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The Landes, the second largest department in France, with the largest forest in Europe (214,000 km2) and the longest coastline of the country, is rich of many traditions.It is composed of very different areas : the High Lande, the Marensin, the Chalosse, the Born, the Tursan, the Maremne, the Armagnac. It is crossed by three of the four historical ways of the Pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela: Tours, Vézelay, Puy en Velay, and the coastal route.

From the prehistory

Precious archaeological remains such as the lady of Brassempouy attest to the occupation of the Landes since the Upper Palaeolithic. The 30 monoxyl dugouts out of Sanguinet Lake show an intense activity from the Bronze Age to the Middle Ages. Contrary to popular belief, there is evidence that the area had a natural afforestation of pines and that our ancestors already practiced the distillation of the resin to extract tar.



From Caesar to Napoleon

Although present in the rich Chalosse, the Romans hardly ventured into the depths of the Novempopulanis. Indeed the North High Lande was until Napoleon III a country of marshy or desert areas. This region was rehabilitated in the 19th century by major works including the planting of maritime pine and the fixing of dunes. This country, originally pastoral, where shepherds moved perched on stilts, turned to the industry of wood, and then to the growing maize. Ancestral custom, the « Course Landaise » is a local cultural specificity to which we owe the arenas which are enthroned in good place in many villages.



The modern time

From the great pilgrimage of Compostelle, there are many vestiges of places of worship and hospitality, some of which are inscribed on the World Heritage: the Sainte Quitterie church in Aire sur l'Adour, the Benedictine abbey of Mimizan , The abbey of Sorde and the abbey church of Saint-Sever. The treasures of the department (cultural heritage, local products, hydrotherapy, sea and nature) make tourism one of its major resources.