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About two thirds of the Loire Valley is used for agriculture and forestry. Herbs, wine, fruit and vegetables are produced. Noble grape varieties grow on the limestone soils of Touraine, which are highly valued by wine connoisseurs. Other wine regions are the Berry in the east, the Anjou and the surroundings of Nantes. On more than 70,000 hectares, the winegrowers produce an average of 4 million hectolitres of wine. In the vicinity of Saumur, mushrooms are cultivated in artificial limestone caves.
There are four nuclear power plants in this region. They are in Belleville-sur-Loire, south of Briare, Dampierre near Gien, St-Laurent-des-Eaux near Blois and the oldest in France in Avoine near Chinon. Since the energy crisis of the 1970s, when Paris decided to make greater use of nuclear power, about 25% of its atomic energy comes from here.
Around Tours, Orléans and Bourges, mechanical engineering, textiles, glass and pharmaceuticals industries are concentrated. Bourges has also had a large arms industry for decades.
The Loire itself was once an important trade river, but is now hardly of any importance for inland navigation. Larger cargo ships can only be seen between Angers and the sea, where the Loire has not silted up so much. Freight transport has long since opted for road and rail.
Zwijnenburg, Henk / Loiredal
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