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The Council of Paris (Conseil de Paris) is the deliberative body responsible for the governing of Paris, the capital of France. It possesses simultaneously the powers of a Paris City Council (Conseil municipal) and those of a General Council for the Département de Paris, as defined by the so-called PLM Law (Loi PLM) of 1982 that redefined the governance of Paris, Lyons, and Marseilles. Paris is, in effect, the only city in France to be, at one time, a commune (city or town) and a département (county, shire, or state), and this arrangement has been a fact even longer, since the passage of the law of 10 July 1964 which totally reorganized the Paris region.
The mayor of Paris presides over the Council of Paris and therefore holds in her hands the powers of mayor and of president of the departmental council. There are presently 163 councillors for Paris.
The Council of Paris is indirectly elected by the voters of the city using a party-list proportional representation. The city is divided into 20 municipal arrondissements (arrondissements municipaux), each of which directly elects a sector council (conseil d'arrondissement), which in turn elects an sector mayor (maire d'arrondissement) from amongst its members. No sector elects fewer than 10 members, and there are 354 sector members in total. A selection of members from each sector council — roughly half the number of seats of their respective sector councils, and the names at the top of the lists in those sectors — form the 163-member municipal council (conseil municipal) called the Council of Paris (Conseil de Paris), the body which elects the mayor of Paris.
Although the history of Paris is long, that of its municipal government, in its present form, is less than half a century old. Paris and its environs were always governed directly by the highest French polity of the time: the Crown before the French Revolution, and a state-appointed préfet (governing the Seinedépartement) afterwards. The office of mayor of Paris existed for brief periods during the 18th and 19th centuries, but it was not an institution of government before 1977.
Although Paris has a double role as a commune and as a département, it has a unique method for governing both; the Council of Paris, with the Mayor of Paris as its president, meets either as a municipal council (conseil municipal) or as a departmental council (conseil général) depending on the issue to be debated.
The modern administrative organization of Paris still retains some traces of its previous incarnation as the government of the Seinedépartement. The Préfecture de Police (which also has authority over the fire brigades of Paris), for example, has still a jurisdiction extending to the petite couronne (small corona or halo) of Paris, the three bordering départements (Seine-Saint-Denis, Hauts de Seine, and Val de Marne) for some operations such as fire protection and rescue operations, and the Préfecture de Police is still directed by France's national government. Paris has no municipal police force, although it does have its own brigade of traffic wardens.