France is divided into 18 administrative regions (French: région, [ʁeʒjɔ̃]), which are traditionally divided between 13 metropolitan regions, located on the European continent, and 5 overseas regions, located outside the European continent. The 13 metropolitan regions (including 12 mainland regions and Corsica) are each further subdivided into 2 to 13 departments, while the overseas regions consist of only one department each and hence are also referred to as "overseas departments". The current legal concept of region was adopted in 1982, and in 2016 what had been 27 regions was reduced to 18. The overseas regions should not be confused with the overseas collectivities, which have a semi-autonomous status.
|Possible status||Overseas region (5)|
|Additional status||Territorial collectivity|
|Populations||212,645 (Mayotte) – 12,005,077 (Île-de-France)|
|Areas||376 km2 (145 sq mi) (Mayotte) – 84,061 km2 (32,456 sq mi) (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)|
|Government||Regional Government, National Government|
The term région was officially created by the Law of Decentralisation (2 March 1982), which also gave regions their legal status. The first direct elections for regional representatives took place on 16 March 1986. In 2016, the number of regions was reduced from 27 to 18 through mergers.
In 2014, the French parliament passed a law reducing the number of metropolitan regions from 22 to 13 effective 1 January 2016.
The law gave interim names for most of the new regions by combining the names of the former regions, e.g. the region composed of Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes and Limousin was temporarily called Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes. However, the combined region of Upper and Lower Normandy is simply called "Normandy" (Normandie). Permanent names were proposed by the new regional councils by 1 July 2016 and new names confirmed by the Conseil d'État by 30 September 2016. The legislation defining the new regions also allowed the Centre region to officially change its name to "Centre-Val de Loire" with effect from January 2015. Two regions, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, opted to retain their interim names.
Regions that merged:
Regions that remained unchanged:
|Region||French name||Other local name(s)||Capital||INSEE No.||Derivation or etymology||President|
|Grand Est||Grand Est||German: Großer Osten||Strasbourg||44||The name translates to "Great East," encompassing the three northeastern former regions of Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, and Lorraine, themselves inspired by former French provinces disbanded in 1790||Jean Rottner (LR)|
|Nouvelle-Aquitaine||Nouvelle-Aquitaine||Occitan: Nòva Aquitània / Nava Aquitània / Novela Aquitània
Basque: Akitania Berria
|Bordeaux||75||Reflects an expanded, or "new," Aquitaine region, which merged with the regions of Limousin and Poitou-Charentes; Aquitaine (later known as Guyenne), Limousin, and Poitou were historic French provinces abolished in 1790||Alain Rousset (PS)|
|Lyon||84||This region is a merger of the former regions of Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes; these were named, respectively, after the historic province of Auvergne abolished in 1790 and after the former region's position along the Rhône river and in the Alps||Laurent Wauquiez (LR)|
|Bourgogne-Franche-Comté||Bourgogne-Franche-Comté||Arpitan: Borgogne-Franche-Comtât||Dijon||27||The region is a merger of the former regions of Burgundy and Franche-Comté; these regions were themselves based on French provinces disbanded in 1790||Marie-Guite Dufay (PS)|
|Rennes||53||The region covers 80% of the former province of Brittany, abolished 1790. Nantes, the historic capital, is now in Pays de la Loire (see below).||Loïg Chesnais-Girard (PS)|
|Centre-Val de Loire||Centre-Val de Loire||Orléans||24||Translating to "Centre–Loire Valley," the region has no historic basis, but is geographically located in north-central France and straddles the middle of the Loire Valley||François Bonneau (PS)|
|Île-de-France||Île-de-France||Paris||11||The modern region encompasses much of the former province of Île-de-France, abolished 1790||Valérie Pécresse (LR)|
|Toulouse||76||Encompasses much of the southern areas of France where Occitan, or langue d'oc, dialects are spoken; is a merger of the Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions. Languedoc and Roussillon were historic provinces dissolved in 1790; the Midi refers to southern France, and Pyrénées to the region's position in this mountain range||Carole Delga (PS)|
|Hauts-de-France||Hauts-de-France||Lille||32||Occupying the northern tip of the country, this region's name translates to "Upper France." It is a merger of the former regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy, which recalled a province of France abolished in 1790||Xavier Bertrand (LR)|
|Normandy||Normandie||Norman: Normaundie||Rouen||28||The region is largely coterminous with the former province of Normandy, abolished 1790; it is a merger of the former regions of Upper Normandy and Lower Normandy||Hervé Morin (LC)|
|Pays de la Loire||Pays de la Loire||Breton: Broioù al Liger||Nantes||52||The name translates to "Land(s) of the Loire," as the Loire river is the major waterway in the area; the region has no historic basis, but was created as a zone of influence for the city of Nantes, the historic capital of Brittany.||Christelle Morançais (LR)|
|Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)||Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)||Provençal: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur
|Marseille||93||Consists of the former province of Provence, dissolved in 1790, as well as some adjacent territories in the French Alps and along the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur)||Renaud Muselier (LR)|
|Corsica||Corse||Corsican: Corsica||Ajaccio||94||The region is composed entirely of the island of Corsica, a French territorial collectivity that has belonged to France since 1768||Jean-Guy Talamoni (CL), Gilles Simeoni (Inseme per a Corsica)|
|The following five overseas departments also have the special status of overseas region.|
|French Guiana||Guyane||Cayenne||03||Overseas region||Rodolphe Alexandre (PSG)|
|Guadeloupe||Guadeloupe||Antillean Creole: Gwadloup||Basse-Terre||01||Overseas region||Ary Chalus (GUSR)|
|Martinique||Martinique||Antillean Creole: Matinik||Fort-de-France||02||Overseas region||Claude Lise (RDM), Alfred Marie-Jeanne (MIM)|
|Mamoudzou||06||Overseas region||Soibahadine Ibrahim Ramadani (LR)|
|Réunion||La Réunion||Reunion Creole: La Rényon||Saint-Denis||04||Overseas region||Didier Robert (LR)|
Between 1982 and 2015, there were 22 regions in Metropolitan France. Before 2011, there were four overseas regions (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion); in 2011 Mayotte became the fifth.
Regions lack separate legislative authority and therefore cannot write their own statutory law. They levy their own taxes and, in return, receive a decreasing part of their budget from the central government, which gives them a portion of the taxes it levies. They also have considerable budgets managed by a regional council (conseil régional) made up of representatives voted into office in regional elections.
A region's primary responsibility is to build and furnish high schools. In March 2004, the French central government unveiled a controversial plan to transfer regulation of certain categories of non-teaching school staff to the regional authorities. Critics of this plan contended that tax revenue was insufficient to pay for the resulting costs, and that such measures would increase regional inequalities.
In addition, regions have considerable discretionary power over infrastructural spending, e.g., education, public transit, universities and research, and assistance to business owners. This has meant that the heads of wealthy regions such as Île-de-France or Rhône-Alpes can be high-profile positions.
Proposals to give regions limited legislative autonomy have met with considerable resistance; others propose transferring certain powers from the departments to their respective regions, leaving the former with limited authority.
Number of regions controlled by each coalition since 1986.
Overseas region (French: Région d'outre-mer) is a recent designation, given to the overseas departments that have similar powers to those of the regions of metropolitan France. As integral parts of the French Republic, they are represented in the National Assembly, Senate and Economic and Social Council, elect a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and use the euro as their currency.
Although these territories have had these political powers since 1982, when France's decentralisation policy dictated that they be given elected regional councils along with other regional powers, the designation overseas regions dates only to the 2003 constitutional change; indeed, the new wording of the constitution aims to give no precedence to either appellation overseas department or overseas region, although the second is still virtually unused by French media.
The following have overseas region status:
Aquitaine (UK: , US: , French: [akitɛn] (listen); Occitan: Aquitània; Basque: Akitania; Poitevin-Saintongeais: Aguiéne), archaic Guyenne/Guienne (Occitan: Guiana), is a historical region of France and a former administrative region of the country. Since 1 January 2016 it has been part of the region Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It is situated in the south-western part of Metropolitan France, along the Atlantic Ocean and the Pyrenees mountain range on the border with Spain. It is composed of the five departments of Dordogne, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Landes and Gironde. In the Middle Ages, Aquitaine was a kingdom and a duchy, whose boundaries fluctuated considerably.Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes or ARA (French pronunciation: [ovɛʁɲ ʁon alp] (listen), Arpitan: Ôvèrgne-Rôno-Ârpes, Occitan: Auvèrnhe Ròse Aups, Italian: Alvernia-Rodano-Alpi) is a region in southeast-central France created by the territorial reform of French Regions in 2014; it resulted from the merger of Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes. The new region came into effect on 1 January 2016, after the regional elections in December 2015.The region covers an area of more than 69,711 km2 (26,916 sq mi), making it the third largest in metropolitan France, with a population of 7,695,264, second only to Île-de-France.Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (French pronunciation: [buʁɡɔɲ fʁɑ̃ʃ kɔ̃te], sometimes abbreviated BFC; meaning Burgundy–Free County) is a region in the east of France created by the territorial reform of French Regions in 2014, from a merger of Burgundy and Franche-Comté. The new region came into existence on 1 January 2016, after the regional elections of December 2015, electing 100 members to the regional council of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.The region covers an area of 47,784 km2 (18,450 sq mi), and has a population of 2,816,814.Brittany (administrative region)
Brittany (Breton: Breizh, French: Bretagne, IPA: [bʁətaɲ] (listen)) is one of the 18 regions of France. It is named after the historic and geographic region of Brittany, of which it constitutes 80%. The capital is Rennes.
Bathed by the English Channel to the north and the Bay of Biscay to the south, it is located in the West of France, bordering the Normandy and Pays de la Loire regions. Bro Gozh ma Zadoù is the anthem of Brittany. It is sung to the same tune as that of the national anthem of Wales, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, and has similar words. As a region of France, Brittany has a Regional Council, which was most recently elected in 2015.Burgundy
Burgundy (; French: Bourgogne [buʁɡɔɲ] (listen)) is a historical territory and a former administrative region of France. It takes its name from the Burgundians, an East Germanic people who moved westwards beyond the Rhine during the late Roman period.Historically, "Burgundy" has referred to numerous political entities, including kingdoms and duchies spanning territory from the Mediterranean to the Low Countries. Since January 2016, the name Burgundy has referred to a specific part of the French administrative region of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, an entity comprising four departments: Côte-d'Or, Saône-et-Loire, Yonne, and Nièvre.Centre-Val de Loire
Centre-Val de Loire (French pronunciation: [sɑ̃tʁə val də lwaʁ], literal translation: "Centre-Loire Valley") is one of the 18 administrative regions of France. It straddles the middle Loire Valley in the interior of the country. The administrative capital is Orléans.Flags of the regions of France
The galleries below show flags attributed to the eighteen (formerly, twenty-seven) regions, five overseas collectivities, one sui generis collectivity and one overseas territory of France. Most of them are non-official as regions often use their logos as a flag.Grand Est
Grand Est (French pronunciation: [ɡʁɑ̃t‿ɛst] (listen);
English: "Great East"; German: Großer Osten—both in the Alsatian and the Lorraine Franconian dialect), previously Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine (ACAL or less commonly, ALCA), is an administrative region in northeastern France. It superseded three former administrative regions—Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, and Lorraine—on 1 January 2016, as a result of territorial reform which was passed by the French legislature in 2014. Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine was a provisional name, created by hyphenating the merged regions in alphabetical order; its regional council had to approve a new name for the region by 1 July 2016. France's Conseil d'État approved Grand Est as the new name of the region on 28 September 2016, effective 30 September 2016. The administrative capital and largest city is Strasbourg.Hauts-de-France
Hauts-de-France (French pronunciation: [o d(ə) fʁɑ̃s], meaning "Upper France"), is the northernmost region of France, created by the territorial reform of French Regions in 2014, from a merger of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy. Its capital is Lille. The new region came into existence on 1 January 2016, after the regional elections in December 2015. France's Conseil d'État approved Hauts-de-France as the name of the region on 28 September 2016, effective 30 September 2016.With 6,009,976 inhabitants (as of January 1, 2015), and a population of 189 inhabitants/km2, it represents the 3rd most populous region in France and the 2nd most densely populated in metropolitan France after its neighbor Île-de-France.
The region covers an area of more than 31,813 km2 (12,283 sq mi). It borders Grand Est to the southeast, Île-de-France to the south, Normandy to the southwest, Belgium (Flemish Region and Wallonia) and the United Kingdom (England) across the English Channel via the "Chunnel."List of French regions and overseas departments by GRP per capita
This article is about the gross regional product (GRP) per capita of French regions and overseas departments in nominal values. Values are shown in EUR€. For easy comparison, all the GRP figures are converted into US$ according to annual average exchange rates. All values are rounded to the nearest hundred.List of French regions by Human Development Index
This is a list of French regions and overseas territories by Human Development Index as of 2015. The regions since 2016 that the pre-2016 regions correspond to or are part of are shown alongside.Madiran
Madiran is a commune in the Hautes-Pyrénées department in south-western France.
It is the centre of a wine-producing area.Normandy
Normandy (; French: Normandie, pronounced [nɔʁmɑ̃di] (listen), Norman: Normaundie, from Old French Normanz, plural of Normant, originally from the word for "northman" in several Scandinavian languages) is the northwesternmost of the 18 regions of France, roughly referring to the historical Duchy of Normandy.
Normandy is divided into five administrative departments: Calvados, Eure, Manche, Orne, and Seine-Maritime. It covers 30,627 square kilometres (11,825 sq mi), comprising roughly 5% of the territory of metropolitan France. Its population of 3.37 million accounts for around 5% of the population of France. The inhabitants of Normandy are known as Normans, and the region is the historic homeland of the Norman language. The neighboring regions are Hauts-de-France and Ile-de-France to the east, Centre-Val de Loire to the southeast, Pays de la Loire to the south, and Brittany to the southwest.
The historical region of Normandy comprised the present-day region of Normandy, as well as small areas now part of the departments of Mayenne and Sarthe. The Channel Islands (French: Îles Anglo-Normandes) are also historically part of Normandy; they cover 194 km² and comprise two bailiwicks: Guernsey and Jersey, which are British Crown dependencies over which Queen Elizabeth II reigns as Duke of Normandy.Normandy's name comes from the settlement of the territory by mainly Danish and Norwegian Vikings ("Northmen") from the 9th century, and confirmed by treaty in the 10th century between King Charles III of France and the Viking jarl Rollo. For a century and a half following the Norman conquest of England in 1066, Normandy and England were linked by Norman and Frankish rulers.Occitanie
Occitanie (French: [ɔksitani] (listen); Occitan: Occitània [utsiˈtanjɔ]; Catalan: Occitània [uksiˈtaniə]) or Occitania is the southernmost administrative region of mainland France, created on January 1, 2016 from the former French regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées. France's Conseil d'État approved Occitanie as the new name of the region on September 28, 2016, coming into effect on September 30, 2016.The modern administrative region is named after the cultural and historical region of Occitania, which covers a larger area. The region as it is today covers a territory similar to that ruled by the Counts of Toulouse in the 12th and 13th centuries. The banner of arms of the Counts of Toulouse, known colloquially as the Occitan cross, is used by the modern region and is also a popular cultural symbol.Overseas department and region
The overseas departments and regions of France (French: département et régions d’outre-mer or DROM) are departments of France which are outside metropolitan France, the European part of France. They have nearly the same political status as metropolitan departments, although special constitutional provisions allow them greater autonomy and they are excluded from certain domestic statistics, such as the unemployment rate.
As integral parts of France and the European Union, overseas departments are represented in the National Assembly, Senate, and Economic and Social Council, vote to elect members of the European Parliament (MEP), and also use the euro as their currency.
The overseas departments and regions are not the same as the overseas collectivities, which have a semi-autonomous status.
Each overseas department is the sole department in its own overseas region (French: région d'outre-mer) with powers identical to the regions of metropolitan France. Because of the one-to-one correspondence, informal usage does not distinguish the two, and the French media uses the term département d’outre-mer (DOM) almost exclusively.
Since March 2011, the five overseas departments and regions of France are:
French Guiana in South America;
Guadeloupe and Martinique in the Caribbean;
Mayotte and Réunion in the Indian Ocean, off the coast of Africa.Guadeloupe and Réunion each have separate departmental and regional councils, while in Mayotte, Guiana and Martinique, the two layers of government are consolidated so one body wields both sets of powers. The overseas departments acquired these additional powers in 1982, when France's decentralisation policy dictated that they be given elected regional councils and other regional powers, however the term "overseas region" was only introduced with the French constitutional amendment of 28 March 2003.Pays de la Loire
Pays de la Loire (French pronunciation: [pe.i də la lwaʁ]; meaning Loire Countries) is one of the 18 regions of France, in the west of the mainland. It is one of the regions created in the 1950s to serve as a zone of influence for its capital, Nantes, one of a handful of so-called "balancing metropolises" (métropoles d'équilibre)¹.Regional council (France)
A regional council (French: conseil régional) is the elected assembly of a region of France.Southern France
Southern France, also known as the South of France or colloquially in French as le Midi, is a defined geographical area consisting of the regions of France that border the Atlantic Ocean south of the Marais Poitevin, Spain, the Mediterranean Sea and Italy. It includes: Nouvelle-Aquitaine in the west, Occitanie in the centre, the southern parts of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in the northeast, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in the southeast, as well as the island of Corsica in the southeast. Monaco and Andorra are sometimes included in definitions of Southern France although they are principalities.Upper Normandy
Upper Normandy (French: Haute-Normandie, IPA: [ot nɔʁmɑ̃di]; Norman: Ĥâote-Normaundie) is a former administrative region of France. On 1 January 2016, Upper and Lower Normandy merged becoming one region called Normandy.
|Flag||Region||French name||Other local name(s)||Capital||INSEE No.||Derivation or etymology|
|Strasbourg||42||Formerly a coalition of free cities in Holy Roman Empire, attached to Kingdom of France in 1648; annexed by Germany from Franco-Prussian war to the end of World War I and briefly during World War II|
Saintongeais : Aguiéne
|Bordeaux||72||Guyenne and Gascony|
|Auvergne||Auvergne||Occitan: Auvèrnhe / Auvèrnha||Clermont-Ferrand||83||Former province of Auvergne|
|Rennes||53||Duchy of Brittany|
|Burgundy||Bourgogne||Burgundian: Bregogne / Borgoégne
|Dijon||26||Duchy of Burgundy|
|Centre-Val de Loire||Centre-Val de Loire||Orléans||24||Located in north-central France; straddles the middle of the Loire Valley|
|21||Former province of Champagne|
|Besançon||43||Free County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté)|
|Île-de-France||Île-de-France||Paris||11||Province of Île-de-France and parts of the former province of Champagne|
|Montpellier||91||Former provinces of Languedoc and Roussillon|
|Limousin||Limousin||Occitan: Lemosin||Limoges||74||Former province of Limousin and parts of Marche, Berry, Auvergne, Poitou and Angoumois|
Lorraine Franconian: Lottringe
|Metz||41||Named for Charlemagne's son Lothair I, the kingdom of Lotharingia is etymologically the source for the name Lorraine (duchy), Lothringen (German), Lottringe (Lorraine Franconian)|
|Lower Normandy||Basse-Normandie||Norman: Basse-Normaundie||Caen||25||Western half of former province of Normandy|
|Toulouse||73||None; created for Toulouse|
|Nord-Pas-de-Calais||Nord-Pas-de-Calais||Lille||31||Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments|
|Pays de la Loire||Pays de la Loire||Breton: Broioù al Liger||Nantes||52||None; created for Nantes|
|Picardy||Picardie||Amiens||22||Former province of Picardy|
Poitevin and Saintongeais : Poetou-Chérentes
|Poitiers||54||Former provinces of Angoumois, Aunis, Poitou and Saintonge|
|Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)||Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)||Provençal: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur
|Marseille||93||Former province of Provence|
Occitan: Ròse Aups
|Lyon||82||Created for Lyon from Dauphiné and Lyonnais provinces and Savoy|
|Upper Normandy||Haute-Normandie||Norman: Ĥâote-Normaundie||Rouen||23||Eastern half of former province of Normandy|
Designations for types of administrative territorial entities
1 Used by ten or more countries or having derived terms. Historical derivations in italics.
|States with limited|
Administrative regions of France