A moor is an area of land where only certain wild plants (heather or broom for instance) will grow.

In everyday language, when we speak about moorlands, we conjure up a mental image of scrubland moors covered with bushy plants .This is a term more aptly applied  to  “la garrigue” or “le maquis” which look more like this :


Which is surprising when you happen to know something about Les Landes area in France which looks more like this :

Vacances dans les Landes

Or this :

Camping landes

Therefore we may wonder why there is such difference between the word “ Landes “ (moors) and the reality of the actual landscape of Les Landes which, may we remind you, has the largest forest of France.

In reality, Les Landes  was created during the French Revolution on a territory that consisted, at the time, mainly of moorlands suitable for sheepgrazing.

It was only during the second half of the 19th century that people began to plant pine trees, more pine trees, and yet still more pine trees – and for two very good reasons:

1.To drain the marshes;

2. To develope pine tree afforestation , for the commercial value of the timber and resin.

In 2006, the Landes Regional Council suggested  changing the name « Landes » for « landes de Gascogne », but Les Landes is still Les Landes, even though planted with pine trees everywhere.

Isn’t it amazing ?

photo credit: quinefoune13 via photopin cc

photo credit: Nomad Photography via photopin cc