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Alpes Maritimes

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ALPES MARITIMES, department of south-east France, formed in 186o out of the county of Nice, to which were added the districts of Grasse (formerly in the department of the Var) and of Mentone (purchased from the prince of Monaco). Pop. (1906) (1931) It is bounded north-east by Italy, south by the Mediterranean sea, and west by the depart ments of Var and Basses Alpes. Area, I,443sq.m. It is composed mainly of the valleys of the Var and its affluents, the Tinee and the Vesubie. Most of the department is mountainous, Mont Tinibras at the head of the Tinee valley reaching nearly 1 o,000f t. The Italian frontier here is peculiar. The centre of the Roja valley is French; the upper and lower parts are Italian because they formed part of the county of Ventimiglia; the central section, part of the county of Nice, alone became French in 186o. It is thus impossible to have an Italian railway from Cuneo by the Col de Tenda and down the Roja valley direct to Ventimiglia. From near Isola in the upper Tinee valley southwards the political frontier is not the main Alpine watershed; the reason (it is said) is that in 186o all the higher valleys of the Maritime Alps (on both sides of the watershed) were expressly excepted from the treaty of cession, in order that Victor Emmanuel II. might retain his right of chamois hunting in these parts. The department is divided into two arrondissements (Nice and Grasse), 28 cantons and 156 communes. It forms the bishopric of Nice (the first bishop certainly known is mentioned at the end of the 4th century), which till 1792 was in the ecclesiastical province of Embrun, then (1802) in that of Aix en Provence, next in that of Genoa (1814) and finally (186o) in that of Aix again. Its chief town is Nice. The broad-gauge railways in the department cover 56m., including the line along the coast, while there are also 82m. of narrow-gauge railways. The chief industries are the distilling of perfumes and manufacture of olive oil, of pottery and of tiles, besides a great commerce in cut flowers. To foreigners the department is best known for its winter resorts, Nice, Cannes, Mentone, Antibes and Beaulieu, while other important towns are Grasse and Puget Theniers.

nice, department and valley