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France > Centre

Centre is one of the 26 regions of France, located towards the northwest of the actual centre of the country, around the Loire Valley. Its capital is Orléans, although its largest city is Tours.

The main feature of Centre is the Loire Valley. It includes the rich, fertile valleys of the Loire River and its tributaries: Cher, Indre, Loiret, etc. Centre contains the famous châteaux of the Loire Valley, which attract many tourists to the region.

The name Centre was chosen by the French central government based purely on geography, as Centre is composed of too many historical provinces to use a historical name. However, Centre is not in the geographical centre of France, and the name has been criticized as being overly dull and nondescript.
It has been proposed to rename the region Val de Loire (i.e. "Valley of the Loire"), which would give more character to the name of the region. Val de Loire is a name associated with positive images of the Loire Valley, such as the chateaux, the gentle and refined lifestyle, wine, the mild and temperate climate. The name change has not yet been adopted, but the term is sometimes juxtaposed with the region's name, as in Centre - Val de Loire.

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Area: 39,151 sq. km
Admin HQ: Rennes
Population: 2,538,000 (2008 est.)



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