Departments of France

Last updated

Departments of France
Départements français (French)
France maximale.svg
LocationFrance
Found in Regions
Number101 (as of 2 January 2021)
Possible types
PopulationsLargest: Nord, Hauts-de-France—2,608,346 (2019 census)
Smallest: Lozère, Occitanie—76,557 (2019 census)
AreasLargest: French Guiana—83,533.9 km2 (32,252.6 sq mi)
Smallest: Paris, Île-de-France—105.4 km2 (40.7 sq mi)
DensitiesLargest: Paris, Île-de-France—20,755 inhabitants per square mile (8,014/km2)
Smallest: French Guiana—3.5 inhabitants per square mile (1.4/km2)
Government
Subdivisions

In the administrative divisions of France, the department (French : département, pronounced  [depaʁtəmɑ̃] ) is one of the three levels of government under the national level ("territorial collectivities"), 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 332 arrondissements, [1] 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.

Contents

Each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council (conseil départemental [sing.], conseils départementaux [plur.]). From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils (conseil général [sing.] conseils généraux [plur.]). [2] Each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school (collège) buildings and technical staff, and local roads and school and rural buses, and a contribution to municipal infrastructures. [3] Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; however, regions have gained importance since the 2000s, with some department-level services merged into region-level services.

The departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity; [4] the title "department" is used to mean a part of a larger whole. [5] Almost all of them were named after physical geographical features (rivers, mountains, or coasts), rather than after historical or cultural territories, which could have their own loyalties, or after their own administrative seats. The division of France into departments was a project particularly identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, [6] [7] although it had already been frequently discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers. The earliest known suggestion of it is from 1665 in the writings of d'Argenson. [8] They have inspired similar divisions in many countries, some of them former French colonies. The 1822 territorial division of Spain (reverted due to the 1823 French intervention ending the trienio liberal) and the 1833 territorial division of Spain, which forms the basis of the present day Provinces of Spain with minor modifications is also based on the French model of departments of roughly equal size. [9]

Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (Insée). [10] Overseas departments have a three-digit number. The number is used, for example, in the postal code, and was until recently used for all vehicle registration plates. Residents commonly use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, for example, inhabitants of Loiret may refer to their department as "the 45". More distant departments are generally referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.

In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, and to transfer their powers to other levels of governance. [11] This reform project has since been scrapped.

History

Geometrical proposition rejected ChassisFiguratif.jpg
Geometrical proposition rejected
French provinces before 1790 (color) and today's departments (black borders) Departements et provinces de France.svg
French provinces before 1790 (color) and today's departments (black borders)

The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées (Bridges and Highways) infrastructure administration. [12]

Before the French Revolution, France gained territory gradually through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved, partly in order to weaken old loyalties. The National Constituent Assembly decided to create a more uniform division into departments (département) and districts in late 1789. [13] The process began on 4 August 1789 with the elimination of provincial privileges, and a 22 December 1789 decree (with letters patent in January 1790) provided for the termination of the provincial governments. [13]

The modern department system, as all-purpose units of the government, was decreed on 26 February 1790 (with letters patent on 4 March 1790) by the National Constituent Assembly. [13] Their boundaries served two purposes:

Departments at the maximum extent of the First French Empire (1812) France L-2 (1812)-fr.svg
Departments at the maximum extent of the First French Empire (1812)

The old nomenclature was carefully avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after an area's principal river or other physical features. Even Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy, during its temporary occupation, became the department of Mont-Blanc. [14] The provinces continued to exist administratively until 21 September 1791. [13]

The number of departments, initially 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. [15] Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86 (three of the original departments having been split). In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. [16] Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department. [16] The 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. [17]

The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle, Vosges and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin however remained French and became known as the Territoire de Belfort; the remaining parts of Meurthe and Moselle were merged into a new Meurthe-et-Moselle department. When France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department. Likewise, the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, and a new Moselle department was created in the regained territory, with slightly different boundaries from the pre-war department of the same name.

The re-organisation of Île-de-France in 1968 and the division of Corsica in 1975 added six more departments, raising the total in Metropolitan France to 96. By 2011, when the overseas collectivity of Mayotte became a department, joining the earlier overseas departments of the Republic (all created in 1946) – French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Réunion – the total number of departments in the French Republic had become 101. In 2015, the Urban Community of Lyon was split from Rhône to form the Métropole de Lyon, a sui generis entity, with the powers of both an intercommunality and those of a department on its territory, formally classified as a "territorial collectivity with particular status" (French : collectivité territoriale à statut particulier) and as such not belonging to any department. As of 2019, Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse are still administrative departments, although they no longer have the status of departmental "territorial collectivities": region and department functions have been managed by a "single territorial collectivity" since 2018.

Despite the intention to avoid the old nomenclature, often the names of pre-1790 provinces remained in use. For example, the name of Berry, though no longer having an official status, remains up to the present in widespread use in daily life.

General characteristics

Government and administration

Administrative divisions of France Administration territoriale francaise.svg
Administrative divisions of France

The departmental seat of government is known as the prefecture (préfecture) or chef-lieu de département and is generally a town of some importance roughly at the geographical centre of the department. This was determined according to the time taken to travel on horseback from the periphery of the department. The goal was for the prefecture to be accessible on horseback from any town in the department within 24 hours. The prefecture is not necessarily the largest city in the department: for instance, in Saône-et-Loire department the capital is Mâcon, but the largest city is Chalon-sur-Saône. Departments may be divided into arrondissements . The capital of an arrondissement is called a subprefecture (sous-préfecture) or chef-lieu d'arrondissement.

Each department is administered by a departmental council (conseil départemental), an assembly elected for six years by universal suffrage, with the President of the Departmental Council as executive of the department. Before 1982, the chief executive of the department was the prefect (préfet), who represents the Government of France in each department and is appointed by the President of the French Republic. The prefect is assisted by one or more sub-prefects (sous-préfet) based in the subprefectures of the department. Since 1982, the prefect retains only the powers that are not delegated to the department councils. In practice, their role has been largely limited to preventing local policy from conflicting with national policy.

The departments are further divided into communes, governed by municipal councils. As of 2013, there were 36,681 communes in France. In the overseas territories, some communes play a role at departmental level. Paris, the country's capital city, is a commune as well as a department.

Population density in the departments (2007). The broken lines mark the approximate boundaries of the empty diagonal. The solid line is the Le Havre-Marseille line, to the east of which lives 60% of the French population. Carte demographique de la France.svg
Population density in the departments (2007). The broken lines mark the approximate boundaries of the empty diagonal. The solid line is the Le Havre-Marseille line, to the east of which lives 60% of the French population.

In continental France (metropolitan France, excluding Corsica), the median land area of a department is 5,965 km2 (2,303 sq mi), which is two-and-a-half times the median land area of the ceremonial counties of England and the preserved counties of Wales and slightly more than three-and-half times the median land area of a county of the United States. At the 2001 census, the median population of a department in continental France was 511,000 inhabitants, which is 21 times the median population of a United States county, but less than two-thirds of the median population of a ceremonial county of England and Wales. Most of the departments have an area of between 4,000 and 8,000 km2 (1500 to 3000 sq. mi.), and a population between 320,000 and 1 million. The largest in area is Gironde (10,000 km2; 4000 sq. mi.), while the smallest is the city of Paris (105 km2; 40 sq. mi.). The most populous is Nord (2,550,000) and the least populous is Lozère (74,000).

Numbering

The departments are numbered: their two-digit numbers appear in postal codes, in INSEE codes (including "social security numbers") and on vehicle number plates. Initially, the numbers corresponded to the alphabetical order of the names of the departments, but several changed their names, so the correspondence became less exact. Alphanumeric codes 2A and 2B were used for Corsica while it was split but it has since reverted to 20. The two-digit code "98" is used by Monaco. Together with the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code FR, the numbers form the ISO 3166-2 country subdivision codes for the metropolitan departments. The overseas departments get three digits.

Relation to national government

Originally, the relationship between the departments and the central government was left somewhat ambiguous. While citizens in each department elected their own officials, the local governments were subordinated to the central government, becoming instruments of national integration. By 1793, however, the revolutionary government had turned the departments into transmission belts for policies enacted in Paris. With few exceptions, the departments had this role until the early 1960s.

Party political preferences

These maps cannot be used as a useful resource of voter preferences, because Departmental Councils are elected on a two-round system, which drastically limits the chances of fringe parties, if they are not supported on one of the two rounds by a moderate party. After the 1992 election, the left had a majority in only 21 of the 100 departments; after the 2011 election, the left dominated 61 of the 100 departments. (Mayotte only became a department after the election.)

Key to the parties:

Future

The removal of one or more levels of local government has been discussed for some years; in particular, the option of removing the departmental level. Frédéric Lefebvre, spokesman for the UMP, said in December 2008 that the fusion of the departments with the regions was a matter to be dealt with soon. This was soon refuted by Édouard Balladur and Gérard Longuet, members of the committee for the reform of local authorities, known as the Balladur Committee. [18]

In January 2008, the Attali Commission recommended that the departmental level of government should be eliminated within ten years. [19]

Nevertheless, the Balladur Committee has not retained this proposition and does not advocate the disappearance of the departments, but simply "favors the voluntary grouping of departments", which it suggests also for the regions, with the aim of reducing the number of regions to 15. [20] This committee advocates, on the contrary, the suppression of the cantons. [20]

Maps and tables

Current departments

Each department has a coat of arms and a flag with which it is commonly associated, though not all are officially recognised or used.

INSEE code Arms 1 Date of establishmentDepartmentCapitalRegionNamed after
01 Blason departement fr Ain.svg 26 February 1790 Ain Bourg-en-Bresse Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Ain (river)
02 Blason departement fr Aisne.svg 26 February 1790 Aisne Laon Proposed design for a flag of Hauts-de-France.svg  Hauts-de-France Aisne (river)
03 Blason dpt fr Allier.svg 26 February 1790 Allier Moulins Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Allier (river)
04 Blason departement Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.svg 26 February 1790 Alpes-de-Haute-Provence 2 Digne-les-Bains Flag of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur.svg  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Alps mountains and Provence region
05 Blason dpt fr HautesAlpes.svg 26 February 1790 Hautes-Alpes Gap Flag of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur.svg  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Alps mountains
06 Nice Arms.svg 26 February 1790 Alpes-Maritimes Nice Flag of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur.svg  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Alps mountains
07 Blason dpt fr Ardeche.svg 26 February 1790 Ardèche Privas Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Ardèche (river)
08 Blason departement fr Ardennes.svg 26 February 1790 Ardennes Charleville-Mézières Proposed design for a flag of Grand Est.svg  Grand Est Ardennes Forest
09 Blason dpt fr Ariege.svg 26 February 1790 Ariège Foix Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Ariège (river)
10 Blason departement fr Aube.svg 26 February 1790 Aube Troyes Proposed design for a flag of Grand Est.svg  Grand Est Aube (river)
11 Blason dpt fr Aude.svg 26 February 1790 Aude Carcassonne Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Aude (river)
12 Blason Rouergue.svg 26 February 1790 Aveyron Rodez Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Aveyron (river)
13 Blason departement fr Bouches-du-Rhone.svg 26 February 1790 Bouches-du-Rhône Marseille Flag of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur.svg  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Rhône (river)
14 Blason departement fr Calvados.svg 26 February 1790 Calvados Caen Flag of Normandie.svg  Normandy Latin calva dorsa ("bare backs"), referring to two offshore rocks
15 Blason dpt fr Cantal.svg 26 February 1790 Cantal Aurillac Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Mounts of Cantal
16 Blason departement fr Charente.svg 26 February 1790 Charente Angoulême Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Charente (river)
17 Blason departement fr Charente-Maritime.svg 26 February 1790 Charente-Maritime 3 La Rochelle Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Charente (river)
18 Blason dpt fr Cher.svg 26 February 1790 Cher Bourges Flag of Centre-Val de Loire.svg  Centre-Val de Loire Cher (river)
19 Blason departement fr Correze.svg 26 February 1790 Corrèze Tulle Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Corrèze (river)
2A Blason de Corse.svg 1 January 1979 Corse-du-Sud 19 Ajaccio Flag of Corsica.svg  Corsica Island of Corsica and South cardinal direction
2B Blason de Corse.svg 1 January 1979 Haute-Corse 19 Bastia Flag of Corsica.svg  Corsica Island of Corsica
21 Blason departement fr Cote-d'Or.svg 26 February 1790 Côte-d'Or Dijon Flag of the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comte.svg  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Autumn color of Burgundy vineyards ("Golden Slope").
22 Blason departement fr Cotes-d'Armor.svg 26 February 1790 Côtes-d'Armor 4 Saint-Brieuc Flag of Brittany (Gwenn ha du).svg Brittany coasts of Armorica
23 Blason Bourbon-La Marche.svg 26 February 1790 Creuse Guéret Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Creuse (river)
24 Blason Dordogne 1.svg 26 February 1790 Dordogne Périgueux Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Dordogne (river)
25 Blason departement fr Doubs.svg 26 February 1790 Doubs Besançon Flag of the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comte.svg  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Doubs (river)
26 Blason departement fr Drome.svg 26 February 1790 Drôme Valence Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Drôme (river)
27 Blason departement fr Eure.svg 26 February 1790 Eure Évreux Flag of Normandie.svg  Normandy Eure (river)
28 Blason departement fr Eure-et-Loir.svg 26 February 1790 Eure-et-Loir Chartres Flag of Centre-Val de Loire.svg  Centre-Val de Loire Eure and Loir rivers
29 Blason departement fr Finistere.svg 26 February 1790 Finistère Quimper Flag of Brittany (Gwenn ha du).svg Brittany Latin Finis Terrae ("end of earth")
30 Blason departement fr Gard.svg 26 February 1790 Gard Nîmes Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Occitan name for Gardon river
31 Blason departement fr Haute-Garonne.svg 26 February 1790 Haute-Garonne Toulouse Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Garonne (river)
32 Blason dpt fr Gers.svg 26 February 1790 Gers Auch Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Gers (river)
33 Blason departement fr Gironde.svg 26 February 1790 Gironde 5 Bordeaux Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Gironde estuary
34 Blason departement fr Herault.svg 26 February 1790 Hérault Montpellier Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Hérault (river)
35 Blason departement fr Ille-et-Vilaine.svg 26 February 1790 Ille-et-Vilaine Rennes Flag of Brittany (Gwenn ha du).svg Brittany Ille and Vilaine rivers
36 Blason departement fr Indre.svg 26 February 1790 Indre Châteauroux Flag of Centre-Val de Loire.svg  Centre-Val de Loire Indre (river)
37 Blason departement fr Indre-et-Loire.svg 26 February 1790 Indre-et-Loire Tours Flag of Centre-Val de Loire.svg  Centre-Val de Loire Indre and Loire rivers
38 Blason departement Isere.svg 26 February 1790 Isère Grenoble Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Isère (river)
39 Blason departement fr Jura.svg 26 February 1790 Jura Lons-le-Saunier Flag of the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comte.svg  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Jura Mountains
40 Blason dpt fr Landes.svg 26 February 1790 Landes Mont-de-Marsan Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Heathlands (lande) that dominated the region at the time
41 Blason departement fr Loir-et-Cher.svg 26 February 1790 Loir-et-Cher Blois Flag of Centre-Val de Loire.svg  Centre-Val de Loire Loir and Cher rivers
42 Blason departement Loire.svg 12 August 1793 Loire Saint-Étienne Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Loire (river)
43 Blason dpt fr Haute-Loire.svg 26 February 1790 Haute-Loire Le Puy-en-Velay Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Loire (river)
44 Blason dpt fr LoireAtlantique dapres Robert Louis.svg 26 February 1790 Loire-Atlantique 6 Nantes Pays-de-la-Loire flag.svg  Pays de la Loire Loire (river) and Atlantic Ocean
45 Blason departement fr Loiret.svg 26 February 1790 Loiret Orléans Flag of Centre-Val de Loire.svg  Centre-Val de Loire Loiret (river)
46 Blason departement fr Lot.svg 26 February 1790 Lot Cahors Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Lot (river)
47 Blason departement fr Lot-et-Garonne.svg 26 February 1790 Lot-et-Garonne Agen Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Lot and Garonne rivers
48 Blason departement fr Lozere.svg 26 February 1790 Lozère Mende Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Mont Lozère
49 Blason departement Maine-et-Loire.svg 26 February 1790 Maine-et-Loire 7 Angers Pays-de-la-Loire flag.svg  Pays de la Loire Maine and Loire rivers
50 Blason departement fr Manche.svg 26 February 1790 Manche Saint-Lô Flag of Normandie.svg  Normandy English Channel
51 Blason departement Marne.svg 26 February 1790 Marne Châlons-en-Champagne Proposed design for a flag of Grand Est.svg  Grand Est Marne (river)
52 Blason departement fr Haute-Marne.svg 26 February 1790 Haute-Marne Chaumont Proposed design for a flag of Grand Est.svg  Grand Est Marne (river)
53 Blason departement fr Mayenne.svg 26 February 1790 Mayenne Laval Pays-de-la-Loire flag.svg  Pays de la Loire Mayenne (river)
54 Blason Meurthe-et-Moselle.svg 7 September 1871 Meurthe-et-Moselle Nancy Proposed design for a flag of Grand Est.svg  Grand Est Meurthe and Moselle rivers
55 Blason Meuse.svg 26 February 1790 Meuse Bar-le-Duc Proposed design for a flag of Grand Est.svg  Grand Est Meuse (river)
56 Blason departement Morbihan.svg 26 February 1790 Morbihan Vannes Flag of Brittany (Gwenn ha du).svg Brittany Gulf of Morbihan
57 Blason Moselle.svg 26 February 1790 Moselle Metz Proposed design for a flag of Grand Est.svg  Grand Est Moselle (river)
58 Blason dpt fr Nievre.svg 26 February 1790 Nièvre Nevers Flag of the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comte.svg  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Nièvre (river)
59 Blason Nord-Pas-De-Calais.svg 26 February 1790 Nord Lille Proposed design for a flag of Hauts-de-France.svg  Hauts-de-France North cardinal direction
60 Blason departement fr Oise.svg 26 February 1790 Oise Beauvais Proposed design for a flag of Hauts-de-France.svg  Hauts-de-France Oise (river)
61 Blason departement fr Orne.svg 26 February 1790 Orne Alençon Flag of Normandie.svg  Normandy Orne (river)
62 Pas de Calais Arms.svg 26 February 1790 Pas-de-Calais Arras Proposed design for a flag of Hauts-de-France.svg  Hauts-de-France Strait of Dover
63 Blason dpt fr Puy-de-Dome.svg 26 February 1790 Puy-de-Dôme Clermont-Ferrand Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Puy de Dôme volcano
64 Blason des Pyrenees-Atlantiques.svg 26 February 1790 Pyrénées-Atlantiques 8 Pau Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Pyrenees mountains and Atlantic Ocean
65 Blason dpt fr HautesPyrenees.svg 26 February 1790 Hautes-Pyrénées Tarbes Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Pyrenees mountains
66 Arms of the Pyrenees-Orientales.svg 26 February 1790 Pyrénées-Orientales Perpignan Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Pyrenees mountains and East cardinal direction
67 Blason departement fr Bas-Rhin.svg 26 February 1790 Bas-Rhin Strasbourg Proposed design for a flag of Grand Est.svg  Grand Est Rhine (river)
68 Blason Haut Rhin.svg 26 February 1790 Haut-Rhin Colmar Proposed design for a flag of Grand Est.svg  Grand Est Rhine (river)
69D Blason dpt fr Rhone.svg 12 August 1793 Rhône Lyon (provisional)Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Rhône (river)
69M Blason Ville fr Lyon.svg 1 January 2015 Lyon Metropolis 18 Lyon Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes commune of Lyon
70 Blason dpt fr Haute-Saone.svg 26 February 1790 Haute-Saône Vesoul Flag of the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comte.svg  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Saône (river)
71 Blason departement fr Saone-et-Loire.svg 26 February 1790 Saône-et-Loire Mâcon Flag of the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comte.svg  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Saône and Loire rivers
72 Blason dpt fr Sarthe.svg 26 February 1790 Sarthe Le Mans Pays-de-la-Loire flag.svg  Pays de la Loire Sarthe (river)
73 Savoie Blason.svg 15 June 1860 Savoie Chambéry Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Savoy
74 Haute Savoie blason.svg 15 June 1860 Haute-Savoie Annecy Flag of the region Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes.svg  Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Savoy
75 Blason paris 75.svg 1 January 1968 Paris 9 Paris IDF flag.svg  Île-de-France commune of Paris
76 Blason76.svg 26 February 1790 Seine-Maritime 10 Rouen Flag of Normandie.svg  Normandy Seine (river)
77 Blason departement fr Seine-et-Marne.svg 26 February 1790 Seine-et-Marne Melun IDF flag.svg  Île-de-France Seine and Marne rivers
78 Blason departement fr Yvelines.svg 1 January 1968 Yvelines 11 Versailles IDF flag.svg  Île-de-France Forest of Yvelines
79 Blason departement fr Deux-Sevres.svg 26 February 1790 Deux-Sèvres Niort Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Sèvre Nantaise and Sèvre Niortaise rivers
80 Blason departement fr Somme.svg 26 February 1790 Somme Amiens Proposed design for a flag of Hauts-de-France.svg  Hauts-de-France Somme (river)
81 Blason dpt fr Tarn.svg 26 February 1790 Tarn Albi Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Tarn (river)
82 Blason departement fr Tarn-et-Garonne.svg 4 November 1808 Tarn-et-Garonne Montauban Flag of Occitanie.svg  Occitanie Tarn and Garonne rivers
83 Blason departement Var.svg 26 February 1790 Var Toulon Flag of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur.svg  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Var (river)
84 Blason departement fr Vaucluse.svg 25 June 1793 Vaucluse Avignon Flag of Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur.svg  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Fontaine de Vaucluse spring
85 Blason dpt fr 85 Vendee.svg 26 February 1790 Vendée La Roche-sur-Yon Pays-de-la-Loire flag.svg  Pays de la Loire Vendée (river)
86 Blason departement fr Vienne.svg 26 February 1790 Vienne Poitiers Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Vienne (river)
87 Blason departement fr Haute-Vienne.svg 26 February 1790 Haute-Vienne Limoges Flag of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.svg  Nouvelle-Aquitaine Vienne (river)
88 Blason departement fr Vosges.svg 26 February 1790 Vosges Épinal Proposed design for a flag of Grand Est.svg  Grand Est Vosges Mountains
89 Blason departement fr Yonne.svg 26 February 1790 Yonne Auxerre Flag of the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comte.svg  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Yonne (river)
90 Blason departement fr Territoire de Belfort.svg 11 March 1922 Territoire de Belfort Belfort Flag of the region Bourgogne-Franche-Comte.svg  Bourgogne-Franche-Comté commune of Belfort
91 Blason departement fr Essonne.svg 1 January 1968 Essonne 12 Évry IDF flag.svg  Île-de-France Essonne (river)
92 Blason departement fr Hauts-de-Seine.svg 1 January 1968 Hauts-de-Seine 13 Nanterre IDF flag.svg  Île-de-France Seine (river)
93 Blason departement fr Seine-Saint-Denis.svg 1 January 1968 Seine-Saint-Denis 14 Bobigny IDF flag.svg  Île-de-France Seine (river) and commune of Saint-Denis
94 Blason departement fr Val-de-Marne.svg 1 January 1968 Val-de-Marne Créteil IDF flag.svg  Île-de-France Marne (river)
95 Blason departement fr Val-d'Oise.svg 1 January 1968 Val-d'Oise Pontoise 15 IDF flag.svg  Île-de-France Oise (river)
971 Coat of arms of Guadeloupe.svg 19 March 1946 Guadeloupe 16 Basse-Terre Flag of Guadeloupe (local).svg  Guadeloupe Island of Guadeloupe
972 Coat of arms of Martinique.svg 19 March 1946 Martinique 16 Fort-de-France Flag of the Front National de Liberation de la Martinique.svg  Martinique Island of Martinique
973 Blason de la Guyane.svg 19 March 1946 Guyane 16 Cayenne Flag of French Guiana.svg  French Guiana The Guianas
974 Blason Reunion DOM.svg 19 March 1946 La Réunion 16 Saint-Denis Proposed flag of Reunion (VAR).svg  Réunion Island of Réunion
976 Coat of Arms of Mayotte.svg 9 August 2009
31 March 2011 [21]
Mayotte 17 Mamoudzou Flag of Mayotte (Local).svg  Mayotte Island of Mayotte
Notes:
  • ^1 Most of the coats of arms are unofficial
  • ^2 Alpes-de-Haute-Provence was known as Basses-Alpes ('Lower Alps') until 1970
  • ^3 Charente-Maritime was known as Charente-Inférieure ('Lower Charente') until 1941
  • ^4 Côtes-d'Armor was known as Côtes-du-Nord ('Coasts of the North') until 1990
  • ^5 Gironde was known as Bec-d'Ambès ('Beak of Ambès') from 1793 until 1795. The Convention eliminated the name to avoid recalling the outlawed Girondin political faction.
  • ^6 Loire-Atlantique was known as Loire-Inférieure ('Lower Loire') until 1957
  • ^7 Maine-et-Loire was known as Mayenne-et-Loire (Mayenne and Loire rivers) until 1791
  • ^8 Pyrénées-Atlantiques was known as Basses-Pyrénées ('Lower Pyrenees') until 1969
  • ^9 Number 75 was formerly assigned to Seine
  • ^10 Seine-Maritime was known as Seine-Inférieure ('Lower Seine') until 1955
  • ^11 Number 78 was formerly assigned to Seine-et-Oise
  • ^12 Number 91 was formerly assigned to Alger, in French Algeria
  • ^13 Number 92 was formerly assigned to Oran, in French Algeria
  • ^14 Number 93 was formerly assigned to Constantine, in French Algeria
  • ^15 The prefecture of Val-d'Oise was established in Pontoise when the department was created, but moved de facto to the neighbouring commune of Cergy; currently, both part of the ville nouvelle of Cergy-Pontoise
  • ^16 The overseas departments each constitute a region and enjoy a status identical to metropolitan France. They are part of France and the European Union, though special EU rules apply to them.
  • ^17 Mayotte became the 101st department of France on 31 March 2011. The INSEE code of Mayotte is 976 (975 is already assigned to the French overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon)
  • ^18 Metropoles with territorial collectivity statute.
  • ^19 Corsica was divided into two departments (Golo and Liamone) from 1793 to 1811, and again into two departments (Corse-du-Sud, number 2A, and Haute-Corse, number 2B) in 1975. As of 2019, Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse are still administrative departments, although they no longer have the status of departmental "territorial collectivities": region and department functions have been managed by a "single territorial collectivity" since 2018.
Regions and departments of metropolitan France; the numbers are those of the first column (except for Corsica, which shows the division of the island until 2018, and the division of the Metropolis of Lyon from Rhone is not shown). Departements de France English.svg
Regions and departments of metropolitan France; the numbers are those of the first column (except for Corsica, which shows the division of the island until 2018, and the division of the Metropolis of Lyon from Rhône is not shown).
The departments in the immediate vicinity of Paris; the numbers are those of the first column Petite couronne-2.svg
The departments in the immediate vicinity of Paris; the numbers are those of the first column

Former departments

Former departments of the current territory of France

No.DepartmentPrefectureDates in existenceNamed afterSubsequent history
Rhône-et-Loire Lyon 1790–1793 Rhône and Loire riversDivided into Rhône and Loire.
Corsica Bastia 1790–1793Island of Corsica Divided into Golo and Liamone.
Golo Bastia 1793–1811 Golo (river) Reunited with Liamone into Corsica.
Liamone Ajaccio 1793–1811 Liamone (river) Reunited with Golo into Corsica.
Mont-Blanc Chambéry 1792–1815 Mont Blanc mountainFormed from part of the Duchy of Savoy, a territory of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia which was restored to its former status after Napoleon's defeat. The territory returned to French rule in 1860 and it corresponds approximately to the present departments Savoie and Haute-Savoie.
Léman Geneva 1798–1814 Lake Geneva Formed when the Republic of Geneva was annexed into the First French Empire and added to territory taken from several other departments. Corresponds to the present Swiss canton and parts of the current departments Ain and Haute-Savoie.
Meurthe Nancy 1790–1871 Meurthe (river) Ceased to exist following the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by the German Empire in 1871 and was not recreated after the province was restored to France by the Treaty of Versailles.
75 Seine Paris 1790–1967 Seine (river) Divided into four new departments on 1 January 1968: Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne (the last also incorporating a small amount of territory from Seine-et-Oise).
78 Seine-et-Oise Versailles 1790–1967 Seine and Oise riversDivided into four new departments on 1 January 1968: Yvelines, Val-d'Oise, Essonne, Val-de-Marne (the last largely comprising territory from Seine).
20 Corsica Ajaccio 1811–1975Island of Corsica Divided into Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse.
975 Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint-Pierre 1976–1985Islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon Converted to an overseas collectivity.

Departments of Algeria (Départements d'Algérie)

The three Algerian departments in 1848 Algerie fr.jpg
The three Algerian departments in 1848
Departments of French Algeria from 1957 to 1962 Map showing the Departements of Algeria from 1962-1968 and 1968-1974.svg
Departments of French Algeria from 1957 to 1962

Unlike the rest of the French possessions in Africa, Algeria was divided into overseas departments from 1848 until its independence in 1962. These departments were supposed to be "assimilated" or "integrated" to France sometime in the future.

Before 1957
No.DepartmentPrefectureDates of existence
91 Alger Algiers (1848–1957)
92 Oran Oran (1848–1957)
93 Constantine Constantine (1848–1957)
Bône Annaba (1955–1957)
1957–1962
No.DepartmentPrefectureDates of existence
8A Oasis Ouargla (1957–1962)
8B Saoura Béchar (1957–1962)
9A Alger Algiers(1957–1962)
9B Batna Batna (1957–1962)
9C Bône Annaba(1955–1962)
9D Constantine Constantine1957–1962
9E Médéa Médéa (1957–1962)
9F Mostaganem Mostaganem (1957–1962)
9GOranOran(1957–1962)
9H Orléansville Chlef (1957–1962)
9J Sétif Sétif (1957–1962)
9K Tiaret Tiaret (1957–1962)
9L Tizi Ouzou Tizi Ouzou (1957–1962)
9M Tlemcen Tlemcen (1957–1962)
9N Aumale Sour El-Ghozlane (1958–1959)
9P Bougie Béjaïa (1958–1962)
9R Saïda Saïda (1958–1962)

Departments in former French colonies

DepartmentNamed afterCurrent locationDates in existence
Département du Sud  [ fr ] South cardinal direction Haiti 1795–1800
Département d'Inganne  [ fr ] Dominican Republic, Haiti 1795–1800
Département du Nord  [ fr ] North cardinal direction Haiti 1795–1800
Département de l'Ouest  [ fr ] West cardinal direction Haiti 1795–1800
Département de Samana  [ fr ] Samaná Bay Dominican Republic 1795–1800
Saint Lucia Island of St Lucia Saint Lucia, Tobago 1795–1800
Île de France Island of Mauritius Mauritius, Seychelles 1795–1800
Indes-Orientales India and East cardinal directionIndia:
Pondicherry Union Territory ( Pondichéry, Karikal, Yanaon, Mahé )
West Bengal ( Chandernagore )
1795–1800

Departments of the Napoleonic Empire in Europe

There are a number of former departments in territories conquered by France during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Empire that are now not part of France:

DepartmentPrefecture
(French name
if different)
Named afterCurrent location1Contemporary location2Dates in existence
Mont-Terrible Porrentruy Mont Terri mountainSwitzerland
France (Doubs)
Holy Roman Empire:
Prince-Bishopric of Basel 3
County of Montbéliard
1793–1800
Dyle Brussels
Bruxelles
Dyle (river) Belgium Austrian Netherlands:
Duchy of Brabant
County of Hainaut
1795–1814
Escaut Ghent
Gand
Scheldt riverBelgium
Netherlands
Austrian Netherlands:
County of Flanders

Dutch Republic:

Flanders of the States
1795–1814
Forêts Luxembourg Ardennes forest Luxembourg
Belgium
Germany
Austrian Netherlands:
Duchy of Luxembourg
1795–1814
Jemmape Mons Battle of Jemappes Belgium Austrian Netherlands:
County of Hainaut
Lordship of Tournai
County of Namur

Holy Roman Empire:

Prince-Bishopric of Liège
1795–1814
Lys Bruges Lys (river) Austrian Netherlands:
County of Flanders
1795–1814
Meuse-Inférieure Maastricht
Maëstricht
Meuse riverBelgium
Netherlands
Austrian Netherlands:
Austrian Upper Guelders
Duchy of Limburg

Dutch Republic:

Dutch Upper Guelders
Overmaas of the States

Holy Roman Empire:

Prince-Bishopric of Liège:
County of Horne
County of Loon
Thorn Abbey
Maastricht 5
1795–1814
Deux-Nèthes Antwerp
Anvers
Two branches of the Nete (river) Austrian Netherlands:
Duchy of Brabant

Dutch Republic:

Brabant of the States (after 1810)
1795–1814
Ourthe Liège Ourthe riverBelgium
Germany
Austrian Netherlands:
Duchy of Brabant
Duchy of Limburg
Duchy of Luxembourg
County of Namur

Holy Roman Empire:

Prince-Bishopric of Liège
Imperial Abbey of Stavelot-Malmedy
1795–1814
Sambre-et-Meuse Namur Sambre and Meuse riversBelgium Austrian Netherlands:
Duchy of Brabant
Duchy of Luxembourg

Holy Roman Empire:

Prince-Bishopric of Liège
1795–1814
Corcyre Corfu
Corfou
Island of Corfu
(archaic French form)
Greece Republic of Venice 41797–1799
Ithaque Argostoli Island of Ithaca 1797–1798
Mer-Égée Zakynthos
Zante
Aegean Sea 1797–1798
Mont-Tonnerre Mainz
Mayence
Donnersberg mountainGermany Holy Roman Empire:
Archbishopric of Mainz

Electorate of the Palatinate

Bishopric of Speyer
1801–1814
Rhin-et-Moselle Koblenz
Coblence
Rhine and Moselle rivers Holy Roman Empire:
Archbishopric of Cologne

Electorate of the Palatinate

Archbishopric of Trier
1801–1814
Roer Aachen
Aix-la-Chapelle
Roer riverGermany
Netherlands
Holy Roman Empire:
Free Imperial City of Aachen
Archbishopric of Cologne
Electorate of the Palatinate:
Grand Duchy of Berg
Duchy of Jülich

Kingdom of Prussia:

Prussian Guelders

Imperial Free City of Wesel (after 1805)

1801–1814
Sarre Trier
Trèves
Saar (river) Belgium
Germany
Holy Roman Empire:
Electorate of the Palatinate:
County of Veldenz
Duchy of Zweibrücken
Archbishopric of Trier
1801–1814
Doire Ivrea
Ivrée
Dora Baltea riverItaly Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia:
Duchy of Savoy
1802–1814
Marengo Alessandria
Alexandrie
Battle of Marengo 1802–1814
Turin Po (river) 1802–1814
Sésia Vercelli
Verceil
Sesia river1802–1814
Stura Cuneo
Coni
Stura di Demonte river1802–1814
Tanaro 6 Asti Tanaro (river) 1802–1805
Apennins Chiavari Apennine mountains Republic of Genoa 71805–1814
Gênes Genoa
Gênes
City of Genoa1805–1814
Montenotte Savona
Savone
Battle of Montenotte 1805–1814
Arno Florence Arno (river) Grand Duchy of Tuscany 81808–1814
Méditerranée Livorno
Livourne
Mediterranean Sea 1808–1814
Ombrone Siena
Sienne
Ombrone river1808–1814
Taro Parma
Parme
Taro (river) Holy Roman Empire:
Duchy of Parma & Piacenza
1808–1814
Rome 9 Rome City of Rome Papal States 1809–1814
Trasimène Spoleto
Spolète
Lake Trasimeno 1809–1814
Bouches-du-Rhin 's-Hertogenbosch
Bois-le-Duc
Rhine riverNetherlands Dutch Republic:10
Batavian Brabant (Brabant of the States)
Dutch Guelders
1810–1814
Bouches-de-l'Escaut Middelburg
Middelbourg
Scheldt river Dutch Republic:10
County of Zeeland
1810–1814
Simplon Sion Simplon Pass Switzerland République des Sept-Dizains 111810–1814
Bouches-de-la-Meuse The Hague
La Haye
Meuse riverNetherlands Dutch Republic:10
County of Holland
1811–1814
Bouches-de-l'Yssel Zwolle IJssel river Dutch Republic:10
Overijssel
1811–1814
Ems-Occidental Groningen
Groningue
Ems (river) Netherlands
Germany
Dutch Republic:10
Dutch Upper Guelders
1811–1814
Ems-Oriental Aurich Ems (river) Germany Holy Roman Empire:
Kingdom of Prussia:
County of East Frisia 10
1811–1814
Frise Leeuwarden
Leuwarden
Friesland regionNetherlands Dutch Republic:10
Friesland
1811–1814
Yssel-Supérieur Arnhem IJssel river Dutch Republic:10
Dutch Upper Guelders
1811–1814
Zuyderzée Amsterdam Zuiderzee inlet Dutch Republic:10
County of Holland
Lordship of Utrecht
1811–1814
Bouches-de-l'Elbe Hamburg
Hambourg
Elbe riverGermany Holy Roman Empire:
Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg
Electorate of Hanover
Free Hanseatic City of Lübeck
1811–1814
Bouches-du-Weser Bremen
Brême
Weser river Holy Roman Empire:
Free Hanseatic City of Bremen
Electorate of Hanover
Duchy of Oldenburg
1811–1814
Ems-Supérieur Osnabrück Ems (river) Holy Roman Empire:
Electorate of Hanover
Bishopric of Osnabrück
Kingdom of Prussia:
Town and County of Lingen
Principality of Minden
County of Ravensberg
1811–1814
Lippe 12 Münster
Munster
Lippe (river) Holy Roman Empire:
Bishopric of Münster
Electorate of the Palatinate:
Grand Duchy of Berg
1811–1814
Bouches-de-l'Èbre Lleida
Lérida
Ebro river Spain Kingdom of Spain:
Catalonia
1812–1813
Montserrat Barcelona
Barcelone
Montserrat (mountain) 1812–1813
Sègre Puigcerdà
Puigcerda
Segre (river) 1812–1813
Ter Girona
Gérone
Ter (river) 1812–1813
Bouches-de-l'Èbre-Montserrat Barcelona
Barcelone
Ebro river and Montserrat mountainPreviously the departments of Bouches-de-l'Èbre and Montserrat1813–1814
Sègre-Ter Girona
Gérone
Segre and Ter riversPreviously the departments of Sègre and Ter1813–1814

Notes for Table 7:

  1. Where a Napoleonic department was composed of parts from more than one country, the nation-state containing the prefecture is listed. Please expand this table to list all countries containing significant parts of the department.
  2. Territories that were a part of Austrian Netherlands were also a part of Holy Roman Empire.
  3. The Bishopric of Basel was a German Prince-Bishopric, not to be confused with the adjacent Swiss Canton of Basel.
  4. The Ionian Islands were annexed by France after the Fall of the Republic of Venice. They were lost to France, becoming the Septinsular Republic, a Russo-Ottoman vassal state, from 1800 to 1807, before reverting to France at the Treaty of Tilsit. The second period of French rule lasted until 1810/14, after which these territories became a British protectorate, as the United States of the Ionian Islands
  5. Maastricht was a condominium of the Dutch Republic and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège.
  6. On 6 June 1805, as a result of the annexation of the Ligurian Republic (the puppet successor state to the Republic of Genoa), Tanaro was abolished and its territory divided between the departments of Marengo, Montenotte and Stura.
  7. Before becoming the department of Apennins, the Republic of Genoa was converted to a puppet successor state, the Ligurian Republic.
  8. Before becoming the department of Arno, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was converted to a puppet successor state, the Kingdom of Etruria.
  9. Rome was known as the department du Tibre until 1810.
  10. Before becoming the departments of Bouches-du-Rhin, Bouches-de-l'Escaut, Bouches-de-la-Meuse, Bouches-de-l'Yssel, Ems-Occidental, Frise, Yssel-Supérieur and Zuyderzée, these territories of the Dutch Republic were converted to a puppet successor state, the Batavian Republic (1795–1806), then those territories that had not already been annexed (all except the first two departments here), along with the Prussian County of East Frisia, were converted to another puppet state, the Kingdom of Holland.
  11. Before becoming the department of Simplon, the République des Sept Dizains was converted to a revolutionary République du Valais (16 March 1798) which was swiftly incorporated (1 May 1798) into the puppet Helvetic Republic until 1802 when it became the independent Rhodanic Republic.
  12. In the months before Lippe was formed, the arrondissements of Rees and Münster were part of Yssel-Supérieur, the arrondissement of Steinfurt was part of Bouches-de-l'Yssel and the arrondissement of Neuenhaus was part of Ems-Occidental.

See also

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  17. "Départements 1867". crohee.chez.com. Retrieved 5 November 2021.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  18. "La fusion département-région n'est pas à l'ordre du jour". L'Express. Retrieved 21 July 2011.
  19. Report of the Attali Commission [ permanent dead link ] "Decision 260", p. 197 (in French)
  20. 1 2 "Les 20 propositions du Comité (20 propositions of the Committee)" (in French). Committee for the reform of local authorities. Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 11 November 2009.
  21. "Mayotte - Histoire". Ministère des Outre-mer. 25 November 2016. Archived from the original on 20 October 2021. Retrieved 20 October 2021.