(a) Normandy, Perche, Cotentin and maritime Flanders, where horses are bred in great numbers; (b) the strip of coast between the Gironde and the mouth of the Loire; (c) the Morvan including the Nivernais and the Charolais, from which the famous Charolais breed of oxen takes its name; (d) the central region of the central plateau including the districts of Cantal and Aubrac, the home of the famous beef-breeds of Salers and Aubrac.1 The famous pre-sal sheep are also reared in the Vende and Cotentin.
The Perche in the southwest and the Thimerais in the north-west are districts of hills and valleys, woods, lakes and streams. The region of the east and south is a level and uniform expanse, consisting for the most part of the riverless but fertile plain of Beauce, sometimes called the "granary of France."
Wine is not extensively produced, nor is it of the best quality; but in some parts, especially in the Perche, there is an abundant supply of apples, from which cider is made as the common drink of the inhabitants.
The extensive meadows supply pasturage for a large number of cattle and sheep, and the horses raised in the Perche have a wide reputation as draught animals.
Until the king came of age in 1171 the government was controlled first by the chancellor Stephen of Perche, cousin of Marguerite (1166-1168), and then by Walter Ophamil, archbishop of Palermo, and Matthew d'Ajello, the vice-chancellor.
At Lincoln, on the 20th of May 1217, the marshal completely defeated an Anglo-French army commanded by the count of Perche and the earls of Winchester and Hereford.
Not only is there a total lack of those passes, so common in the Alps, which lead across the great mountain chains at a far lower level than that of the neighbouring peaks, but between the two extremities of the range, where the principal highroads and the only railways run between France and Spain, there are only two passes practicable for carriages - the Col de la Perche, between the valley of the Tet and the valley of the Segre, and the Col de Somport or Pot de Canfranc, on the old Roman road from Saragossa to Oloron.
PERCHE, a region of northern France extending over the departments of Orne, Eure, Eure-et-Loir and Sarthe.
Stock-raising and dairy-farming are flourishing in the Perche, which is famous for the production of a breed of large and powerful horses.
In the middle ages the Perche constituted a countship of which Corbon, Mortagne and Nogent-le-Rotrou were successively the capitals.