Nantes is on the TGV network, with high speed trains running to Parismarker by the LGV Atlantique in just over 2 hours.

Nantes Atlantique Airportmarker, located 8 km to the southwest of the city of Nantes, serves the département and surrounding areas. It is the biggest airport in northwestern France, linking with several French and European cities, as well as Montrealmarker in Canada. It is currently planned that this airport will be replaced by a new Aéroport du Grand Ouest, situated 30 km to the north-west of Nantes in the commune of Notre-Dame-des-Landesmarker. The €580 million project was approved in February 2008, with construction expected to start in 2012 and an opening date in 2015.

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