|Region||Pays de la Loire|
|Elevation||0–34 m (0–112 ft)|
|Land area1||15.31 km2 (5.91 sq mi)|
|- Density||169 /km2 (440 /sq mi)|
|INSEE/Postal code||44024/ 44830|
|1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.|
|2 Population without double counting: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.|
Brains is a commune in the Loire-Atlantique department in the Pays de la Loire region in France. The commune is a part of historical Brittany, in the traditional region of Retz, and in the historical region of Nantes.
Its inhabitants are called Brennois, or Brainnois.
Jules Verne visited Brains many times, at La Guerche, the house of his uncle, and at Le Plessis.
Brains is located between the Loire and Lac de Grand-Lieu, 18 km southwest of Nantes and 4 km northwest of Bouaye. Neighbouring communes are Le Pellerin, Cheix-en-Retz, Port-Saint-Père, Saint-Léger-des-Vignes, Bouaye, Bouguenais, La Montagne and Saint-Jean-de-Boiseau.
According to the classification established by INSEE in 1999, Brains is a monocentric rural commune which is a part of the urban area of Nantes and the urban space of Nantes-Saint-Nazaire (cf. Communes of the Loire-Atlantique department)
The commune is bordered on the southwest by the Acheneau river.
The Gaulish root Nemus Brenno (forest of Brenno) is mentioned in a document of the cartulary of Buzay around 1179.
Most of the territory of the commune, covered by a vast forest, belonged during the Ancien Regime to the Dukes of Brittany. Settlements in the area gave birth to a number of lordships with some measure of authority: Jasson, Le Plessis, Le Pesle, Lorière, La Sauvagerie, La Pilaudière and La Guerche. The lordship of Le Pesle, the most important, was originally an appanage of Briord. Today a private residence, it overlooks the Acheneau on the Cour du Pesle.
The château of La Guerche was dependent on Le Psle until the 17th century. Jules Verne was welcomed there by his uncle Prudent Allotte de la Fuye, owner from 1828 à 1837, during his summer vacations. He wrote some impromptu poetry there.
The church was constructed in 1875 on the site of an older church dating from 1676. The clock tower, with a heigh of 50 metres, dates from 1901.
The rectory was sold as national property during the Revolution, and is now "l'espace des Clos Mâts", a cultural site with a library and music.
At the end of the 19th century, there were six windmills, of which only those of Charbonnières, Le Breuil, La Fouelle, and La Roche du Gré now survive.
The Napoleonic cadastre denoted a rural territory dotted by villages which are still visible today.
Port Hamoneau, witness to the economic importance of the Acheneau until 1914 for the export of wine and red sand to Nantes, témoin du rôle économique de l'Acheneau jusqu'en 1914 pour l'acheminement du vin et du sable rouge vers Nantes, now welcomes hikers and anglers who come to enjoy the peace and quiet of the surrounding marshes, in the shade of the poplar trees.
List of mayors
- 1977 - François Charpentier
- 1977-1983 - Joseph Albert
- 1983-current - Jean-Pierre Legendre
The commune is the 3393rd largest in France (4236th in 1999), and 116th out of the 221 communes in Loire-Atlantique.
The population of the commune is relatively young. The percentage of people older than 60 (11.8%) is less than the national average (22.1%) and the departmental average (20.4%)
Unlike the national and departmental averages, the male population of the commune is higher than the female (50.4%, versus 48.4% nationally and 48.5% departmentally).
The population distribution of the commune by age, in 2008, was:
- 50.4% male (0 to 14 years = 27.1%, 15 to 29 years = 14.9%, 30 to 44 years = 24.7%, 45 to 59 years = 21.9%, over 60 years = 113%);
- 49.6% female (0 to 14 years = 24.3%, 15 to 29 years = 13.2%, 30 to 44 years = 28.1%, 45 to 59 years = 21.9%, over 60 years = 12.5%).