Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

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This article is about the region. For the traditional province, see Provence.
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Region of France
Flag of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Coat of arms of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Coat of arms
Provence-Alpes-Côte d-Azur in France.svg
Coordinates: 44°00′N 6°00′E / 44.000°N 6.000°E / 44.000; 6.000Coordinates: 44°00′N 6°00′E / 44.000°N 6.000°E / 44.000; 6.000
Country  France
Prefecture Marseille
 • President Michel Vauzelle (PS)
 • Total 31,400 km2 (12,100 sq mi)
Population (2010-01-01)
 • Total 4,951,388
 • Density 160/km2 (410/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code FR-U
GDP (2012)[1] Ranked 3rd
Total €142.4 billion (US$183.1 bn)
Per capita €28,861 (US$37,121)
NUTS Region FR8

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (French pronunciation: ​[pʁɔ.vɑ̃s alp kot da.zyʁ]; Provençal: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur; Italian: Provenza-Alpi-Costa Azzurra) or PACA is one of the 27 regions of France.

It is made up of:

It encompasses six departments in south-eastern France, bounded to the east by the Italian border, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea and by the principality of Monaco, to the north by Rhône-Alpes, and to the west by Languedoc-Roussillon, with the Rhône river marking its westernmost border. The six departments are:

The region logo displays the coat of arms created in the 1990s and which combines the coats of arms of the old provinces making up Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

Economically the region is the third most important in France just behind Île-de-France and Rhône-Alpes. Its GDP in 2012 was € 142.4 billion ($US 183.1 billion) and per capita GDP was € 29,861 ($US 37,121).



Marseille forms the majority of the population of this region with a city population of 850,636 and an urban population of 1,560,921 and a metropolitan population of 1,720,941. Marseille has the second largest city population in all of France behind Paris and the third largest metropolitan population just behind Paris and Lyon respectively.

Nice is host to the second largest population concentration in this region with a city population of 344,875, and an urban population of 1,005,230 which makes Nice the fifth largest city in France.


According to a study in 2009, nearly 40% of all newborns in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in 2007 had at least one parent originated from Maghreb, Sub-Saharan Africa or Overseas departments and territories of France. This is the second highest rate after Île-de-France (Greater Paris) at about 56%.[2]


PACA is divided into 6 departments according to French administration, these are- Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhone, Var and Vaucluse.

Department Area Population Prefecture Sub-prefectures Density
04 Alpes-de-Haute-Provence 6,944 km2 (2,681 sq mi) 157,965 Digne-les-Bains Barcelonnette, Castellane et Forcalquier 23/km2 (60/sq mi)
05 Hautes-Alpes 5,549 km2 (2,142 sq mi) 134,205 Gap Briançon 24/km2 (62/sq mi)
06 Alpes-Maritimes 4,299 km2 (1,660 sq mi) 1,084,428 Nice Grasse 252/km2 (650/sq mi)
13 Bouches-du-Rhône 5,112 km2 (1,974 sq mi) 1,966,005 Marseille Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Istres 385/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
83 Var 5,973 km2 (2,306 sq mi) 1,001,408 Toulon Brignoles et Draguignan 196/km2 (510/sq mi)
84 Vaucluse 3,566 km2 (1,377 sq mi) 538,902 Avignon Apt et Carpentras 151/km2 (390/sq mi)


This region has a total area of 31,400 km2.

The French Riviera

This region is very famous for it being host to the Côte d'Azur (French Riviera) which spans the famous cities of Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez.

It has a wide variety of lands from the Alps mountains to plains and coastal areas like Nice and Marseille which form the majority of the land here. Overall, the region is made up of 6 departments. The region has the Mediterranean coastline to which the majority of its population inhabits. It borders Italy to the east and the French department of Rhone-Alpes to the north and Languedoc-Rousillon to the west.

The rivers of Rhone, Var and Arc run through the region.


The Regional Council is the legislative body of the region. The President of the regional council is Michel Vauzelle of the Socialist Party (PS) since 1998.

Political Tendencies[edit]

The main competition seen in the politics of this region is between the Union for a popular movement (Right) (UMP) and the Socialist Party (Left) (PS), both deferring in its opinions. According to the most recent elections, the political tendencies are as follows-

Élection / collectivités Right Left
Presidential Election (2012) (2nd tour) 57,62 % (Nicolas Sarkozy) (UMP) 42,38 % (François Hollande) (PS)
Regional Councils 51 (UMP-NC-DVD-FN) 72 (PS-PRG-Verts-PCF-DVG)
General Councils 3 3
Deputies 27 15
Senators 13 9


The region's economy is dependent on tourism like most coastal places but also a majority of its economy is dependent on coastal activities.

The region has a total GDP (2012) of €142.4 billion (US$183.1 bn), the third highest in France. It has a Per Capita GDP of €28,861 (US$37,121), slightly higher than the French average.

Major communities[edit]


The largest cities in the region are Marseille (administrative capital city of the region), Nice, Toulon, and Aix-en-Provence, each with a population exceeding 100,000 inhabitants at the 1999 census. Along with Marseille, Nice is the second most important city in the region with a city proper population of about 350,000 and an urban population exceeding 1 million.

Marseille with an urban area of 2 Million inhabitants, is the largest and capital city of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region. It is also the second most populated city in France, just behind Paris and the city with the third largest metropolitan population in France, behind Paris and Lyon respectively.

Along with Nice and Marseille the region is also made internationally popular with Cannes which although has a population of only 73,603 (2012) but is host the annual Cannes film festival which has highly popularized the region. Also, Arles was a world famous city as Vincent Van Gogh lived there and painted 300 paintings there at the time.

Toulon is a large military harbour on the Mediterranean coast, with the French naval base placed there. It is the capital of the Var department in the region.

Also, Aix-en-Provence has long been a university town, and to this day remains the most important educational centre in the region.

Below is a list of the most populated cities in the region along with their population (city proper) according to the most recent census.


  1. ^ INSEE. "Produits intérieurs bruts régionaux et valeurs ajoutées régionales de 1990 à 2012". Retrieved 2014-03-04. 
  2. ^ Bardakdjian-Michau J, Bahuau M, Hurtrel D, et al. (January 2009). "Neonatal screening for sickle cell disease in France". J. Clin. Pathol. 62 (1): 31–3. doi:10.1136/jcp.2008.058867. PMID 19103855. 

External links[edit]