Regions of France

Last updated

Région  (French)
Category Unitary state
Location French Republic
Possible status Overseas region (5)
Région d'outre-mer
Additional status Territorial collectivity
Collectivité Territoriale
Populations212,645 (Mayotte) – 12,005,077 (Île-de-France)
Areas376 km2 (145 sq mi) (Mayotte) – 84,061 km2 (32,456 sq mi) (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
GovernmentRegional Government, National Government
Subdivisions Department

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. [1] 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.

Administrative divisions of France Class grouping all types of territorial divisions of France (administrative or electoral)

The administrative divisions of France are concerned with the institutional and territorial organization of French territory. These territories are located in many parts of the world. There are many administrative divisions, which may have political, electoral (districts), or administrative objectives. All the inhabited territories are represented in the National Assembly, Senate and Economic and Social Council and their citizens have French citizenship.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

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.



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. [2] In 2016, the number of regions was reduced from 27 to 18 through mergers.

In France, the policy of decentralisation was initiated by acts of the French parliament known as Gaston Defferre Laws in 1982. Prior to the new laws French municipalities and departments enjoyed a limited autonomy under laws passed in 1871 and 1884.

A merger, consolidation or amalgamation, in a political or administrative sense, is the combination of two or more political or administrative entities, such as municipalities, counties, districts, etc., into a single entity. This term is used when the process occurs within a sovereign entity.

Reform and mergers of regions

In 2014, the French parliament passed a law reducing the number of metropolitan regions from 22 to 13 effective 1 January 2016. [3]

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. [4] [5] 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. [6] Two regions, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, opted to retain their interim names. [7] [8]

Aquitaine Region of France

Aquitaine, archaic Guyenne/Guienne, 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.

Poitou-Charentes Region of France

Poitou-Charentes is a former administrative region in south-western France. It is part of the new region Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It comprises four departments: Charente, Charente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres and Vienne. Historical provinces are Angoumois, Aunis, Saintonge and Poitou.

Limousin Region of France

Limousin is a former administrative region of France. On 1 January 2016, it became part of the new region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. It comprised three departments: Corrèze, Creuse, and Haute-Vienne.

Regions that merged:

Former regionNew region (interim name)New region (final name)
Burgundy Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
Aquitaine Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Lower Normandy Normandy Normandy
Upper Normandy
Alsace Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Grand Est
Languedoc-Roussillon Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Occitanie
Nord-Pas-de-Calais Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie Hauts-de-France
Auvergne Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

Regions that remained unchanged:

Centre-Val de Loire
French Guiana
Pays de la Loire
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Overview of region division proposals for the metropolitan territory

Édouard Balladur French politician

Édouard Balladur is a French politician who served as Prime Minister of France under François Mitterrand from 29 March 1993 to 10 May 1995. He unsuccessfully ran for president in the 1995 French presidential election, coming in third place. At age 90, Balladur is currently the oldest living former French Prime Minister.

Manuel Valls Prime Minister of France (2014–2016)

Manuel Carlos Valls Galfetti is a French and Spanish politician who served as Prime Minister of France from 2014 until 2016. He was previously Minister of the Interior from 2012 to 2014. He was a member of the Socialist Party, and was a candidate in their primary for the 2017 presidential election, losing the Socialist nomination in the second round to Benoît Hamon.

François Hollande 24th President of the French Republic

François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande is a French politician who served as President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra from 2012 to 2017. He was previously the First Secretary of the Socialist Party from 1997 to 2008, Mayor of Tulle from 2001 to 2008, and President of the Corrèze General Council from 2008 to 2012. Hollande also served in the National Assembly of France twice for the department of Corrèze's 1st constituency from 1988 to 1993, and again from 1997 to 2012.

Regions and their capitals

Regions of France
RegionFrench nameOther local name(s)Capital INSEE No. [9] Derivation or etymology President
Grand Est Grand Est German : Großer Osten Strasbourg 44The 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 75Reflects 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)
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Occitan : Auvèrnhe-Ròse-Aups
Arpitan : Ôvèrgne-Rôno-Arpes
Lyon 84This 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 27The 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)
Brittany Bretagne Breton : Breizh
Gallo: Bertaèyn
Rennes 53The 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 [10] Centre-Val de Loire Orléans 24Translating 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 11The modern region encompasses much of the former province of Île-de-France, abolished 1790 Valérie Pécresse (LR)
Occitanie Occitanie Occitan : Occitània
Catalan : Occitània
Toulouse 76Encompasses 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 32Occupying 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 28The 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 52The 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
(Prouvènço-Aup-Costo d'Azur)
Marseille 93Consists 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 94The 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)
Mayotte Mayotte Shimaore: Maore
Malagasy: Mahori
Mamoudzou 06 Overseas region Soibahadine Ibrahim Ramadani (LR)
Réunion La Réunion Reunion Creole: La Rényon Saint-Denis 04 Overseas region Didier Robert (LR)

Regions from 1982 to 2016

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.

French Guiana Overseas region and department of France in South America

French Guiana is an overseas department and region of France, on the north Atlantic coast of South America in the Guyanas. It borders Brazil to the east and south and Suriname to the west. Since 1981, when Belize became independent, French Guiana has been the only territory of the mainland Americas that is still part of a European country.

Guadeloupe Overseas region and department in France

Guadeloupe is an overseas region of France in the Caribbean. It consists of six inhabited islands, Basse-Terre, Grande-Terre, Marie-Galante, La Désirade, and the Îles des Saintes, as well as many uninhabited islands and outcroppings.

Martinique Overseas region and department in France

Martinique is an insular region of France located in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies in the eastern Caribbean Sea, with a land area of 1,128 square kilometres (436 sq mi) and a population of 376,480 inhabitants as of January 2016. Like Guadeloupe, it is an overseas region of France, consisting of a single overseas department. One of the Windward Islands, it is directly north of Saint Lucia, southeast of Greater Antilles, northwest of Barbados, and south of Dominica.


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.

Regional control

Number of regions controlled by each coalition since 1986.

1986 521 French regional elections 1986.svg
1992 4211 French regional elections 1992.svg
1998 10151 French regional elections 1998.svg
2004 2321 French regional elections 2004.svg
2010 233 French regional elections 2010.svg
2015 782 French regional elections 2015 2nd Round.svg

Overseas regions

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:

Saint Pierre and Miquelon (off Canada, in North America), once an overseas department, was demoted to a territorial collectivity in 1985.
Outre-mer en sans Terre Adelie.png

See also



Related Research Articles

ISO 3166-2:FR is the entry for France in ISO 3166-2, part of the ISO 3166 standard published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), which defines codes for the names of the principal subdivisions of all countries coded in ISO 3166-1.

The overseas departments and regions of France 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.

2004 French regional elections

Regional elections in were held in France on 21 and 28 March 2004. At stake were the presidencies of each of France's 26 regions which, although they do not have legislative powers, manage sizeable budgets. The results were a triumph for the parties of the left, led by the French Socialist Party (PS) in alliance with minor parties including the French Communist Party (PCF), the Left Radical Party (PRG) and The Greens. The left has usually fared moderately well in regional elections, but this was their best result since the regional system was introduced.

A territorial collectivity is a chartered subdivision of France, with recognized governing authority. It is the generic name for any subdivision with an elective form of local government and local regulatory authority. The nature of a French territorial collectivity is set forth in Article 72 of the French constitution of 1958, which provides for local autonomy within limits prescribed by law.

Ranked list of French regions Wikimedia list article

The following are ranked lists of French regions.

The French overseas collectivities, like the French regions, are first-order administrative divisions of France, but have a semi-autonomous status. The COMs include some former French overseas colonies and other French overseas entities with a particular status, all of which became COMs by constitutional reform on 28 March 2003. The COMs should not be confused with the overseas regions and overseas departments, which have the same status as Mainland France but are just located outside Europe. As integral parts of France, overseas collectivities are represented in the National Assembly, Senate and Economic and Social Council. Only one COM, Saint Martin, is part of the European Union and can vote to elect members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The Pacific COMs use the CFP franc, a currency pegged to the euro, whereas the Atlantic COMs use the euro directly. As of 31 March 2011, there were five COMs:

A regional council is the elected assembly of a region of France.

The galleries below show flags attributed to the eighteen 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.

Europe Ecology electoral alliance

Europe Ecology was a green electoral coalition of political parties in France created for the 2009 European elections composed of The Greens and other ecologists and regionalists. For the European Parliament election in 2014, this electoral alliance was renewed.

Overseas France Collective grouping of all French-administered territories and collectivities outside Europe

Overseas France consists of all the French-administered territories outside the European continent, mostly relics of the French colonial empire. These territories have varying legal status and different levels of autonomy, although all have representation in both France's National Assembly and Senate, which together make up the French Parliament. Their citizens have French nationality and vote for the president of France. They have the right to vote in elections to the European Parliament. Overseas France includes island territories in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans, French Guiana on the South American continent, and several periantarctic islands as well as a claim in Antarctica.

Nouvelle-Aquitaine Administrative region of France

Nouvelle-Aquitaine is the largest administrative region in France, located in the southwest of the country. The region was created by the territorial reform of French Regions in 2014 through the merger of three regions: Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes. It covers 84,061 km2 (32,456 sq mi) – or ​18 of the country – and has approximately 5,800,000 inhabitants.. The new region was established on 1 January 2016, following the regional elections in December 2015.

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Administrative region of France

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes or ARA is a region of 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.

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Administrative region of France

Bourgogne-Franche-Comté is a region 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.

2015 French regional elections

Regional elections were held in France on 6 and 13 December 2015. At stake were the regional councils in metropolitan and overseas France as well as the Corsican Assembly and inaugural seats in the Assembly of French Guiana and Assembly of Martinique, all for a six-year term. The Departmental Council of Mayotte, which also exercises the powers of a region, is the only region not participating in this election, having already been renewed on 2 April 2015. There are 18 Regional Presidencies at stake, with 13 in continental France and Corsica, and 5 overseas. Though they do not have legislative autonomy, these territorial collectivities manage sizable budgets. Moreover, regional elections are often taken as a mid-term opinion poll.

Regional council of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

The regional council of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes is the deliberative assembly of the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. Laurent Wauquiez of The Republicans (LR) is the current president of the regional council, elected on 4 January 2016, following the regional elections on 6 and 13 December 2015.

Miss France 2018 beauty pageant edition

Miss France 2018 was the 88th edition of the Miss France pageant, held on 16 December 2017 at the M.A.CH 36 in Châteauroux, Centre-Val de Loire.


  1. 1 2 "Carte des Régions" (in French). INSEE . Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  2. Jean-Marie Miossec (2009), Géohistoire de la régionalisation en France, Paris: Presses universitaires de France ISBN   978-2-13-056665-6.
  3. La carte à 13 régions définitivement adoptée, Le Monde, 17 December 2014, accessed 2 January 2015
  4. Quel nom pour la nouvelle région ? Vous avez choisi..., Sud-Ouest, 4 December 2014, accessed 2 January 2015
  5. "Nouveau nom de la région : dernier jour de vote, Occitanie en tête".
  6. "Journal officiel of 17 January 2015". Légifrance (in French). 17 January 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  7. "Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes : fini la consultation, Laurent Wauquiez a tranché - Place Gre'net". 31 May 2016.
  8. "Région Bourgogne-Franche-Comté".
  9. "La nouvelle nomenclature des codes régions" (in French). INSEE . Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  10. 1 2 New name as of 17 January 2015; formerly named Centre.
  11. These flags are not official.
Overseas regions