Prefectures in France

A prefecture in France (French: préfecture) may refer to:

  • the Chef-lieu de département, the town in which the administration of a department is located;
  • the Chef-lieu de région, the town in which the administration of a region is located;
  • the jurisdiction of a prefecture;
  • the official residence or headquarters of a prefect.
Départements et régions de France - Noname-2016
Prefectures in France

Role of the prefecture

There are 101 prefectures in France, one for each department. The official in charge is the prefect (French: préfet). The prefecture is an administration that belongs to the Ministry of the Interior, and is therefore in charge of the delivery of identity cards, driving licenses, passports, residency and work permits for foreigners, vehicle registration, registration of associations (creation, status modification, dissolution), and of the management of the police and firefighters.

Prefectures are located near the geographic centre of their departments, and were originally chosen for being within a day's travel on horseback from anywhere in the department. Therefore, the largest settlement in a department may not always be its prefecture: the department of Marne, for example, has its prefecture at Châlons-en-Champagne despite the city of Reims, near the Aisne border, being four times its size.

The prefect represents the national government at the local level and as such exercises the powers that are constitutionally attributed to the national government. The prefect issues ordinances written for the application of local law: to close a building that does not conform to safety codes, or modify vehicular traffic regulations (speed limit, construction permits).

The governing body of the department is the departmental council (French: Conseil départemental), which is in charge of the building and maintenance of schools and roads, financial assistance to dependent people (disabled and elderly), and promotion of local economic development, etc. In the past, the prefect was head of the department, but since 1982, the president of the departmental council has assumed the role of chief executive of the department.

Paris

Petite couronne
Petite Couronne

There is an exception in Paris (Île-de-France) and its three surrounding departments (Petite Couronne). These departments are administered by a single prefecture for law enforcement and security purposes, called the Prefecture of Police (French: préfet de police); a situation inherited from the Paris Commune of 1871. The power of law enforcement is usually invested in the mayor in other French communes.

Divisions of departments

The departments are divided into arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons. The chef-lieu d'arrondissement is the subprefecture (French: sous-préfecture). The official in charge is the subprefect (French: sous-préfet. Cantons have relatively few competences, the most important one being the local organisation of elections (cantons are electoral subdivisions).

See also

Agen

The commune of Agen (French: [aʒɛ̃], Occitan: [aˈdʒen]) is the prefecture of the Lot-et-Garonne department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. It lies on the river Garonne 135 kilometres (84 miles) southeast of Bordeaux.

Albi

Albi (French pronunciation: ​[albi]; Occitan: Albi [ˈalβi]) is a commune in southern France. It is the prefecture of the Tarn department, on the river Tarn, 85 km northeast of Toulouse. Its inhabitants are called Albigensians (French: Albigeois, Albigeoise(s), Occitan: albigés -esa(s)). It is the seat of the Archbishop of Albi. The episcopal city, around the Cathedral Sainte-Cécile, was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2010.

Auch

Auch (French pronunciation: ​[oʃ]; Gascon: Aush or Aux [awʃ]) is a commune in southwestern France. Located in the region of Occitanie, it is the capital of the Gers department. Auch is the historical capital of Gascony.

Blois

Blois (French pronunciation: ​[blwa]) is a city and the capital of Loir-et-Cher department in central France, situated on the banks of the lower river Loire between Orléans and Tours.

Bobigny

Bobigny (French pronunciation: ​[bo.bi.ɲi]) is a commune, or town, in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located 9.1 km (5.7 mi) from the center of Paris. Bobigny is the préfecture (capital) of the Seine-Saint-Denis département, as well as the seat of the Arrondissement of Bobigny. It is only the 12th-largest commune in Seine-Saint-Denis (1999 census).

Inhabitants are called Balbyniens. The suburb is characterised by a high proportion of non-white residents and immigrants from other countries. It is regarded as a 'tough' banlieue (suburb), particularly in and around the government housing complexes (cités) including l’Abreuvoir, scene of a street murder on 15 Aug 2018.

Bourg-en-Bresse

Bourg-en-Bresse (French pronunciation: ​[buʁk‿ɑ̃ bʁɛs]; Bôrg in Arpitan language) is a commune in eastern France, capital of the Ain department, and the capital of the ancient province of Bresse (Arpitan: Brêsse). It is located 70 km (43 mi) north-northeast of Lyon.

The inhabitants of Bourg-en-Bresse are known as Burgiens.

Cahors

Cahors (French pronunciation: ​[kaɔʁ]; Occitan: Caors [kaˈuɾs, ˈkɔws, ˈkɔw]) is the capital of the Lot department in south-western France.

Its site is dramatic, being contained on three sides within a U-shaped bend in the River Lot known as the presqu'île ("peninsula"). Cahors is known as the centre of AOC 'black' wine, which has been made since the Middle Ages and exported via Bordeaux, long before that region had developed its own viniculture industry.

Châteauroux

Châteauroux (French pronunciation: ​[ʃatoʁu]) is the capital of the Indre department in central France and the second-largest town in the province of Berry, after Bourges. Its residents are called Castelroussins.

Fort-de-France

Fort-de-France (French pronunciation: ​[fɔʁ də fʁɑ̃s]) is the capital of France's Caribbean overseas department of Martinique. It is also one of the major cities in the Caribbean. Exports include sugar, rum, tinned fruit, and cacao.

Mamoudzou

Mamoudzou (French pronunciation: ​[mamudzu]; Shimaore Comorian: Momoju) is the capital of the French overseas region and department of Mayotte, in the Indian Ocean. Mamoudzou is the most populated commune (municipality) of Mayotte. It is located on Grande-Terre (or Mahoré), the main island of Mayotte.

Melun

Melun (French pronunciation: ​[məlœ̃], local pronunciation: [mølɛ̃] (listen)) is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France. It is a southeastern suburb of Paris 41.4 km (25.7 miles) from the centre of Paris. Melun is the prefecture of the Seine-et-Marne, and the seat of an arrondissement. Its inhabitants are called Melunais.

Mont-de-Marsan

Mont-de-Marsan (French pronunciation: ​[mɔ̃ də maʁsɑ̃]; Gascon: Lo Mont de Marçan) is a commune and capital of the Landes department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France.

Nanterre

Nanterre (French pronunciation: ​[nɑ̃.tɛʁ]) is a commune in the Hauts-de-Seine department, the western suburbs of Paris. It is located some 11 km (6.8 mi) north-west of the centre of Paris.

Nanterre serves as both the capital of the Hauts-de-Seine department and seat of the eponymous arrondissement.

The eastern part of Nanterre, bordering the communes of Courbevoie and Puteaux, contains a small part of the La Défense business district of Paris and some of the tallest buildings in the Paris region. Because the headquarters of many major corporations are located in La Défense, the court of Nanterre is well known in the media for the number of high-profile lawsuits and trials that take place in it. The city of Nanterre also includes the Paris West University Nanterre La Défense, one of the largest universities in the Paris region.

Niort

Niort (pronounced [njɔʁ]; Latin: Novioritum) is a commune in the Deux-Sèvres department in western France.

The population of Niort is 60,486 and more than 137,000 people live in the urban area. Near Niort at Maisonnay there is one of the tallest radio masts in France (height: 330 metres).

Quimper

Quimper (French pronunciation: ​[kɛ̃.pɛʁ]; Breton: Kemper [ˈkempəʁ], Latin: Civitas Aquilonia or Corisopitum) is a commune and capital of the Finistère department of Brittany in northwestern France.

Saint-Brieuc

Saint-Brieuc ([sɛ̃ bʁijø], Breton: Sant-Brieg pronounced [sãnt ˈbriːɛk], Gallo: Saent-Berioec) is a commune in the Côtes-d'Armor department in Brittany in northwestern France.

Vannes

Vannes (French pronunciation: ​[van]; Breton: Gwened) is a commune in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France. It was founded over 2,000 years ago.

Épinal

Épinal (French pronunciation: ​[epinal]); (German: Spinal) is a commune in northeastern France and the capital (prefecture) of the Vosges department. Inhabitants are known as Spinaliens.

Évry-Courcouronnes

Évry-Courcouronnes is a commune in the southern suburbs of Paris, France, prefecture of the department of Essonne.It was established on 1 January 2019 from the amalgamation of the communes of Évry and Courcouronnes.

Prefectures of the regions of France
Metropolitan
France
Overseas regions

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.