Alpes-Maritimes — Department —
Coat of arms
Coordinates: Coordinates: Country France Region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Prefecture Nice Subprefectures Grasse Government – President of the General Council Éric Ciotti (UMP) Area1 – Total 4,299 km2 (1,659.9 sq mi) Population (2006) – Total 1,082,465 – Rank 18th – Density 251.8/km2 (652.1/sq mi) Time zone CET (UTC+1) – Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2) Department number 06 Arrondissements 2 Cantons 52 Communes 163 ^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2
Alpes Maritimae was created by Octavian as a Roman military district in 14 BC, and became a full Roman province in the middle of the 1st century with its capital first at Cemenelum (today Cimiez, a neighborhood in Nice) and subsequently at Embrun. At its greatest extent in AD 297 , the province reached north to Digne and Briançon.
A first French département of Alpes-Maritimes existed in the same area from 1793 to 1814. Its boundaries differed from those of the modern department, however. In 1793 Alpes-Maritimes included Monaco and San Remo, but not Grasse which was then part of the départment of Var.
The department was reconstituted in 1860 when the county of Nice was annexed to France. It included the county of Nice as well as the previously (at least nominally) independent towns of Menton and Roquebrune, and the arrondissement of Grasse in the department of Var.
In 1947, following the Treaty of Paris and a referendum in the affected areas, the department was enlarged by the addition of the communes of Tende and La Brigue, which had remained Italian after the 1860 annexation, as well as by other minor adjustments to the Franco-Italian border.
The department is surrounded by the French departments of Var, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Italy and the principality of Monaco to the east, and the Mediterranean to the south.
Rivers include the following:
In 2002 they were created 14 intercommunalities (Intercommunalité). 4 of them are metropolitan: 3 agglomeration communities (Pôle Azur Provence, Riviera Française and Sophia Antipolis) and 1 urban community (Nice-Côte d'Azur). The other 10 are Communauté de communes: Vallée de l'Estéron, Monts d'Azur, Pays des Paillons, Coteaux d'Azur, Vallées d'Azur, Tinée, Cians Var, Stations du Mercantour, Terres de Siagne and Vésubie Mercantour.
Below it is shown a list of most populated places of the department:
- Nice (348,721)
- Antibes (76,778)
- Cannes (71,790)
- Grasse (51,294)
- Cagnes-sur-Mer (49,551)
- Le Cannet (42,596)
- Vallauris (30,839)
- Saint-Laurent-du-Var (30,605)
- Menton (29,129)
- Mandelieu-la-Napoule (20,889)
- Mougins (20,250)
- Vence (19,659)
The economy is largely driven by tourism. Nice is second only to Paris in the number and size of its hotels. Because of the mild climate, it is a year-round tourist attraction.
Other notable industry includes the perfume industry in Grasse and high-tech industry around Sophia-Antipolis.
The inhabitants of the department are called Maralpins, but are usually referred as Azuréens (inhabitants of the Côte d'Azur)
When Nice became French in 1860, it was still a small town; the department had fewer than 200,000 inhabitants. However, the population grew quickly from 300,000 at the beginning of the 20th century to over a million. The population is aging because of the number of retirees who move to the coast.
The area is also known for its extremely large population of people of Italian descent. As much as 40% of the population of the Alpes-Maritimes list their ancestry as solely Italian, and about 80% can trace some of their ancestry to Italy.
The President of the General Council is Éric Ciotti of the Union for a Popular Movement. The UMP's majority on the general council is one of the largest majorities in any such institution in France.
Party seats • Union for a Popular Movement 38 Socialist Party 3 • Miscellaneous Right 3 French Communist Party 3 Miscellaneous Left 2 The Greens 1 Ecologist 1 • New Centre 1
Tourism in the department centers on the Riviera, known as the Côte d'Azur, known for its beaches and luxury hotels.
The area inland from the busy Côte d'Azur is an excellent base for many outdoor sports: cycling, mountain biking, skiing, walking, rock climbing, canyoning, canoeing, rafting, fishing, horse riding, forests of adventure, caving and the area has the first ever under ground via ferrata. The area has internationally renowned paragliding and hang gliding flying sites – Col-de-Bleyne, Gourdon, Gréolières and Lachens.
- Communes of the Alpes-Maritimes department
- Cantons of the Alpes-Maritimes department
- Arrondissements of the Alpes-Maritimes department
- Alpes-Maritimes at the Open Directory Project
- (French) Prefecture website
- (French) General council website
- (French) French Riviera directory
- (English) Musical traditions in the Alpes-Maritimes department
- (English) About.com
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