Chemical industries. – If iron pyrites (Saint-Bel, Rhône) and phosphates from North Africa and Picardy are added to the salt and potash, it will be seen that France possesses in its subsoil and in the colonies all the raw materials that facilitate development of chemical industries. The factories in Rouen, Marseille and Paris produce superphosphates. France ranks third, after the United States and Germany, for the production of sulfuric acid. The coal-mining region of the North, the district of Paris (Saint-Denis), that of Lyon (Saint-Fons) and that of Marseille (l’Estaque), produce large quantities of hydrochloric acid and azotic acid. The soda industry has taken a great development, especially in the Lorraine Saulnois and in the Mediterranean region (the salt pans of Giraud and Sorgues), where important soda carbonate factories thrive. The chemical industry complex employed 190,460 individuals in 1921; from 1914 to 1929 their importance in the general trade of France was more than tripled, having brought their imports from 300,000 to 870,000 tons. and their exports from 741,000 to 2,800,000 tons.
Fuels. – France needs 1,600,000 tons annually. of liquid fuels, of which 250,000 of naphtha; soon it will need about 2 million tons. Almost all of its oil is imported from the United States, Poland and Romania: French oil production (almost entirely from the Pechelbronn mines in Alsace) has been around 80,000 tons in the last three years. (81,000 in 1928, 83,000 in 1929, 82,000 in 1930).
Building materials. – France has a great variety of them; they feed important industries: marble from the Pyrenees (Saint-Béat), slates from Trélazé (Angers) and Ardenne, granite from Brittany, the Massif Central and the Vosges, sandstone from the Vosges, lava or stone from Volvic (Auvergne), stone from the Parisian region (Château-Landon, Chantilly, Saint-Leu), grindstone from Brie (La Ferté-sous-Jouarre). Among the industries that work the products of the quarries are notable that of cement and that of hydraulic lime: in 1928 the production of cement rose to 4,240,000 tons, that of lime to 2,253,000 tons; but the quantities produced, although constantly increasing from year to year, are not enough to cover internal consumption.
According to Extrareference, the events of the war and the postwar period serve to explain the great variations in French steel production, which are shown in the following table:
The regions of the East come first, and Alsace and Lorraine; followed by the North, the Center and the West.
The Eastern region is the great center of the French steel industry; and in most of its iron basins there are complete installations (blast furnaces, steel factories, rolling mills, etc.). It supplies metal raw materials to all other regions, and is the only one that produces more crude metal than is used by its own processing industries. The Northern region has a lot of fuel and little mineral. Its workshops, which produce 32% of French finished products (Fives-Lilla, Valenciennes), come out of machined parts, railway equipment, machines and weapons; Maubeuge and Jeumont manufacture electrical equipment. The western region is becoming more and more important: there are high furnaces in the Norman regions of Rouen and Caen, and large workshops have sprung up in the Lower Loire, in Trignac and Nantes. 16% of French finished products come out of the workshops of the Center (Le Creusot, Saint-Étienne and Alès); Le Creusot, heavily equipped, it can be said, manufactures all the products of metallurgy and mechanical construction: material for mines, industrial plants and artillery; metalworking machines; internal combustion engines; agricultural machinery; rolling stock. In addition to these large groups, the Ardenne group from Sedan to Givet specializes in the manufacture of nails, small parts and drawing; the Montbéliard Belfort group in mechanical construction, railway equipment, bicycles and cars, typewriters; the Jura group, in watchmaking (Besançon, Morez). There are shipyards in La Seyne and La Ciotat,
The automobile industry, which arose in France in the century. XIX, has taken an extraordinary development in the last 20 years. In 1914 the cars circulating in France were 107,355; cars were built in 48 factories employing 38,000 workers. The increase in production that took place after the war is due to the large increase in the number of motor vehicles circulating in the cities and on country roads: these in 1920 were 232,250; their number had more than tripled in 1925 (747,950) and exceeded one million in 1929 (1,292,390). In 1925 of the 747,950 motor vehicles circulating in France, this produced over 200,000; exported 54,675. The two major production centers are Paris and Lyon. In the Paris region there are factories with an area of 600 to 700,000 square meters. which employ 20 to 30,000 workers.
Trade. – During the Roman domination, with the exception of the oldest road, the Aurelia-Domiziana, which, along the Mediterranean coast, connected Italy with Spain, the general route was very close to the main directions of the rivers. Great roads connected Lyon, the metropolis of Gaul, to the Alps and Italy, the Pyrenees and Spain, or they were directed towards the mouths of the Garonne, the Charente, the Loire, the Seine, and towards the Rhine and Germany. In the century XVIII the royal roads, built by the Intendants, spread “a kind of spider’s web” all around Paris: the system, free from any consideration of geographical nature, was the artificial result of politics and history: “a type of centralization “.
If during the whole century. XVIII a network of interprovincial postal roads was built, in the century. XIX the number of local roads increased and in the last thirty years the road network increased by 40%. In 1930 there were over 66,000 km in France. of national roads, that is, built and maintained by the state; 9,000 km. of departmental roads, that is, belonging to the departments and to their charge; 560,000 km. of local streets, that is, belonging to municipalities, built and maintained with funds from municipal and departmental budgets and with subsidies from part of the state. Traffic on the roads decreased slightly when the railway network came into service, but soon returned to normal. Automobiles have given new life to French roads, which are among the best maintained in Europe. In tourism regions (Alps, Côte d’Azur, Pyrenees, Massif Central, Brittany, Vosges, Jura) the motorway is a complement to the railway; and in the other regions the car renders traffic increasingly greater services, as can be seen from the prospectus:
The total tonnage transported on French roads has therefore increased in twenty years from 22 to 23% and mechanical traction has gone from 3% to over 50%. The movement of passenger and freight transport on major roads is estimated at billions of tons per kilometer and is growing rapidly and continuously. In 1928 the daily average number of mechanically-driven vehicles circulating on national roads (excluding circulation within cities) was about 280, that of bicycles by 113, that of animal-driven vehicles by 55.