Why is the Paris basin a core region?

The Paris Basin
A core region of Europe.
A Core Economic Region of Europe
A distinct economic core region because of its
geology, soils, agricultural productivity, thriving
economy and city of Paris.
Many natural and human advantages for settlement
and industrial location. (Relief, climate, soils,
accessibility, population).
Over 20 million people live in the region.
A centre of in-migration.
Culturally mixed.
Largest manufacturing centre in France.
Well developed transport network.
Centre of government and decision making in
Sketch Map Question
 Draw
an outline map of a European region
– not Ireland – or a continental /
subcontinental region.
 Show and name the following on it:
 1 – any two physical features in the
 2 – any two urban centres in the region.
 (20 marks)
Physical Characteristics
 Relief
and soils
 Drainage
 Climate
Relief and Soils
Occupies nearly 25% of France.
480km from west to east. 320km from north to south.
A huge down-fold (syncline) in sedimentary rocks created over
400 million years ago. The biggest scarp is called the Falaise
de France.
Each rock type (clay, chalk, limestone, sand and gravel) has
produced different soils which have influenced the type of
farming across the basin.
The different farming areas are known as pays in French.
In the centre of the basin, very fertile limon soil lies on the
sands and gravels (North European Plain).
Limon soil – a fertile stoneless soil easily worked by
machinery; ideal for the growth of cereals.
Alluvium – deposited by rivers on their flood plains.
Clay soils – ‘heavier’ soils and suitable for dairy farming.
This central region is extremely productive and is known as the
Ile De France.
Most of the area is under 200m in height and is very suitable
to agriculture.
Well known for its cereal production and is often nicknamed the
Granary of France.
 Varied, fertile soils allow a wide range of farming activities.
rivers flow across the region.
 The
Seine and its tributaries (Yonne, Oise
and Marne) flow north-west through Paris and
enters the sea at Le Havre.
 The
River Somme flows across the north of
the Paris Basin.
 The
River Loire flows west across the
southern edge of the region.
Changes as you travel from west to east across the
West – maritime climate (sea influence) keeps
summers cool (16 deg) and winters mild (5 deg),
average rainfall of 800mm.
East of region – continental climate (no sea
influence) with hot summers (19 deg) and cold
winters (2 deg), less than 700mm of rainfall.
Between the two extremes of maritime and
continental climatic regions, there is a transitional
type climate.
The even distribution of rainfall and the long
growing season are great advantages for
Towns of the Paris
Primary Economic Activities.
 Agriculture
is influenced by factors such as:
Fertile soils
Mild climate
Low lying relief
main topics are:
Energy Production
Fertile limon soil and climate have allowed the production of
wheat, barley and maize cereal crops throughout the region.
Spring and early summer rainfall help crop growth and the long
hours of sunshine are ideal for ripening crops.
Close to the River Seine, alluvial soils also favour intensive
Farms are big (over 400 hectares), mechanised and highly
Large consumer market – over 21 million people.
Farm production in different farming areas (pays) of the
Paris Basin
 Different
farming regions have developed
based mainly on the soil types of the region.
 The Ile de France.
Low lying, flat region covered with fertile limon soil.
Large farms (over 400 hectares) that produce
Yields are the highest in France.
 Beauce
Limestone upland covered in limon soil. Large and
mechanised farms.
Main wheat producing region.
Sugar beet also grown.
Brie and Valois
In these 2 pays, clay soils occur.
This soil produces good pasture land.
Farmers here are dairy farmers, famous for cheese (Brie
cheese) and butter.
Being so close to the urban area of Paris, they also supply
fresh milk to the city.
The Champagne Region.
The chalk ridges are infertile, well drained soils. They have
a southerly aspect and are suitable for vines.
It is here around the town of Reims that the famous
champagne wine is produced.
The production of wine is a specialist type of farming
called viticulture.
Fertile Limon Soil
Sedimentary rocks
Hours of sunshine
Summer rainfall
= crops grow and ripen
Picardy & Artois:
Low lying flat
Limon soils
Sugar beet
Dairying in coastal
Brie and Valois:
Clay soils
Pasture land
Brie cheese
Milk/cream to city
Ile de France:
‘Granary of
Low lying centre
Limon soils
Supply of bread
Types of farm:
Intensive farming
Large farms (400Ha +)
High yields
(Wet area)
Cattle breeding
Low lying valleys
(Dry area)
Clay valleys
between chalk
Southerly aspect
Viticulture = wine
Energy Production
 High
energy consumption.
 Oil and gas are imported through the
port of Le Havre where oil refining and
petrochemical production form the
basis of the economy.
Oil and Natural Gas
France has small oil reserves at about 150 to 160
million barrels.
They are located in the Paris Basin and in the
Aquitaine region.
France is the 3rd greatest oil-consuming country in
Europe after Germany and Russia and 10th greatest
in the world.
It has to import 95% of its oil needs.
The Paris Basin does not contain any gas reserves.
Gas is brought by pipeline from gas wells in the
Aquitaine Basin to the south and from the
 Small
reserves existed in the south
of the region, but in 2004 coal
production was phased out
 France now imports its coal needs.
Nuclear Energy
 France
depends heavily on its nuclear
generating infrastructure for its electricity
 75% of French electricity is generated by
nuclear power and its nuclear generating
capacity has increased by about 10% over
the past decade.
 10 of its 37 power stations are located in
and around the Paris Basin.
Secondary Economic Activities
SRP’s (Why the Paris Basin is suitable for industry):
Two international airports
River Seine runs for 13km through the city
from Paris port to Le Havre port
Channel tunnel to London, UK.
Metro train system
SNCF rail lines (Société Nationale des Chemins
de fer français)
12 million in Paris City
21 million total in region
Agri raw materials: Variety of crops grown in region
Cereal crops, dairy, meat, wine etc
Food processing and bottling
SRP’s (Why the Paris Basin is suitable for industry):
20% of workforce employed in industry
Jewellery (Cartier)
Perfume (Yves St. Laurent)
Clothing (Chanel)
Car manufacturing (in Canal St. Denis: Citroen)
Academic printing and publishing (near
Sorbonne university)
Oil/Steel/iron refining (Canal St. Denis)
Tertiary Economic Activities.
Tertiary Economic Activities: Tourism
Tourists to the Paris Basin are attracted due to a number of reasons ranging from sport to culture,
history, art, architecture and a well known theme park.
Tourists interested in art are provided for with the world famous Louvre museum. This old
building with the modern glass pyramid is home to the ‘Mona Lisa’ by Da Vinci. Four miles
north the artists’ quarter is the location for the former studio of Salvidor Dali.
Architecture also draws many visitors to the area. The Sacre Coeur Cathedral on Montmarte
provides a view of the capital city. The Eiffel tower contains a restaurant and visitor viewing
area. The Notre Dame Cathedral has an interactive tour for the 800,000 visitors who come each
year. Out of the city the old walled town of Caen displays reminders of the medieval era.
Sport is another attraction. The city of Paris and France itself was home to the 1998 World Cup
(which France won) and the region includes the world famous Stade des France and Parc des
Princes stadia. The Tour de France always finished under the Arc de Triomphe at the end of the
Champs Elysees.
The Seine river is home to the daily open-top boat trips and night time diner cruises. This allows
tourists to see the length of Paris with areas like the Military museum, La Gare station/Museum
and the palaces en route. Finally, the rich agricultural practices of the region draw thousands of
visitors to the world famous towns of Reims and Epernay for the annual wine tasting festivals.
Students should note that other tourist attractions not mentioned
•Paris Fashion week
•Shopping the famous Boulevard Hausmann area
•Disneyland Paris in Marne la Vallee
•The ‘inside out’ museum of modern art the George Pompideau
•The Normady landing sites in memorial to WW2
Transport in the Paris Basin is a key tertiary activity due to a number of
The region has two international airports linking Paris to many countries
around the world. Charles de Gaulle airport north of Paris and Orly airport
which lies south of the capital. Combining with the airports is the Metro
system which enables tourists to freely access all areas of Paris city and it
directly links to the SNCF rail system in France. This allows over 20 million
visitors to visit sites of interest in Paris city each year and attend festivals
held in the region. The river Seine travels for 13km through the city. This
river is used for open top cruises and night time diner cruises each day.
Human Processes.

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