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This article is part of the series on
Administrative divisions of France


(incl. overseas regions)

(incl. overseas departments)

Urban communities
Agglomeration communities
Commune communities
Syndicates of New Agglomeration

Associated communes
Municipal arrondissements

Others in Overseas France

Overseas collectivities
Sui generis collectivity
Overseas country
Overseas territory
Clipperton Island

France is administratively divided into 26 regions (French: régions), of which 22 are on mainland France, and four are overseas. Corsica is a territorial collectivity (French: collectivité territoriale), but is considered a region in mainstream usage, and is even shown as such on the INSEE Web site.[1] Each mainland region and Corsica are further subdivided into two to eight departments.

The term "région" was officially created by the Law of Decentralization (2 March 1982), when by the same act their legal status was conferred. The first direct regional elections for representatives took place on 16 March 1986.[2]


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 Vermont, 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 ("Regierungsbezirk"), 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-France 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

Regions and their capitals

Metropolitan Regions
Flag[3] Region French name Regional Name(s) Capital INSEE No.[1] Notes
Flag of Alsace.svg Alsace Alsace Alsatian: Elsàss; German: Elsass Strasbourg 42
Aquitaine flag.svg Aquitaine Aquitaine Occitan: Aquitània; Basque: Akitania Bordeaux 72
Auvergne flag.svg Auvergne Auvergne Occitan: Auvèrnhe / Auvèrnha Clermont-Ferrand 83 Takes its name from the province of Auvergne
Bourgogne flag.svg Burgundy Bourgogne Burgundian: Bregogne ou Borgoégne; Arpitan: Borgogne Dijon 26 Takes its name from the Duchy of Burgundy
Gwenn ha du.svg Brittany Bretagne Breton: Breizh; Gallo: Bertaèyn Rennes 53 Does not include Loire Atlantique, which is traditionally part of Brittany
Centre flag.svg Centre Centre Orléans 24 Takes its name from its position in France
Champagne-Ardenne flag.svg Champagne-Ardenne Champagne-Ardenne Châlons-en-Champagne 21
Flag of Corsica.svg Corsica Corse Corsican: Corsica Ajaccio 94 Technically not a region but a Territorial Collectivity
Franche-Comté.svg Franche-Comté Franche-Comté Franc-Comtois: Fràntche-Comté; Arpitan: Franche-Comtât Besançon 43 Takes its name from the Free County of Burgundy (Franche Comté in French)
French Guiana Guyane Cayenne 03 Overseas region
Flag of Guadeloupe (local).svg Guadeloupe Guadeloupe Antillean Creole: Gwadloup; Tamil: குவாதலூப்பே Basse-Terre 01 Overseas region
Île-de-France flag.svg Île-de-France Ile-de-France Paris 11 Takes its name from the province of Ile-de-France, but also includes parts of Champagne
Languedoc Roussillon flag.svg Languedoc-Roussillon Languedoc-Roussillon Occitan: Lengadòc-Rosselhon; Catalan: Llenguadoc-Rosselló Montpellier 91 Takes its name from the provinces of Languedoc and Roussillon
Limousin flag.svg Limousin Limousin Occitan: Lemosin Limoges 74 Takes its name from the province of Limousin, but also includes parts of Marche, Berry, Auvergne, Poitou, and Angoumois
Lorraine.svg Lorraine Lorraine German: Lothringen Metz 41 Takes its name from the province of Lorraine, but also includes the Barrois and the Three Bishoprics
Normandy-flag.gif Lower Normandy Basse-Normandie Norman: Basse-Normaundie Caen 25
Flag of Martinique.svg Martinique Martinique Fort-de-France 02 Overseas region
Flag of Midi-Pyrénées.svg Midi-Pyrénées Midi-Pyrénées Occitan: Miègjorn-Pirenèus or Mieidia-Pirenèus Toulouse 73 Artificial region, with no historical links, created as a region for Toulouse
Nord-Pas-de-Calais flag.svg Nord-Pas-de-Calais Nord-Pas-de-Calais Dutch: Noord-Nauw van Kales'' Lille 31 Takes its name from the departments of Nord and Pas de Calais
Pays-de-la-Loire flag.svg Pays de la Loire Pays de la Loire Nantes 52 Artificial region, with no historical links, created as a region for Nantes
Picardie flag.svg Picardy Picardie Amiens 22
Poitou-Charentes flag.svg Poitou-Charentes Poitou-Charentes Poitiers 54
Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur flag.svg Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Provençal Occitan: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur (Classical norm) or Prouvènço-Aup-Costo d'Azur (Mistralian norm) Marseille 93
Reunion Réunion Tamil: இறியூனியன் Saint-Denis 04 Overseas region
Rhône-Alpes flag.svg Rhône-Alpes Rhône-Alpes Arpitan: Rôno-Arpes; Occitan: Ròse Aups Lyon 82 Artificial region, with no historical links, created as a region for Lyon
Haute-Normandie flag.svg Upper Normandy Haute-Normandie Norman: Ĥâote-Normaundie Rouen 23

See also


  1. ^ a b "Carte des Régions" (in French). INSEE. Retrieved 2009-09-29. 
  2. ^ Jean-Marie Miossec (2009), Géohistoire de la régionalisation en France, Paris: Presses universitaires de France ISBN 978-2-13-056665-6.
  3. ^ These flags are not official, but popularly used.

External links

Simple English

France is split into (administrative) regions. 22 of them are in Metropolitan France (the part of the country that is in Europe):

1. Alsace
2. Aquitaine
3. Auvergne
4. Lower Normandy
5. Burgundy
6. Brittany
7. Centre
8. Champagne-Ardenne
9. Corsica

10. Franche-Comté
11. Upper Normandy

12. Île-de-France
13. Languedoc-Roussillon
14. Limousin
15. Lorraine
16. Midi-Pyrénées
17. Nord-Pas-de-Calais
18. Pays de la Loire
19. Picardy
20. Poitou-Charentes
21. Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
22. Rhône-Alpes

Corsica has a different status than the other 21 metropolian regions. It is called collectivité territoriale.
  • Four of them are overseas:
  1. Guadeloupe
  2. French Guiana
  3. Martinique
  4. Réunion


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