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Administrative divisions of France: Map


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Metropolitan France

As of January 1, 2008, metropolitan France is divided into:
  • 22 regions (including Corsicamarker, although strictly speaking Corsica is designated as a "territorial collectivity", not a region, but it is most often called a region in common speech and grouped with the other regions)
  • the regions are subdivided into 96 departments
  • the departments are in turn divided into 330 arrondissements
  • the arrondissements are then divided into 3,883 cantons
  • the cantons are subdivided into 36,569 communes (although some of the larger communes actually are composed of several cantons)
    • 3 communes (Parismarker, Marseillemarker, and Lyonmarker) are further divided into 45 municipal arrondissements
    • there also exist 730 associated communes (as of January 2006), formerly independent communes which were merged with larger communes but have retained some limited degree of autonomy (e.g. the commune of Lommemarker which was absorbed by Lillemarker in 2000 and transformed into an "associated commune" inside the commune of Lille)

Furthermore, as of January 1, 2009, there exist 2,585 intercommunal structures grouping 34,077 communes (93.2% of all the communes of metropolitan France), with 87.4% of the population of metropolitan France living in them. These intercommunal structures are:


The French Republic is further made up of the following overseas administrative divisions:

:* each overseas regions is coextensive with an overseas department (département d'outre-mer, or DOM), again with the same status as departments in metropolitan France. The four overseas departments were created in 1946 and preceded the four overseas regions. The dual structure overseas region/overseas department, with two separate assemblies administering the same territory, results from the extension of the regional scheme to the overseas departments in the 1970s. Each overseas region/department may transform into a single structure, with the merger of the regional and departmental assemblies, but voters in Martinique and Guadeloupe rejected this in two referendums in 2003. In Réunion the creation of a second department for the southern part of the island has been debated for some time.
:* the overseas departments are subdivided into 12 arrondissements
:* the 12 arrondissements are further subdivided into 153 cantons
:* the 153 cantons are composed of 112 communes (in the 4 DOM, there are more cantons than communes, unlike in metropolitan France, because many communes are divided into several cantons, whereas in metropolitan France in general cantons are made up of several communes, except in large communes like Toulouse or Lille which are divided into several cantons)
:*Furthermore, as of January 1, 2009, there exist 16 intercommunal structures in the overseas departments, grouping 89 communes (79.5% of all the communes of the overseas departments), with 83.2% of the population of the overseas departments living in them intercommunal structures. These intercommunal structures are:
::*7 Agglomeration communities
::*9 Commune communities

:*French Polynesiamarker (designated as an "overseas country", French: pays d'outre-mer) is divided into 5 administrative subdivisions (subdivisions administratives). For elections it is divided into 6 electoral districts (circonscriptions électorales) which differ slightly from the 5 administrative subdivisions. The 5 administrative subdivisions are divided into 48 communes. There also exist some associated communes as in metropolitan France.
:*Mayottemarker (designated as a "departmental collectivity", French: collectivité départementale) is divided into 17 communes with no arrondissements. There are also 19 cantons matching exactly the communes except in the case of the commune of Mamoudzou which is divided into three cantons.
:*Saint-Barthélemymarker (designated as a "collectivity", French: collectivité) is a new overseas collectivity created on February 22, 2007. It was previously a commune inside the Guadeloupe department. The commune structure was abolished and Saint-Barthélemy is now one of only three permanently inhabited territories of the French Republic with no commune structure. There are no cantons and arrondissements either.
:*Saint-Martin (designated as a "collectivity", French: collectivité) is also a new overseas collectivity created on February 22, 2007. It was also previously a commune inside the Guadeloupe department. The commune structure was abolished and Saint-Martin is now one of only three permanently inhabited territories of the French Republic with no commune structure. There are no cantons and arrondissements either.
:*Saint-Pierre and Miquelonmarker (designated as a "territorial collectivity", French: collectivité territoriale, the same designation as Corsicamarker which is a region and not an overseas collectivity) is divided into 2 communes with no arrondissements or cantons.
:*Wallis and Futunamarker (designated as a "territory", French: territoire) is divided into 3 districts (circonscriptions territoriales) which exactly match the three traditional chiefdoms (royaumes coutumiers) with their traditional kings still at their head, the only kings currently recognized in the French Republic. These 3 districts are: Uveamarker, Sigavemarker, and Alomarker. Uvea is the most populous and is further divided into 3 wards (districts in French): Hahake, Mua, and Hihifo. Wallis and Futuna is one of only three permanently inhabited territories of the French Republic with no communes (the others being Saint-Barthélemy and Saint-Martin). It also has no arrondissements or cantons.
  • 1 sui generis collectivity (collectivité sui generis): New Caledoniamarker, whose status is unique in the French Republic: it is the only French local government which is not a territorial collectivity (although its subdivisions are territorial collectivities). A self-determination referendum is scheduled for 2014 to decide the future status of the New Caledonia.
:*It is divided into 3 provinces
:*the provinces are subdivided into 33 communes
:*the French Southern and Antarctic Lands are divided into 5 districts (districts in French):
:: 1. Kerguelen Islandsmarker
:: 2. Crozet Islandsmarker
:: 3. Amsterdam Island and Saint Paul Islandmarker
:: 4. Adelie Landmarker.
:: 5. the Scattered Islands (îles Éparses), a collection of five non permanently inhabited islands in the Indian Oceanmarker: Bassas da Indiamarker, Europamarker, Juan de Novamarker, Gloriosomarker, and Tromelinmarker. These were previously administered separately but they have been joined with the French Southern and Antarctic Lands since February 2007.
  • Uninhabited island which belongs directly to the central State public land:
:*Clipperton Islandmarker: uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexicomarker which is directly under the authority of the Minister of Overseas France in Parismarker (until February 2007 it was administered by the high-commissioner of the French Republic in French Polynesia). Since the Scattered Islands were joined with the French Southern and Antarctic Lands also in February 2007, Clipperton Island is now the only island left in this category.

Territorial collectivities

French administrative subdivisions that have a (limited) freedom of administration are called territorial collectivities. Among them are regions, departments, communes, overseas collectivities, provinces (New Caledonia) and the territorial collectivity of Corsica which belongs to no category (but is close to regions).New Caledonia is unique as it is not a territorial collectivity.

General rules

Citizens from all parts of France, including the overseas administrative divisions, vote in national elections (presidential, legislative), and all of the collectivities are represented in the Senatemarker.

List of departments by region

Regions and departments of France.

Historical divisions

In the Medieval period, the territory of modern metropolitain France was occupied by a complex mosaic of more or less independent entities. Their gradual incorporation into France may be followed in the article Territorial formation of France.

Historically, France was divided into provinces; see Provinces of France.

See also


External links

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