Provinces of France

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The Kingdom of France was organized into provinces until March 4, 1790, when the establishment of the department (French: département) system superseded provinces. The provinces of France were roughly equivalent to the historic counties of England. They came into their final form over the course of many hundreds of years, as many dozens of semi-independent fiefs and former independent countries came to be incorporated into the French royal domain. Because of the haphazard manner in which the provinces evolved, each had its own sets of feudal traditions, laws, taxation systems, courts, etc., and the system represented an impediment to effective administration of the entire country from Paris. During the early years of the French Revolution, in an attempt to centralize the administration of the whole country, and to remove the influence of the French nobility over the country, the entirety of the province system was abolished and replaced by the system of departments in use today.

Kingdom of France kingdom in Western Europe from 843 to 1791

The Kingdom of France was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe. It was one of the most powerful states in Europe and a great power since the Late Middle Ages and the Hundred Years' War. It was also an early colonial power, with possessions around the world.

A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman provincia, which was the major territorial and administrative unit of the Roman Empire's territorial possessions outside Italy. The term province has since been adopted by many countries. In some countries with no actual provinces, "the provinces" is a metaphorical term meaning "outside the capital city".

In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, and five are overseas departments, which are also classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; the last two have no autonomy, and are used for the organisation of police, fire departments, and sometimes, elections.

Contents

In some cases, several modern regions or departments share names with the historic provinces, and their borders may cover roughly the same territory.

Regions of France France top-level territorial subdivision

France is divided into 18 administrative regions, 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 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.

List of former provinces of France

The list below shows the major provinces of France at the time of their dissolution during the French Revolution. Capital cities are shown in parentheses. Bold indicates a city that was also the seat of a judicial and quasi-legislative body called either a parlement (not to be confused with a parliament) or a conseil souverain (sovereign council). In some cases, this body met in a different city from the capital.

Parlement Ancien Régime justice court

A parlement, in the Ancien Régime of France, was a provincial appellate court. In 1789, France had 13 parlements, the most important of which was the Parlement of Paris. While the English word parliament derives from this French term, parlements were not legislative bodies. They consisted of a dozen or more appellate judges, or about 1,100 judges nationwide. They were the court of final appeal of the judicial system, and typically wielded much power over a wide range of subject matter, particularly taxation. Laws and edicts issued by the Crown were not official in their respective jurisdictions until the parlements gave their assent by publishing them. The members were aristocrats called nobles of the gown who had bought or inherited their offices, and were independent of the King.

French Parliament

The French Parliament is the bicameral legislature of the French Republic, consisting of the Senate (Sénat) and the National Assembly. Each assembly conducts legislative sessions at a separate location in Paris: the Palais du Luxembourg for the Senate and the Palais Bourbon for the National Assembly.

Provinces of France in 1789 relative to the modern borders of France
Note: The Comtat Venaissin (annexed 1791), Mulhouse (annexed 1798), Montbeliard (annexed 1816), Savoy and Nice (annexed 1860), and small portions of other provinces were not part of the Kingdom of France. Provinces of France.png
Provinces of France in 1789 relative to the modern borders of France
Note: The Comtat Venaissin (annexed 1791), Mulhouse (annexed 1798), Montbéliard (annexed 1816), Savoy and Nice (annexed 1860), and small portions of other provinces were not part of the Kingdom of France.
Map showing former provinces (in colours), with modern department boundaries in black Departements et provinces de France.svg
Map showing former provinces (in colours), with modern department boundaries in black
  1. Île-de-France ( Paris )
  2. Berry (Bourges)
  3. Orléanais (Orléans)
  4. Normandy ( Rouen )
  5. Languedoc ( Toulouse )
  6. Lyonnais (Lyon)
  7. Dauphiné ( Grenoble )
  8. Champagne (Troyes)
  9. Aunis (La Rochelle)
  10. Saintonge (Saintes)
  11. Poitou (Poitiers)
  12. Guyenne and Gascony ( Bordeaux )
  13. Burgundy ( Dijon )
  14. Picardy (Amiens)
  15. Anjou (Angers)
  16. Provence ( Aix-en-Provence )
  17. Angoumois (Angoulême)
  18. Bourbonnais (Moulins)
  19. Marche (Guéret)
  20. Brittany ( Rennes )
  21. Maine (Le Mans)
  22. Touraine (Tours)
  23. Limousin (Limoges)
  24. Foix (Foix)
  25. Auvergne (Clermont-Ferrand)
  26. Béarn ( Pau )
  27. Alsace (Strasbourg, conseils souverains in Colmar )
  28. Artois (Arras)
  29. Roussillon ( Perpignan )
  30. Flanders and Hainaut (Lille, conseils souverains in Douai )
  31. Franche-Comté ( Besançon )
  32. Lorraine ( Nancy ); Trois-Évêchés (Three Bishoprics within Lorraine): Metz , Toul and Verdun
  33. Corsica (Ajaccio, conseils souverains in Bastia )
  34. Nivernais (Nevers)

Areas that were not part of the Kingdom of France, though they are currently parts of Metropolitan France:

Metropolitan France part of France located in Europe

Metropolitan France is the part of France in Europe. It comprises mainland France and Corsica, as well as other islands in the Atlantic Ocean, the English Channel, and the Mediterranean Sea.

  1. Comtat Venaissin, a Papal fief (Avignon)
  2. Imperial Free City of Mulhouse
  3. Savoy (Chambéry), a Sardinian fief
  4. Nice (Nice), a Sardinian fief
  5. Montbéliard (Montbéliard), a fief of Württemberg

Arms

Partial display of historical provincial arms:

Alençon 15. Anjou 28. Artois 2. Berry 13. Burgundy 20. Brittany 8.Champagne 7. Dauphiné 24. Foix
Blason comte fr Alencon.svg Blason comte fr Anjou.svg Blason province fr Artois.svg Blason duche fr Berry (moderne).svg Blason fr Bourgogne.svg Armoiries Bretagne - Arms of Brittany.svg Blason region fr Champagne-Ardenne.svg Arms of the Dauphin of France.svg Blason du comte de Foix.svg
12. Gascony Gévaudan 32. Lorraine 21. Maine 19. Marche 4. Normandy 37. Savoy 22. Touraine Valois
Blason province fr Gascogne.svg Blason province fr Gevaudan.svg Blason Lorraine.svg Blason du Maine.svg Blason Boubon-La Marche.svg Blason duche fr Normandie.svg Blason duche fr Savoie.svg Blason comte fr Touraine.svg Blason comte fr Valois.svg

See also

Coat of arms unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon

A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon, surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement which in its whole consists of shield, supporters, crest, and motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, family, state, organization or corporation.

Heraldry profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol

Heraldry is a broad term, encompassing the design, display, and study of armorial bearings, as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, rank, and pedigree. Armory, the best-known branch of heraldry, concerns the design and transmission of the heraldic achievement. The achievement, or armorial bearings usually includes a coat of arms on an shield, helmet, and crest, together with any accompanying devices, such as supporters, badges, heraldic banners, and mottoes.

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Foix Prefecture and commune in Occitanie, France

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Duchy of Bar duchy

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Bigorre region and former province of France

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Occitanie Administrative region of France

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