Romandie


The Suisse romande is a local name for the French-speaking districts of western Switzerland. The name Romandie (Romandy) is also used. The term "Suisse romand" is used to refer to Swiss French, the variety of French spoken in Switzerland. There are about 1.6 million French-speakers in Switzerland, about 20% of the total population.[1]

The word "romand/romande" indicates the Latin or Roman origin of the French language and the general orientation of the region to the French-speaking cultural sphere and to Roman Law. It is used in contrast to "Suisse allemande" (German Switzerland), "Suisse italienne" (Italian Switzerland), more commonly called "(le) Tessin" (Ticino) and Romansh (which is derived from Latin).

The Suisse romande is not a precisely defined area, but in general includes the Cantons of Fribourg, Geneva, Jura, Neuchâtel, western Valais, Vaud and the northern part of Berne (known as the Jura Bernois or the Bernese Jura). The city of Geneva constitutes the largest urban area of the region.

German-speaking Swiss refer to the Suisse romande as Welschland and to the French-speaking Swiss as Welsches. This word, related to Walloon, Vlach and Welsh, refers in German to a foreigner of Celtic or more precisely Gallo-Roman origin.

The cultural identity of the Suisse romande is supported by Télévision Suisse Romande, Radio Suisse Romande and the universities of Geneva (founded by Jean Calvin), Fribourg, Lausanne and Neuchâtel.

Historically, most of Suisse Romande has been strongly Protestant, especially Calvinist, with Geneva being one of the earliest and most important Calvinist centers. There are a few Roman Catholic French-speaking Swiss, mainly in Jura, Valais, and Fribourg.

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See also


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