Landes (department)


July 5, 2022

The Landes (/lɑ̃d/; in Occitan: Las Lanas /ləs 'lanes/) is a department in the South-West of France, geographically belonging to the "Atlantic Midi". Administratively attached to the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region, it is divided into two arrondissements and bears the number 40 in the French departmental numbering. Its prefecture is Mont-de-Marsan.


The department of Landes was created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790 in application of the law of December 22, 1789, from part of the province of Guyenne and Gascony. More specifically, various territorial entities inherited from the Ancien Régime were then brought together, which gives this administrative territory a certain heterogeneity between the agricultural Chalosse, rather oriented towards Béarn, and the forest closer to the Gironde. At the dawn of contemporary times (1789-1850), the department was partly covered with poorly drained moors (about 60% to 70% of the area), moors which paradoxically gave it its name, whereas the southern fringe consisted of hillsides with rich, cultivated and wooded soils. This moor was maintained by burning in order to provide food for the large flocks of sheep (between 900,000 and 1 million animals in 1850), watched over by shepherds mounted on stilts; the use of the latter made it easier to cover long distances (15 to 20 kilometers per day), while monitoring the herd, due to the virtual absence of relief. Before the law relating to the sanitation and cultivation of the Landes de Gascogne of June 19, 1857, the agro-pastoral system was widespread: it drew its strength from the free use of the majority commons. Then the systematization of pine plantations (exploited for their resin and their wood), accompanied by the sale of communal areas during the second half of the 19th century, completely changed the landscape and the economy of two-thirds of the department, while contributing to his rapid enrichment. Until January 1, 2016, the Landes department was part of the former Aquitaine region.




The Landes department is part of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. It borders the departments of Gironde, Lot-et-Garonne, Gers and Pyrénées-Atlantiques, and is bathed by the Atlantic Ocean along a 106 km sandy coast lined with high dunes (portion of the Silver Coast). It is the second largest department in metropolitan France after the Gironde. It is mainly divided into two parts: the Landes de Gascogne and the Pays de l'Adour. The Landes forest is the largest forest in France. It covered approximately 67% of the department before the Klaus storm of January 2009, in its northern part, and also covers a large part of Gironde and Lot-et-Garonne (district of Nérac). The main species is maritime pine. But the Landes forest does not occupy the entire area. To the south of the department, beyond the Adour, is the Chalosse, a more hilly and verdant country, agricultural land shared between cattle and duck farms and the cultivation of corn, as well as the Tursan vineyard to the is. The extreme points of the department: Tarnos (South) Sanguinet (North) Tarnos (West) Arx (East) The city with the largest number of inhabitants is Mont-de-Marsan (30,629 inhabitants) and Baudignan (53 inhabitants) is the city with the fewest inhabitants. Landscapes of the Landes:

Territories and countries

Under the Ancien Régime, the territory of the current Landes was part of the province of Gascogne and included several natural countries, the shape, size, borders and names of which may have changed over time. At the time of the creation of the departments, a large homogeneous whole was divided in the way