Regions of France
|Possible status||Overseas region (5)
|Additional status||Territorial collectivity
|Populations||212,645 (Mayotte) – 12,005,077 (Île-de-France)|
|Areas||376 km2 (145 sq mi) (Mayotte) – 84,061 km2 (32,456 sq mi) (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)|
|Government||Region Government, National Government|
This article is part of the series on
Administrative divisions of France
(incl. overseas regions)
(incl. overseas departments)
Others in Overseas France
France is divided into 18 administrative regions (French: région, [ʁe.ʒjɔ̃]), including 13 metropolitan regions and 5 overseas regions. The 13 metropolitan regions (including 12 mainland regions and Corsica) are each further subdivided into 2 to 13 departments, while the overseas regions consist of only one department each and hence are also referred to as "overseas departments". The current legal concept of region was adopted in 1982, and in 2016 what had been 27 regions was reduced to 18.
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. In 2016, the number of regions was reduced from 27 to 18 through amalgamation.
Reform and mergers of regions
In 2014, the French parliament passed a law reducing the number of metropolitan regions from 22 to 13 with effect from 1 January 2016.
The law gives 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 is Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes. However, the combined region of Upper and Lower Normandy is simply called "Normandy" (Normandie). Permanent names were to be proposed by the new regional councils by 1 July 2016; the new names will be confirmed by the Conseil d'État by October 2016. 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. Two regions, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, opted to retain their interim names.
Regions that merged:
Regions that remained unchanged:
Overview of region division proposals
Édouard Balladur's proposal
Manuel Valls's proposal A
Manuel Valls's proposal B
President François Hollande's proposal
Regions as instituted by the National Assembly in 2014.
Regions and their capitals
|Region||French name||Other local name(s)||Capital||INSEE No.||Derivation or etymology||President|
|Grand-Est||Grand-Est||German: Großer Osten||Strasbourg||44||The name translates to "Great East," encompassing the three northeastern former regions of Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, and Lorraine, themselves inspired by former French provinces disbanded in 1790||Philippe Richert (LR)|
|New Aquitaine||Nouvelle-Aquitaine||Occitan: Nòva Aquitània / Nava Aquitània / Novela Aquitània
Basque: Akitania Berria
|Bordeaux||75||Reflects an expanded, or "new," Aquitaine region, which merged with the regions of Limousin and Poitou-Charentes; Aquitaine (later known as Guyenne), Limousin, and Poitou were historic French provinces abolished in 1790||Alain Rousset (PS)|
|Lyon||84||This region is a merger of the former regions of Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes; these were named, respectively, after the historic province of Auvergne abolished in 1790 and after the former region's position along the Rhône river and in the Alps||Laurent Wauquiez (LR)|
|Bourgogne-Franche-Comté||Bourgogne-Franche-Comté||Arpitan: Borgogne-Franche-Comtât||Dijon||27||The region is a merger of the former regions of Burgundy and Franche-Comté; these regions were themselves based on French provinces abolished in 1790||Marie-Guite Dufay (PS)|
|Rennes||53||The region includes most of the former province of Brittany, abolished 1790||Jean-Yves Le Drian (PS)|
|Centre-Val de Loire||Centre-Val de Loire||Orléans||24||Translating to "Center–Loire Valley," the region has no historic basis, but is geographically located in north-central France and straddles the middle of the Loire Valley||François Bonneau (PS)|
|Île-de-France||Île-de-France||Paris||11||The modern region encompasses much of the former province of Île-de-France, abolished 1790||Valérie Pécresse (LR)|
|Toulouse||76||Encompasses much of the southern areas of France where Occitan, or langue d'oc, dialects are spoken; is a merger of the Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions. Languedoc and Roussillon were historic provinces abolished in 1790; the Midi refers to southern France, and Pyrenees to the region's position in this mountain range||Carole Delga (PS)|
|Hauts-de-France||Hauts-de-France||Lille||32||The name translates to "Upper France" or "Heights of France," and is located in the north-center of the country; it is a merger of the former regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardie, which recalled a province of France abolished in 1790||Xavier Bertrand (LR)|
|Normandy||Normandie||Norman: Normaundie||Rouen||28||Includes most of the former province of Normandy, abolished 1790; it is a merger of the former regions of Upper Normandy and Lower Normandy||Hervé Morin (UDI)|
|Pays de la Loire||Pays de la Loire||Breton: Broioù al Liger||Nantes||52||The name translates to "Lands of the Loire," as the Loire river is the major waterway in the area; the region has no historic basis, but was created as a zone of influence for the city of Nantes||Bruno Retailleau (LR)|
|Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)||Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)||Provençal: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur
|Marseille||93||Includes much of the former province of Provence, abolished 1790, and also reflects the region's position in the Alps and the French Riviera, or Côte d'Azur||Christian Estrosi (LR)|
|Corsica||Corse||Corsican: Corsica||Ajaccio||94||The region is composed entirely of the island of Corsica, a French territorial collectivity||Gilles Simeoni (Inseme per a Corsica)|
|The following five overseas departments also have the special status of overseas region.|
|French Guiana||Guyane||Cayenne||03||Overseas region||Rodolphe Alexandre (PSG)|
|Guadeloupe||Guadeloupe||Antillean Creole: Gwadloup||Basse-Terre||01||Overseas region||Ary Chalus (GUSR)|
|Martinique||Martinique||Antillean Creole: Matinik||Fort-de-France||02||Overseas region||Alfred Marie-Jeanne (MIM)|
|Mamoudzou||05||Overseas region||Daniel Zaïdani (DVG)|
|Réunion||La Réunion||Reunion Creole: La Rényon||Saint-Denis||04||Overseas region||Didier Robert (LR)|
Regions from 1982 to 2016
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 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.
Number of regions controlled by each coalition since 1986.
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:
- in the Indian Ocean (Africa)
- in the Americas
- Saint Pierre and Miquelon (off Canada, in North America), once an overseas department, was demoted to a territorial collectivity in 1985.
- Ranked list of French regions
- Administrative divisions of France
- List of French regions and overseas collectivities by GDP
- Flags of the regions of France
- ISO 3166-2:FR
- "Carte des Régions" (in French). INSEE. Retrieved 2009-09-29.
- Jean-Marie Miossec (2009), Géohistoire de la régionalisation en France, Paris: Presses universitaires de France ISBN 978-2-13-056665-6.
- La carte à 13 régions définitivement adoptée, Le Monde, 17 December 2014, accessed 2 January 2015
- Quel nom pour la nouvelle région ? Vous avez choisi..., Sud-Ouest, 4 December 2014, accessed 2 January 2015
- Nouveau nom de la région : dernier jour de campagne, Occitanie en tête
- "Journal officiel of 17 January 2015". Légifrance (in French). 2015-01-17. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
- "La nouvelle nomenclature des codes régions" (in French). INSEE. Retrieved 17 January 2016.
- New name as of 17 January 2015; formerly named Centre.
- These flags are not official.
- Regions of France at DMOZ
- Guide to the regions of France
- Local websites by region
- Will 2010 regional elections lead to political shake-up? Radio France Internationale in English
- Overseas regions