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‘Ghost areas’: The places in France where no one lives

There is also a village in France that has only one resident and another just two, a new map shows

A photo of a rural part of France with cows in the field

A new map shows the areas of France without a single inhabitant per square kilometre Pic: cristina pietraperzia / Shutterstock

Villages and areas in France without a single inhabitant per square kilometre have been mapped, with the southeast and east of the country among the most empty.

The map has been compiled by Zeste de Savoir, a knowledge-sharing association, using 2017 data from the state statistics office Insee/Filosofi.

  • There are six villages that are entirely unoccupied, all of which are in the Meuse department in northeast France (Grand Est)
  • One village has one resident: Rochefourchat, Drôme
  • One village has two residents: La Bâtie-des-Fonds, Drôme
  • One village has three: Leménil-Mitry in Meurthe-et-Moselle.

Mountain areas are, unsurprisingly, also among the emptiest places in the country. These include the Alps, Pyrénées, Massif Central, Vosges and Jura. The Landes forest and forest areas of Corsica are also among the least-populated spaces.

The map also shows some coastal areas as uninhabited but the results are less accurate in these spaces due to the irregular, complicated edge of the coastline.

In rare cases, some French villages have been kept empty as a memorial of massacres and to commemorate inhabitants who died there. The most famous example is Oradour-sur-Glane (Haute-Vienne) where a Nazi SS division entered the village, separated the men from the women and children, and shot or burned alive nearly every inhabitant.

Read more: Last World War Two Oradour massacre survivor publishes book account

Overall, in 2022, France has nearly 68 million inhabitants and a population density of around 119 inhabitants per square kilometre, with a huge variation depending on the area.

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