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Toulouse is in the south of France, north of the department of Haute-Garonne, on the axis of communication between the Mediterranean Sea and western Europe. The city is traversed by both rivers: from north to south, the Garonne river flows through Toulouse (and crosses it twice), whereas from west to east runs its tributary, l'Hers-Vif ("The Lively"), which joins with l'Hers after passing through Montauban. In addition to being a commercial centre for southern France as well as one that has played an important role in regional history and culture since Roman times (as attested by several ruins such as those at Nîmes or Volubilis), Toulouse also has a strong industrial heritage because it was one of three major industrial centres during early modern period alongside Lyon and Paris; this led to its nickname "the French Manchester".