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Chef-lieu: Wikis

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A chef-lieu is a town or city that is pre-eminent, from an administrative perspective, in any given sub-division of territory in France and some French-speaking countries.

Contents

In Algeria

The capital of an Algerian Province is called a chef-lieu. The capital of a district, the next largest division, is also called a chef-lieu. While the capital of the lowest division, the municipalities, is called agglomeration de chef-lieu (chef-lieu agglomeration) and is abbreviated as A.C.L.

In Belgium

The chef-lieu in Belgium is the administrative centre of each of the ten Provinces of Belgium. Three of these cities also give their name to their province (Antwerp, Liège and Namur).

In Luxembourg

Luxembourg is divided in two arrondissements, three districts, twelve cantons and one hundred and eighteen towns. Each has a chef-lieu. In particular, in every district chef-lieu, there is a district commissioner specifically in charge of the administration of the towns within the district.

In France

The chef-lieu of a département is known as the préfecture. This is the town or city where the prefect of the départment (and all services under his/her control) is situated, in a building known as the prefecture. In every French region, one of the départments has pre-eminence over the others, and the prefect carries the title of Prefect of region X…, Prefect of Department Z… and the city where the regional prefect is found is known as ‘’’chef-lieu of the region or, more commonly, Regional prefecture. The services are, however, controlled by the prefecture of the départment.

The chef-lieu of an arrondissement, commonly known as the sous-préfecture is the city or town where the sub-prefect of the arrondissement (and the services directly under his/her control) is situated, in a building called the sub-prefecture. The arrondissement where the département prefecture is located does not normally have a sub-prefect or sub-prefecture, the administration being devolved usually to the Secretary-general of the departmental prefecture, who functions as sub-prefect for the arrondissement.

The chef-lieu of a canton is usually the biggest city or town within the canton, but has only a nominal role. No specific services are controlled by it. In past decades, there was always a Gendarmerie, a treasurer and a Justice or the Peace.

The chef-lieu of a commune is the principal area of the town or city that gives the commune its name, the other areas of the town being called hamlets. French typographers will use a capital for the ‘Le’ or ‘La’ preceding the name of places having ‘chef-lieu of town’ status, and lowercase ‘le’ or ‘la’ for hamlets.

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In New Caledonia

The chef-lieu indicates the principal city of the provinces of New Caledonia. So Nouméa is the chef-lieu of South Province. But the chef-lieu can also mean the principal area within a town. So is part of the town of Lifou, but is the chef-lieu of Lifou. In the Loyalty Islands and the other islands, the name of the chef-lieu differs from that of the name of the town. For the towns of the mainland, the chef-lieu has the same name as the town. Nouméa is a town composed only of Nouméa.

In Switzerland

The term chef-lieu is applied to the capital of each Swiss canton. In 16 of the 26 cantons, the territory is subdivided into districts. Every district also has a city nominated as chef-lieu and each has a prefect.

In Tunisia

The term chef-lieu is used to designate the capital of each gouvernorat (department). Each of the 24 gouvernorats is subdivided into delegations (districts) which each have a central city as chef-lieu of delegation.

Pronunciation

The ‘f’ in chef-lieu is pronounced (almost as "v"), in contrast to chef-d'oeuvre where it is mute.

Film

  • The Fiancée of the pirate (1969) is a film by Nelly Kaplan, where the action takes place in a hamlet where everyone spends their time worrying about what everyone thinks about the chef-lieu of the town.

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