A territorial collectivity (French: collectivité territoriale, previously collectivité locale) is the generic name for all country subdivisions in France that have an elected local government and (per Article 72 of the French constitution) a certain freedom of administration.
- Regions: There are 22 regions in metropolitan France and 5 ROM (overseas regions).
- Departments: There are 96 departments in metropolitan France and 5 overseas departments (DOM).
- Overseas collectivities (Collectivités d'outre-mer) (COM): There are 5 COMs, all overseas, hence the name.
- Provinces: There are 3 provinces, all in New Caledonia.
- Communes: There are 36,782 communes, in all the French inhabited territories except Saint Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, and Wallis and Futuna.
- New Caledonia is the only French local government that is not a collectivité territoriale. It has its own articles in the French constitution. Since it cannot be categorized, it sometimes unofficially is called a collectivité sui generis, but "collectivity" is not, strictly speaking, a legal category. It is sometimes unofficially called a pays (d'outre-mer) because its local legislative assembly (the congress) can rule using its own lois du pays.
- Corsica is the only collectivité territoriale that is within metropolitan France.
- The régions are divided into départements: ROMs are divided into DOMs; New Caledonia is divided into provinces; départements, COMs (except Saint Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, and Wallis and Futuna), DOMs, and provinces all are divided into communes.
- The commune of Poya is the only territorial entity belonging to two upper entities (provinces North and South).
- Paris, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and La Réunion are the only territorial entities belonging to two categories. Paris is both a département and a commune, and the others are both ROM and DOM. Paris therefore has one single president and mayor and one single assembly, while ROM / DOM each have two presidents and two assemblies.
- Each COM has its own statutory law that gives it a particular designation (French Polynesia is designated as a pays d'outre-mer, Saint Barthélemy and Saint-Martin as collectivités, Saint Pierre and Miquelon as a collectivité territoriale, and Wallis and Futuna as a territoire).
- The assembly of a région and of a ROM is called a conseil régional. They are presided over by a président du conseil régional.
- The assembly of a département (except Paris) or that of a DOM is called a conseil général. They are presided over by a président du conseil général.
- The assembly of a province is called an assemblée de province. It is presided over by a président de l'assemblée de province.
- A commune's assembly (except that of Paris) is called a conseil municipal. It is presided over by a maire.
- The Paris assembly is called the conseil de Paris. It is presided over by the maire de Paris.
- Corsica's assembly is called the assemblée de Corse (Corsican Assembly). It is presided over by the President of the Regional Council.
- The Assembly of French Polynesia is presided over by the président de la Polynésie française.
- Saint Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, and Saint Pierre and Miquelon's assemblies are called conseil territorial. They are presided over by a président du conseil territorial.
- Wallis and Futuna's assembly is called an assemblée territoriale. It is presided over by the Prefect.
- New Caledonia's assembly is called a congrès. It is presided over by the président du gouvernement.
Past and future collectivités territoriales
- The category of overseas territory (territoires d'outre-mer) was eliminated under the constitutional reform of 28 March 2003. French Southern Territories is still a TOM, but this is now a particular designation, not a category. This uninhabited territory no longer is a collectivité territoriale.
- Mayotte and Saint Pierre and Miquelon used to be collectivités territoriales belonging to no category (but with a status close to that of a DOM), sometimes unofficially called collectivité territoriale à statut particulier, or collectivité territoriale d'outre-mer.
- Mayotte held a vote in 2009 to change its status, and became a ROM in 2011.
- New Caledonia will vote between 2014 and 2019 to change its status, and it may become a COM.
- Corsicans have refused to eliminate the two départements of Corsica (Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse).
- Guadeloupians and Réunionnais have refused to eliminate their ROM and DOM in order to create a unique collectivité territoriale.
- "collectivite territoriale". INSEE.
- "New phase of administrative decentralisation launched" (html). eironline. 2003-04-29. Retrieved 2014-01-03.