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Francemarker is administratively divided into 25 regions ( ), of which 21 are on mainland France, and four are overseas. Corsicamarker is a territorial collectivity ( ), but is considered a region in mainstream usage, and is even shown as such on the INSEE website. Each mainland region and Corsica are further subdivided into two to eight departments.

General characteristics

In mainland France (excluding Corsica), the median land area of a region is 25,809 km² (9,965 sq mi), which is just a bit larger than the state of Vermontmarker, and only 4% as large as the median land area of a Canadian province, but 15% larger than the median land area of a German region/land, and 67% larger than the area of a region of England.

In 2004, the median population of a region in continental France was 2,329,000 inhabitants, which is a little less than one half of the median population of a region of England, and three quarters of the median population of a German Land (state), but more than twice the median population of a Canadian province.


Regions do not have separate legislative authority and cannot therefore 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 contend that tax revenue is insufficient to be allocated to pay for the resulting costs and such measures would increase regional inequalities.

Apart from these legal attributions, regions have considerable discretionary powers for infrastructural spending, e.g., education, public transit, funding universities and research, and assistance for business owners. Because of this, being the regional head of a wealthy region such as Île-de-Francemarker or Rhône-Alpes can be quite a high-profile position.

Occasional discussions about giving limited legislative autonomy to the regions remain controversial. There are also proposals to transfer certain local government powers of the departments to their respective regions, leaving the departments with very limited authority.

Regional Control

Number of regions controlled by each coalition since 1986.

Red: left, blue: right

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DateFormat = yyyyPeriod = from:0 till:22TimeAxis = orientation:verticalScaleMajor = unit:year increment:4 start:0

 bar:1986 color: red from:start till:2 text:2
 bar:1986 color: oceanblue from:2 till:22 text:20
 bar:1992 color: red from:start till:2 text:2
 bar:1992 color: oceanblue from:2 till:22 text:20
 bar:1998 color: red from:start till:8 text:8
 bar:1998 color: oceanblue from:8 till:22 text:14
 bar:2004 color: red from:start till:20 text:20
 bar:2004 color: oceanblue from:20 till:22 text:2

Regions and their capitals

Metropolitan Regions
Flag Region French name Regional Name(s) Capital INSEE No. Notes
Alsacemarker Alsace Alsatian: Elsàss Strasbourgmarker 42
Aquitainemarker Aquitaine ; Bordeauxmarker 72
Auvergnemarker Auvergne Clermont-Ferrandmarker 83 Takes its name from the province of Auvergne
Burgundymarker Bourgogne Burgundian: Bregogne ou Borgoégne; Dijonmarker 26 Takes its name from the Duchy of Burgundy
Brittanymarker Bretagne ; Gallo: Bertaèyn Rennesmarker 53 Does not include Loire Atlantiquemarker, which is traditionally part of Brittany
Centremarker Centre Orléansmarker 24 Takes its name from its position in France
Champagne-Ardennemarker Champagne-Ardenne Châlons-en-Champagnemarker 21
Corsicamarker Corse Ajacciomarker 94 Technically not a region but a Territorial Collectivity
Franche-Comtémarker Franche-Comté Franc-Comtois: Fràntche-Comté; Besançonmarker 43 Takes its name from the Free County of Burgundy (Franche Comté in French)
French Guianamarker Guyane Cayennemarker 03 Overseas region
Guadeloupemarker Guadeloupe Antillean Creole: Gwadloup; Tamil: குவாதலூப்பே Basse-Terremarker 01 Overseas region
Île-de-Francemarker Ile-de-France Parismarker 11 Takes its name from the province of Ile-de-Francemarker, but also includes parts of Champagne
Languedoc-Roussillonmarker Languedoc-Roussillon ; Montpelliermarker 91 Takes its name from the provinces of Languedoc and Roussillon
Limousinmarker Limousin Limogesmarker 74 Takes its name from the province of Limousinmarker, but also includes parts of Marche, Berry, Auvergne, Poitou, and Angoumoismarker
Lorrainemarker Lorraine Metzmarker 41 Takes its name from the province of Lorraine, but also includes the Barroismarker and the Three Bishoprics
Lower Normandymarker Basse-Normandie Norman: Basse-Normaundie Caenmarker 25
Martiniquemarker Martinique Fort-de-Francemarker 02 Overseas region
Midi-Pyrénéesmarker Midi-Pyrénées Toulousemarker 73 Artificial region, with no historical links, created as a region for Toulousemarker
Nord-Pas-de-Calaismarker Nord-Pas-de-Calais Lillemarker 31 Takes its name from the departments of Nord and Pas de Calais
Pays de la Loiremarker Pays de la Loire Nantesmarker 52 Artificial region, with no historical links, created as a region for Nantesmarker
Picardymarker Picardie Amiensmarker 22
Poitou-Charentesmarker Poitou-Charentes Poitiersmarker 54
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azurmarker Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Provençal Occitan: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur (Classical norm) or Prouvènço-Aup-Costo d'Azur (Mistralian norm) Marseillemarker 93
Reunionmarker Réunion Tamil: இறியூனியன் Saint-Denismarker 04 Overseas region
Rhône-Alpes Rhône-Alpes ; Lyonmarker 82 Artificial region, with no historical links, created as a region for Lyonmarker
Upper Normandymarker Haute-Normandie Norman: Ĥâote-Normaundie Rouenmarker 23

See also


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