▪ Francetown, Maine-et-Loire département, Pays de la Loire région, western France. It lies along the Moine River, southeast of Nantes. First mentioned in the 11th century, the name Cholet was probably derived from the Latin cauletum (“cabbage”) for the local growing of cabbage. The town's older buildings were destroyed (1793–96) during the Wars of the Vendée. The town was slowly rebuilt, mainly in the 19th century; it is dominated by the Church of the Sacred Heart (1939), built in a modernized Romano-Byzantine style.The centre of a small traditional region (pays) called the Choletais, the town has long acted as a service centre for the surrounding agricultural region and has an important cattle market. From ancient times it has made linen products, supplemented since the 19th century by the production of cotton. Clothing (especially for children) and shoe industries developed from these, to which have been added electronics, plastics, machinery, furniture, food processing, and tire manufacturing as Cholet has grown as the head of a dynamic industrial region. Pop. (1999) 54,204; (2004 est.) 54,200.
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