Prefecture building of the Lozère department, in Mende

Prefecture building of the Lozère department, in Mende
Flag of Lozère
Coat of arms
Coat of arms

Location of Lozère in France
Coordinates: 44°20′N 3°36′E / 44.333°N 3.600°E / 44.333; 3.600Coordinates: 44°20′N 3°36′E / 44.333°N 3.600°E / 44.333; 3.600
Country France
Region Occitanie
Departement Since 4 March 1790
Prefecture Mende
Subprefecture Florac
  President of the General Council Sophie Pantel
  Total 5,166.9 km2 (1,995.0 sq mi)
Population (2013)[2]
  Total 76,607
  Rank 101st
  Density 15/km2 (38/sq mi)
Demonym(s) Lozériens
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
  Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code FR-48
Arrondissements 2
Cantons 13
Communes 176
Website http://lozere.fr/

Lozère (French pronunciation: [lɔzɛʁ]; Occitan: Losera) is a department in the region of Occitanie in southern France near the Massif Central. It is named after Mont Lozère.


Lozère was created in 1790 during the French Revolution, when the whole of France was divided into departments, replacing the old provinces. Lozère was formed with part of the old province of Languedoc.

Les Sources and Hautes-Cèvennes were two other names proposed for this department but they were not accepted.[3]

Pliny's Natural History praised the cheese of Lozère:

The kinds of cheese that are most esteemed at Rome, where the various good things of all nations are to be judged of by comparison, are those that come from the provinces of Nemausus, and more especially the area[N 1] there of Lesura and Gabalis (Lozère and Gévaudan); but its excellence is only very short-lived, and it must be eaten while it is fresh.[4]

During the period 1764-67, the Beast of Gévaudan was a creature that terrorized the general area of the former province of Gévaudan, with nearly identical borders to today's Lozère, in the Margeride Mountains.


Lozère has an area of 5,166.9 km2 (1,995 sq mi).[1] It is the northernmost department of the current Occitanie region and is surrounded by 5 departments belonging to 2 regions: Cantal, Haute-Loire and Ardèche departments of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region, and Gard and Aveyron departments of the Occitanie region.

The geography of Lozère is complicated, covering four mountain ranges. In the north-west, the basalt plateau of Aubrac rises between 1,000 and 1,450 m (3,280 and 4,760 ft), with a cold humid climate influenced by the Atlantic. The north and north-east of the department contains the Margeride mountains, which are formed of granite, and have peaks between 1,000 and 1,550 m (3,280 and 5,090 ft). The climate here is also cold, but dryer than in Aubrac, with less snow.

The Causses are a series of very dry limestone plateaus in the south-west, and the south-east contains the Cévennes, which include the highest point in the department, the granite Mont Lozère at 1,702 m (5,584 ft).

The department also contains numerous rivers, above and below ground, including the Tarn, whose source is on Mont Lozère, and which flows through the Gorges du Tarn in the Causses.

View over the cirque of Pougnadoire and Saint-Chély-du-Tarn village, in the Tarn Gorges


The département is managed by the General Council of Lozère in Mende. As of 2015, the President of the Council is Sophie Pantel. Lozère is part of the region of Occitanie.

Administrative divisions

There are 2 arrondissements, 13 cantons and 176 communes in Lozère.[5]

Arrondissement Capital Population[6]
481 Florac Florac 13,276   1,687   7.9 50
482 Mende Mende 63,613   3,479   18.3 135

The following is a list of the 13 cantons of the Lozère department (with their INSEE codes), following the French canton reorganisation which came into effect in March 2015:[7]

  1. Aumont-Aubrac (4801)
  2. La Canourgue (4802)
  3. Chirac (4803)
  4. Le Collet-de-Dèze (4804)
  5. Florac (4805)
  6. Grandrieu (4806)
  7. Langogne (4807)
  8. Marvejols (4808)
  9. Mende-1 (4809)
  10. Mende-2 (4810)
  11. Saint-Alban-sur-Limagnole (4811)
  12. Saint-Chély-d'Apcher (4812)
  13. Saint-Étienne-du-Valdonnez (4813)


The main activities are cattle farming and tourism. There is barely any agricultural farming in Lozère due to poor soil quality. The hardy Aubrac is the most commonly farmed cattle breed here.

The region has one of the lowest rates of unemployment in France, which may be attributed to the enforced long-standing tradition whereby young people emigrate to cities such as Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier when they reach working age.

Land use

Cereals field near Les Bondons, dominated by the hills called Puechs des Bondons.

Lozère is a rural department, with relatively little land taken up by roads and buildings. Overall the land use is divided as follows:


Lozère is the least populated French department. It has a population, in 2012, of 76,889,[2] for a population density of 14.9 inhabitants/km2. The arrondissement of Mende, with 63,613 inhabitants, is by far the largest. The other arrondissement, Florac, has 13,276 inhabitants.[6]

The only important city is Mende with 11,908 people living there in 2012. Other cities are Marvejols (4,950) and Saint-Chély-d'Apcher (4,187).[6]

The inhabitants of Lozère are known, in French, as Lozériens (women: Lozériennes).[8]


Tourist activities include caving and a variety of sports, such as skiing and kayaking. Lozère contains a part of the Cévennes National Park. Lozère is considered one of the best areas in France for trout fishing. Rivers such as the Lot, Tarn and Truyère are particularly noted for their trout populations.

See also


  1. Pliny's term is pagus, a Latin equivalent of pays.


  1. 1 2 "Département de La Lozère (48) - Résumé statistique". Publications et statistiques pour la France ou les régions (in French). Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques - INSEE. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  2. 1 2 "Populations légales 2013 des départements et des collectivités d'outre-mer" (in French). Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques - INSEE. Retrieved 24 April 2016.
  3. "Historique de la Lozère". Le SPLAF (in French). Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  4. Pliny, Naturalis Historia book XI, ch 97:200-202.
  5. "Département de La Lozère (48)" (in French). Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques - INSEE. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 "Populations lègales 2012 - 48-Lozère". Populations légales 2012 des départements et des collectivités d'outre-mer (in French). Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques - INSEE. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  7. "Décret n° 2014-245 du 25 février 2014 portant délimitation des cantons dans le département de la Lozère" (in French). Légifrance.gouv.fr. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  8. "Lozère (48)" (in French). habitants.fr. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
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