Regions of France

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Region
Région  (French)
CategoryUnitary state
LocationFrench Republic
Number18
Possible statusOverseas region (5)
Région d'outre-mer
Additional statusTerritorial collectivity
Collectivité Territoriale
Populations212,645 (Mayotte) – 12,005,077 (Île-de-France)
Areas376 km2 (145 sq mi) (Mayotte) – 84,061 km2 (32,456 sq mi) (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)
GovernmentRegional Government, National Government
SubdivisionsDepartment

France is divided into 18 administrative regions (French: régions, singular région [ʁeʒjɔ̃]), of which 13 are located in metropolitan France (i.e. on the European continent), while the other five are overseas regions (not be confused with the overseas collectivities, which have a semi-autonomous status).[1] All 13 mainland administrative regions (including Corsica as of 2019) are further subdivided into 2 to 13 administrative departments, while the overseas regions administratively consist of only one department each and hence also coexist with administrative "overseas departments" of equal size. All administrative regions except Corsica, the French Guiana, Mayotte, and Martinique also correspond to a regional territorial collectivity since 1982, whereas the regional and departmental territorial collectivities of Corsica (which had 1 regional and 2 departmental territorial collectivities prior to 2018), the French Guiana, Mayotte, and Martinique have been replaced with single territorial collectivities.

History[edit]

1982–2015[edit]

The term région was officially created by the Law of Decentralisation (2 March 1982), which also gave regions their legal status. The first direct elections for regional representatives took place on 16 March 1986.[2]

Between 1982 and 2015, there were 22 regions in Metropolitan France. Before 2011, there were four overseas regions (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Réunion); in 2011 Mayotte became the fifth.


Regions of France between 2011 and 2015
Regions in Metropolitan France between 1982 and 2015
Flag[3] Region French name Other local name(s) Capital INSEE No.[1] Derivation or etymology
Flag of Alsace Alsace Alsace Alsatian: Elsàss
German: Elsass
Strasbourg 42 Formerly a coalition of free cities in Holy Roman Empire, attached to Kingdom of France in 1648; annexed by Germany from Franco-Prussian war to the end of World War I and briefly during World War II
Flag of Aquitaine Aquitaine Aquitaine Occitan: Aquitània
Basque: Akitania
Saintongeais : Aguiéne
Bordeaux 72 Guyenne and Gascony
Flag of Auvergne Auvergne Auvergne Occitan: Auvèrnhe / Auvèrnha Clermont-Ferrand 83 Former province of Auvergne
Flag of Brittany Brittany Bretagne Breton: Breizh
Gallo: Bertaèyn
Rennes 53 Duchy of Brittany
Flag of Burgundy Burgundy Bourgogne Burgundian: Bregogne / Borgoégne
Arpitan: Borgogne
Dijon 26 Duchy of Burgundy
Flag of Centre-Val de Loire Centre-Val de Loire[4] Centre-Val de Loire Orléans 24 Located in north-central France; straddles the middle of the Loire Valley
Flag of Champagne-Ardenne Champagne-Ardenne Champagne-Ardenne Châlons-en-
Champagne
21 Former province of Champagne
Flag of Franche-Comté Franche-Comté Franche-Comté Franc-Comtois: Fràntche-Comté
Arpitan: Franche-Comtât
Besançon 43 Free County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté)
Flag of Île-de-France Île-de-France Île-de-France Paris 11 Province of Île-de-France and parts of the former province of Champagne
Flag of Languedoc-Roussillon Languedoc-Roussillon Languedoc-Roussillon Occitan: Lengadòc-Rosselhon
Catalan: Llenguadoc-Rosselló
Montpellier 91 Former provinces of Languedoc and Roussillon
Flag of Limousin Limousin Limousin Occitan: Lemosin Limoges 74 Former province of Limousin and parts of Marche, Berry, Auvergne, Poitou and Angoumois
Flag of Lorraine Lorraine Lorraine German: Lothringen
Lorraine Franconian: Lottringe
Metz 41 Named for Charlemagne's son Lothair I, the kingdom of Lotharingia is etymologically the source for the name Lorraine (duchy), Lothringen (German), Lottringe (Lorraine Franconian)
Flag of Lower Normandy Lower Normandy Basse-Normandie Norman: Basse-Normaundie Caen 25 Western half of former province of Normandy
Flag of Midi-Pyrénées Midi-Pyrénées Midi-Pyrénées Occitan: Miègjorn-Pirenèus
Occitan: Mieidia-Pirenèus
Toulouse 73 None; created for Toulouse
Flag of Nord-Pas-de-Calais Nord-Pas-de-Calais Nord-Pas-de-Calais Lille 31 Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments
Flag of Pays-de-la-Loire Pays de la Loire Pays de la Loire Breton: Broioù al Liger Nantes 52 None; created for Nantes
Flag of Picardie (Picardy) Picardy Picardie Amiens 22 Former province of Picardy
Flag of Poitou-Charentes Poitou-Charentes Poitou-Charentes Occitan: Peitau-Charantas
Poitevin and Saintongeais : Poetou-Chérentes
Poitiers 54 Former provinces of Angoumois, Aunis, Poitou and Saintonge
Flag of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) Provençal: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur
(Prouvènço-Aup-Costo d'Azur)
Marseille 93 Former province of Provence
Flag of Rhône-Alpes Rhône-Alpes Rhône-Alpes Arpitan: Rôno-Arpes
Occitan: Ròse Aups
Lyon 82 Created for Lyon from Dauphiné and Lyonnais provinces and Savoy
Flag of Haute-Normandie Upper Normandy Haute-Normandie Norman: Ĥâote-Normaundie Rouen 23 Eastern half of former province of Normandy

Reform and mergers of regions[edit]

In 2014, the French parliament passed a law reducing the number of metropolitan regions from 22 to 13 effective 1 January 2016.[5]

The law gave interim names for most of the new regions by combining the names of the former regions, e.g. the region composed of Aquitaine, Poitou-Charentes and Limousin was temporarily called Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes. However, the combined region of Upper and Lower Normandy is simply called "Normandy" (Normandie). Permanent names were proposed by the new regional councils by 1 July 2016 and new names confirmed by the Conseil d'État by 30 September 2016.[6][7] The legislation defining the new regions also allowed the Centre region to officially change its name to "Centre-Val de Loire" with effect from January 2015.[8] Two regions, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, opted to retain their interim names.[9][10]

Regions that merged:

Former region New region (interim name) New region (final name)
Burgundy Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
Franche-Comté
Aquitaine Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Limousin
Poitou-Charentes
Lower Normandy Normandy Normandy
Upper Normandy
Alsace Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Grand Est
Champagne-Ardenne
Lorraine
Languedoc-Roussillon Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Occitanie
Midi-Pyrénées
Nord-Pas-de-Calais Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie Hauts-de-France
Picardy
Auvergne Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Rhône-Alpes

Regions that remained unchanged:

Brittany
Centre-Val de Loire
Corsica
French Guiana
Guadeloupe
Île-de-France
Martinique
Mayotte
Pays de la Loire
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Réunion

List of administrative regions[edit]

Type Region Other local name(s) Capital Area (km2) INSEE No.[11] Former regions (until 2016) President of the corresponding territorial collectivity's legislature Location
Mainland region Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Occitan: Auvèrnhe-Ròse-Aups
Arpitan: Ôvèrgne-Rôno-Arpes
Lyon 69,711 84 Auvergne
Rhône-Alpes
Laurent Wauquiez (LR) Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Arpitan: Borgogne-Franche-Comtât Dijon 47,784 27 Burgundy
Franche-Comté
Marie-Guite Dufay (PS) Bourgogne-Franche-Comté in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Bretagne ("Brittany") Breton: Breizh
Gallo: Bertaèyn
Rennes 27,208 53 unchanged Loïg Chesnais-Girard (PS) Brittany in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Centre-Val de Loire[4] Orléans 39,151 24 Centre François Bonneau (PS) Centre-Val de Loire in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Corse ("Corsica") Corsican: Corsica Ajaccio 8,680 94 unchanged Jean-Guy Talamoni (CL) Corsica in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Grand Est ("Great East") German: Großer Osten Strasbourg 57,441 44 Alsace
Champagne-Ardenne
Lorraine
Jean Rottner (LR) Grand Est in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Hauts-de-France Lille 31,806 32 Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Picardy
Xavier Bertrand (LR) Hauts-de-France in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Île-de-France Paris 12,011 11 unchanged Valérie Pécresse (LR) Île-de-France in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Normandie ("Normandy") Norman: Normaundie Rouen 29,907 28 Upper Normandy
Lower Normandy
Hervé Morin (LC) Normandy in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Nouvelle-Aquitaine ("New Aquitaine") Occitan: Nòva Aquitània / Nava Aquitània / Novela Aquitània
Basque: Akitania Berria
Bordeaux 84,036 75 Aquitaine
Limousin
Poitou-Charentes
Alain Rousset (PS) Nouvelle-Aquitaine in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Occitanie Occitan: Occitània
Catalan: Occitània
Toulouse 72,724 76 Languedoc-Roussillon
Midi-Pyrénées
Carole Delga (PS) Occitanie in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Pays de la Loire Breton: Broioù al Liger Nantes 32,082 52 unchanged Christelle Morançais (LR) Pays de la Loire in France 2016.svg
Mainland region Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) Provençal: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur
(Prouvènço-Aup-Costo d'Azur)
Marseille 31,400 93 unchanged Renaud Muselier (LR) Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in France 2016.svg
Overseas region Guadeloupe Antillean Creole: Gwadloup Basse-Terre 1,628 01 unchanged Ary Chalus (GUSR) Guadeloupe in France 2016.svg
Overseas region Guyane ("French Guiana") Cayenne 83,534 03 unchanged Rodolphe Alexandre (PSG) French Guiana in France 2016.svg
Overseas region La Réunion ("Réunion") Reunion Creole: La Rényon Saint-Denis 2,504 04 unchanged Didier Robert (LR) Département 974 in France 2016.svg
Overseas region Martinique Antillean Creole: Matinik Fort-de-France 1,128 02 unchanged Claude Lise (RDM) Martinique in France 2016.svg
Overseas region Mayotte Shimaore: Maore
Malagasy: Mahori
Mamoudzou 374 06 unchanged Soibahadine Ibrahim Ramadani (LR) Mayotte in France 2016.svg

Role[edit]

Regions lack separate legislative authority and therefore cannot 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 contended that tax revenue was insufficient to pay for the resulting costs, and that such measures would increase regional inequalities.

In addition, regions have considerable discretionary power over infrastructural spending, e.g., education, public transit, universities and research, and assistance to business owners. This has meant that the heads of wealthy regions such as Île-de-France or Rhône-Alpes can be high-profile positions.

Proposals to give regions limited legislative autonomy have met with considerable resistance; others propose transferring certain powers from the departments to their respective regions, leaving the former with limited authority.

Regional control[edit]

Number of regions controlled by each coalition since 1986.

Elections Presidencies Map
  Left
  Right
  Other
1986 5 21 French regional elections 1986.svg
1992 4 21 1 French regional elections 1992.svg
1998 10 15 1 French regional elections 1998.svg
2004 23 2 1 French regional elections 2004.svg
2010 23 3 French regional elections 2010.svg
2015 7 8 2 French regional elections 2015 2nd Round.svg

Overseas regions[edit]

Overseas region (French: Région d'outre-mer) is a recent designation, given to the overseas departments that have similar powers to those of the regions of metropolitan France. As integral parts of the French Republic, they are represented in the National Assembly, Senate and Economic and Social Council, elect a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) and use the euro as their currency.

Although these territories have had these political powers since 1982, when France's decentralisation policy dictated that they be given elected regional councils along with other regional powers, the designation overseas regions dates only to the 2003 constitutional change; indeed, the new wording of the constitution aims to give no precedence to either appellation overseas department or overseas region, although the second is still virtually unused by French media.

The following have overseas region status:

Saint Pierre and Miquelon (off Canada, in North America), once an overseas department, was demoted to a territorial collectivity in 1985.

See also[edit]

General:

Overseas

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Carte des Régions" (in French). INSEE. Retrieved 29 September 2009.
  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.
  4. ^ a b New name as of 17 January 2015; formerly named Centre.
  5. ^ La carte à 13 régions définitivement adoptée, Le Monde, 17 December 2014, accessed 2 January 2015
  6. ^ Quel nom pour la nouvelle région ? Vous avez choisi..., Sud-Ouest, 4 December 2014, accessed 2 January 2015
  7. ^ "Nouveau nom de la région : dernier jour de vote, Occitanie en tête". midilibre.fr.
  8. ^ "Journal officiel of 17 January 2015". Légifrance (in French). 17 January 2015. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  9. ^ "Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes : fini la consultation, Laurent Wauquiez a tranché - Place Gre'net". placegrenet.fr. 31 May 2016.
  10. ^ "Région Bourgogne-Franche-Comté". www.bourgognefranchecomte.fr.
  11. ^ "La nouvelle nomenclature des codes régions" (in French). INSEE. Retrieved 17 January 2016.

External links[edit]

Overseas regions