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Arrondissements of France: Map


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The 100 Frenchmarker departments are divided into 342 arrondissements, which may be translated into English as districts.

The capital of an arrondissement/district is called a subprefecture. When an arrondissement contains the prefecture (capital) of the department, that prefecture is the capital of the arrondissement, acting both as a prefecture and as a subprefecture.

Arrondissements are further divided into cantons and communes.

The cities of Paris, Lyonmarker and Marseillemarker are also divided into municipal arrondissements, not to be confused with the arrondissements addressed in this article.

Role and administration

The administration of an arrondissement is assigned to a subprefect ( ) who assists the departmental prefect ( ).

Unlike French regions, departments and communes, arrondissements do not have the status of legal entity in public law. In addition, unlike those other administrative divisions, they are not run by elected officials, but by political appointees, officials appointed by the French president.


The concept of arrondissements was proposed several times as an administrative reform during the Ancien Régime, notably by the intendant of the Bretagne généralité, Caze de La Bove, in his Mémoire concernant les subdélégués de l'intendance de Bretagne in 1775.

The arrondissements were created after the French Revolution by the Loi du 28 pluviôse in the year VIII of the Republican Calendar (February 17, 1800) and replaced "districts". In certain periods in French history, they have served a role in legislative elections, especially during the Third Republic. The legislature passed a law in 1926 to eliminate 106 arrondissements. While they claimed it was to achieve fiscal savings, some political analysts considered the results electoral manipulation.


Most departments have only three or four arrondissements. The departments of Parismarker and of the Territory of Belfortmarker have only one, while the Mosellemarker department has nine.

See also

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