the latter half of the 19th century, the industry both of cultivation and manufacture being concentrated in the northern departments of Aisne, Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Somme and Oise, the first named supplying nearly a quarter of the whole amount produced in France.
Flax and hemp showed a decreasing acreage from 1881 onwards. Flax is cultivated chiefly in the northern departments of Nord, Seine-Inférieure, Pas-de-Calais, Côtes-du-Nord, hemp in Sarthe, Morbihan and Maine-et-Loire.
Colza, grown chiefly in the lower basin of the Seine (Seine-Inférieure and Eure), is the most important of the oil-producing plants, all of which show a diminishing acreage. The three principal regions for the production of tobacco are the basin of the Garonne (Lot-et-Garonne, Dordogne, Lot and Girdonde), the basin of the Isère (Isère and Savoie) and the department of Pas-de-Calais. The state controls its cultivation, which is allowed only in a limited number of departments. Hops cover only about 7000 acres, being almost confined to the departments of Nord, Côte d’Or and Meurthe-et-Moselle.
Vineyards (see Wine).—The vine grows generally in France, except in the extreme north and in Normandy and Brittany. The great wine-producing regions are:
1. The country fringing the Mediterranean coast and including Hérault (240,822,000 gals. in 1905), and Aude (117,483,000 gals. in 1905), the most productive departments in France in this respect.
2. The department of Girdonde (95,559,000 gals. in 1905), whence come Médoc and the other wines for which Bordeaux is the market.
3. The lower valley of the Loire, including Touraine and Anjou, and the district of Saumur.
4. The valley of the Rhône.
5. The Burgundian region, including Côte d’Or and the valley of the Saône (Beaujolais, Mâconnais).
6. The Champagne.
7. The Charente region, the grapes of which furnish brandy, as do those of Armagnac (department of Gers).
The decennial averages for the years 1896 – 1905 were as follows:
Fruit.—Fruit-growing is general all over France, which, apart from bananas and pine-apples, produces in the open air all the ordinary species of fruit which its inhabitants consume. Some of these may be specially mentioned. The cider apple, which ranks first in importance, is produced in those districts where cider is the habitual drink, that is to say, chiefly in the region north-west of a line drawn from Paris to the mouth of the Loire. The average annual production of cider during the years 1896 to 1905 was 304,884,000 gallons. Dessert apples and pears are grown there and in the country on both banks of the lower Loire, the valley of which abounds in orchards wherein many varieties of fruit flourish and in nursery-gardens. The hilly regions of Limousin, Périgord and the Cévennes are the home of the chestnut, which in some places is still a staple food; walnuts grow on the lower levels of the central plateau and in lower Dauphiné and Provence, figs and almonds in Provence, oranges and citrons on the Mediterranean coast, apricots in central France, the olive in Provence and the lower valleys of the Rhône and Durance. Truffles are found under the oaks of Périgord, Comtat-Venaissin and lower Dauphiné. The mulberry grows in the valleys of the Rhône and its tributaries, the Isère, the Drôme, the Ardèche, the Gard and the Durance, and also along the coast of the Mediterranean. Silk-worm rearing, which is encouraged by state grants, is carried on in the valleys mentioned and on the Mediterranean coast east of Marseilles. The numbers of growers decreased from 139,000 in 1891 to 124,000 in 1905. The decrease in the annual average production of cocoons is shown in the preceding table.
Snails are reared in some parts of the country as an article of food, those of Burgundy being specially esteemed.
Stock-raising.—From this point of view the soil of France may be divided into four categories:
1. The rich pastoral regions where dairy-farming and the fattening of cattle are carried on with most success, viz. (a) Normandy, Perche, Cotentin and maritime Flanders, where horses are bred in great numbers; (b) the strip of coast between the Girdonde and the mouth of the Loire; (c) the Morvan including the Nivernais and the Charolais, from which the famous Charolais breed of oxen takes its name; (d) the central region of the central plateau including the districts of Cantal and Aubrac, the home of the famous beef-breeds of Salers and Aubrac. The famous pré-salé sheep are also reared in the Vendée and Cotentin.
2. The poorer grazing lands on the upper levels of the Alps, Pyrenees, Jura and Vosges, the Landes, the more outlying regions of the central plateau, southern Brittany, Sologne, Berry, Champagne-Pouilleuse, the Crau and the Camargue, these districts being given over for the most part to sheep-raising.
3. The plain of Toulouse, which with the rest of south-western France produces good draught oxen, the Parisian basin, the plains of the north to the east of the maritime region, the lower valley of the Rhône and the Bresse, where there is little or no natural pasturage, and forage is grown from seed.
4. West, west-central and eastern France outside these areas, where meadows are predominant and both dairying and fattening are general. Included therein are the dairying and horse-raising district of northern Brittany and the dairying regions of Jura and Savoy.
In the industrial regions of northern France cattle are stall-fed with the waste products of the beet-sugar factories, oil-works and distilleries. Swine, bred all over France, are more numerous in Brittany, Anjou (whence comes the well-known breed of Craon), Poitou, Burgundy, the west and north of the central plateau and Béarn. Upper Poitou and the zone of south-western France to the north of the Pyrenees are the chief regions for the breeding of mules. Asses are reared in Béarn, Corsica, Upper Poitou, the Limousin, Berry and other central regions. Goats are kept in the mountainous regions (Auvergne, Provence, Corsica). The best poultry come from the Bresse, the district of Houdan (Seine-et-Oise), the district of Le Mans and Crèvecœur (Calvados).
The prés naturels (meadows) and herbages (unmown pastures) of France, i.e. the grass-land of superior quality as distinguished from paturages et pacages, which signifies pasture of poorer quality, increased in area between 1895 and 1905 as is shown below:
The following table shows the number of live stock in the country at intervals of ten years since 1885.
Agricultural Organization.—In France the interests of agriculture are entrusted to a special ministry, comprising the following divisions: (1) forests, (2) breeding-studs (haras); (3) agriculture, a department which supervises agricultural instruction and the distribution of grants and premiums; (4) agricultural improvements, draining, irrigation, &c.; (5) an intelligence department which prepares statistics, issues information as to prices and markets, &c. The minister is assisted by a superior council of agriculture, the members of which, numbering a hundred, include senators, deputies and prominent agriculturists. The ministry employs inspectors, whose duty it is to visit the different parts of the country and to report on their respective position and wants. The reports which they furnish help to determine the distribution of the moneys dispensed by the state in the form of subventions to agricultural