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The cantons of France are territorial subdivisions of the French Republic's departments and arrondissements.
Apart from their role as organizational units in relation to certain aspects of the administration of public services and justice, the chief purpose of the cantons today is to serve as constituencies for the election of members of the representative assemblies established in each of France's territorial departments (departmental councils, formerly general councils). For this reason, such elections were known in France as "cantonal elections", until 2015 when their name was changed to "departmental elections" to match the departmental councils' name.
As of 2015, there were 2,054 cantons in France.
Most of them group together a number of communes (the lowest administrative division of the French Republic), although larger communes may be included in more than one canton, since the cantons – in marked contrast to the communes, which have between more than two million inhabitants (Paris) and just one person (Rochefourchat) – are intended to be roughly equal in size of population.
The role of the canton is, essentially, to provide a framework for departmental elections. Each canton elects a woman and a man to represent it at the conseil départemental du département – or departmental council for the department, which is the principal administrative division of the French Republic.
In urban areas, a single commune generally includes several cantons. Conversely, in rural areas, a canton may comprise several smaller communes. In the latter case, administrative services, the gendarmerie headquarters for example, are often situated in the principal town ( chef-lieu ) of the canton, although there are exceptions, such as cantons Gaillon-Campagne and Sarreguemines-Campagne, which have in common a "chief-town" which does not belong to either canton.
For statistical (INSEE) purposes, the twenty arrondissements of Paris – the administrative subdivisions of that city – are sometimes considered cantons, but they serve no greater electoral function.
Cantons also form legal districts, as seats of Tribunaux d'instance or "Courts of First Instance" (also, "TI"...). Historically, the cantons are called justices de paix or "district courts".
The cantons were created in 1790 at the same time as the départements by the Revolutionary Committee for the Division of Territory (Comité de division). They were more numerous than today (between 40 and 60 to each département). Cantons were, at first, grouped into what were called districts. After the abolition of the district in 1800, they were reorganized by the Consulate into arrondissements. The number of cantons was then drastically reduced (between 30 and 50 units) by the Loi du 8 pluviôse an IX (28 January 1801), or the "Law for the Reduction of the Number of District Courts", or Loi portant réduction du nombre de justices de paix in French. The département prefects were told by the government to group the communes within newly established cantons. The département lists, once approved by the government, were published in the Bulletin des lois in 1801 and 1802; these lists were the basis of the administrative divisions of France from then until 2015, although cantons with small populations were eliminated and new cantons created in areas of strong demographic growth. On the whole, their number increased appreciably.
In May 2013 a law was adopted that reduced the number of cantons drastically.This law came into effect at the French departmental elections in March 2015. Before the cantonal reform, there were 4,032 cantons; afterwards there were 2,054, with the cantons in Martinique and Guyana abolished. The 2013 reform law also changed the representation of the cantons in the departmental councils: each canton is now represented by a man and a woman.
The number of cantons varies from one département to another; the Territoire de Belfort, for example, has 9, while Nord has 41.
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government under the national level, between the administrative regions and the communes. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, and five are overseas departments, which are also classified as overseas regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, and these are divided into cantons. The last two levels of government have no autonomy; they are the basis of local organisation of police, fire departments and, sometimes, administration of elections.
Tarn is a department in the Occitanie region of Southern France. Named after the river Tarn, it had a population of 387,890 as of 2017. Its prefecture and largest city is Albi. The inhabitants of Tarn are known, in French, as Tarnais (masculine) and Tarnaises (feminine).
An arrondissement is a level of administrative division in France generally corresponding to the territory overseen by a subprefect. As of 2019, the 101 French departments were divided into 332 arrondissements.
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or municipio in Spain. The United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where UK districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered. The communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France.
The regions of Niger are subdivided into 63 departments. Before the devolution program on 1999–2005, these departments were styled arrondissements. Confusingly, the next level up (regions) had, before 2002-2005 been styled departments. Prior to a revision in 2011, there had been 36 departments. A draft law in August 2011 would expand that number to 63. Until 2010, arrondissements remained a proposed subdivision of departments, though none were used. The decentralisation process, begun in the 1995-1999 period replaced appointed Prefects at Departmental/Arrondisement level with elected councils, first elected in 1999. These were the first local elections held in the history of Niger. Officials elected at commune level are then selected as representatives at Departmental, regional, and National level councils and administration. The Ministry of Decentralisation was created to oversee this task, and to create a national consultative council of local officials.
The city of Paris is divided into twenty arrondissements municipaux, administrative districts, more simply referred to as arrondissements. These are not to be confused with departmental arrondissements, which subdivide the larger French départements. The word "arrondissement", when applied to Paris, refers almost always to the municipal arrondissements listed below.
An administrative centre is a seat of regional administration or local government, or a county town, or the place where the central administration of a commune is located.
Senegal is subdivided into four levels of administrative divisions.
The five arrondissements of the Moselle department are:
The arrondissement of Metz-Campagne is a former arrondissement of France in the Moselle department in the Lorraine region. In 2015 it was merged into the new arrondissement of Metz. It had 142 communes, and its population was 222,352 (2012).
The Arrondissement of Molsheim is an arrondissement of France in the Bas-Rhin department in the Grand Est region. It has 77 communes. Its population is 103,633 (2016), and its area is 771.2 km2 (297.8 sq mi).
The arrondissement of Wissembourg is a former arrondissement of France in the Bas-Rhin department in the Alsace region. In 2015 it was merged into the new arrondissement of Haguenau-Wissembourg. It had 68 communes, and its population was 68,299 (2012).
The arrondissement of Le Mans is an arrondissement of France in the Sarthe department in the Pays de la Loire region. It has 45 communes. Its population is 262,997 (2016), and its area is 779.7 km2 (301.0 sq mi).
The Canton of Saint-Benoît-du-Sault is a French former administrative subdivision, situated in the Indre département and the Centre région. It was disbanded following the French canton reorganisation which came into effect in March 2015. It consisted of 14 communes, which joined the canton of Saint-Gaultier in 2015.
The departments of Chad are divided into 348 sub-prefectures (sous-préfectures).
The Council of Paris is the deliberative body responsible for the governing of Paris, the capital of France. It possesses simultaneously the powers of a municipal council and those of a departmental council for the département de Paris, as defined by the so-called PLM Law of 1982 that redefined the governance of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Paris is the only territorial collectivity in France to be both a commune and a département.
Niger is divided into seven regions, each named after its capital.
The Canton of Saint-Martin-de-Ré is a French former administrative division located in Île de Ré, Charente-Maritime, Poitou-Charentes. It was disbanded following the French canton reorganisation which came into effect in March 2015. It consisted of 5 communes, which joined the new Canton of Île de Ré in 2015. Its chef-lieu was Saint-Martin-de-Ré.
Niger is governed through a four layer, semi-decentralised series of Administrative divisions. Begun 1992, and finally approved with the formation of the Fifth Republic of Niger on 18 July 1999, Niger has been enacting a plan for Decentralisation of some state powers to local bodies. Prior to the 1999-2006 project, Niger's subdivisions were administered via direct appointment from the central government in Niamey. Beginning with Niger's first municipal elections of 2 February 1999, the nation started electing local officials for the first time. Citizens now elect local committee representatives in each Commune, chosen by subdivisions of the commune: "Quarters" in towns and "Villages" in rural areas, with additional groupings for traditional polities and nomadic populations. These officials choose Mayors, and from them are drawn representatives to the Department level. The same process here chooses a Departmental council and Prefect, and representatives to the Regional level. The system is repeated a Regional level, with a Regional Prefect, council, and representatives to the High Council of Territorial Collectives. The HCCT has only advisory powers, but its members have some financial, planning, educational and environmental powers. The central government oversees this process through the office of the Minister of State for the Interior, Public Safety and Decentralization.
The Canton of Arcis-sur-Aube is one of the 17 cantons of the Aube department, in northern France. INSEE code is 1002. Its population was 14,661 in 2017.