Regions of France

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Région  (French)
Category Unitary State
Location French Republic
Number 18
Possible status Overseas region (5)
Région d'outre-mer
Additional status Territorial collectivity
Collectivité Territoriale
Populations 212,645 (Mayotte) – 12,005,077 (Île-de-France)
Areas 376 km2 (145 sq mi) (Mayotte) – 84,061 km2 (32,456 sq mi) (Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes)
Government Region Government, National Government
Subdivisions Department

This article is part of the series on
Administrative divisions of France


(incl. overseas regions)

(incl. overseas departments)

Urban communities
Agglomeration communities
Commune communities
Syndicates of New Agglomeration

Associated communes
Municipal arrondissements

Others in Overseas France

Overseas collectivities
Sui generis collectivity
Overseas country
Overseas territory
Clipperton Island

France is divided into 18 administrative regions (French: région, [ʁe.ʒjɔ̃]), 13 of which are in Metropolitan France and five of which are overseas regions.[1] The mainland regions and Corsica are each further subdivided into departments, ranging in number from 2 to 13 per region for the metropolitan regions; the overseas regions technically consist of only one department each.


The term region 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] In 2016, the number of regions was reduced from 27 to 18 through amalgamation.

Regions from 1982 to 2015

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 overseas region.

French regions from 2011-15.

Reform and mergers of regions

File:France assembly vote.svg
Regions as instituted by the National Assembly in 2014.

In 2014, the French Parliament (the National Assembly and the Senate) passed a law that reduced the number of regions in Metropolitan France from 22 to 13. The new regions took effect on 1 January 2016.[5]

Regions that were merged:

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

Regions that remained unchanged:

Centre-Val de Loire
Pays de la Loire
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

The text of 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 will be proposed by the new regional councils and confirmed by the Conseil d'Etat by 1 July 2016.[6] The legislation defining the new regions also allowed the Centre region to officially change its name to "Centre-Val de Loire"; this change was effective from January 2015.[7]

Previous proposals


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

Number of regions controlled by each coalition since 1986.

Elections Presidencies Map
1986 5 21 - 100px
1992 4 21 1 100px
1998 10 15 1 100px
2004 23 2 1 100px
2010 23 3 - 100px
2015 7 8 2 100px

Regions and their capitals

Regions of France
Flag[3] Region French name Other local name(s) Capital INSEE No.[1] Derivation or etymology President
Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine German: Elsass-Champagne-Ardenne-Lothringen Strasbourg TBA Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, and Lorraine Philippe Richert (LR)
Flag of Aquitaine Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Occitan: Aquitània-Lemosin-Peitau-Charantas
Basque: Akitania-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes
Saintongeais : Aguiéne-Limousin-Poetou-Chérentes
Bordeaux TBA Aquitaine, Limousin, and Poitou-Charentes Alain Rousset (PS)
Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Occitan: Auvèrnhe-Ròse-Aups
Arpitan: Ôvèrgne-Rôno-Arpes
Lyon TBA Auvergne, Rhône-Alpes Laurent Wauquiez (LR)
Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Arpitan: Borgogne-Franche-Comtât Dijon TBA Burgundy, Franche-Comté Marie-Guite Dufay (PS)
Flag of Brittany Brittany Bretagne Breton: Breizh
Gallo: Bertaèyn
Rennes 53 Duchy of Brittany Jean-Yves Le Drian (PS)
Flag of Centre-Val de Loire Centre-Val de Loire[4] Centre-Val de Loire Orléans 24 Located in north-central France (central part of the original French language area)

Straddles the middle of the Loire Valley

François Bonneau (PS)
Flag of Île-de-France Île-de-France Île-de-France Paris 11 Province of Ile-de-France and parts
of the former province of Champagne
Valérie Pécresse (LR)
Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Occitan: Lengadòc-Rosselhon-Miègjorn-Pirenèus
Catalan: Llenguadoc-Rosselló-Mieidia-Pirenèus
Spanish: Languedoc-Rosellón-Mediodía-Pirineos
Toulouse TBA Languedoc-Roussillon, Midi-Pyrénées Carole Delga (PS)
Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardy Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie French Flemish: Noord-Nauw-van-Kales-Picardië Lille TBA Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Picardie Xavier Bertrand (LR)
Flag of Normandy Normandy Normandie Norman: Normaundie Rouen TBA Duchy of Normandy Hervé Morin (LR)
Flag of Pays-de-la-Loire Pays de la Loire Pays de la Loire Breton: Broioù al Liger Nantes 52 None; created for Nantes Bruno Retailleau (LR)
Flag of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) Occitan:
   Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur
   Prouvènço-Aup-Costo d'Azur
Marseille 93 Provence plus the former county of
, principality of Orange, Comtat Venaissin and a part of Dauphiné
Christian Estrosi (LR)
Flag of Corsica Corsica Corse Corsican: Corsica Ajaccio 94 Territorial collectivity Paul Giacobbi (PRG)
The following five overseas departments also have the special status of overseas region.
Flag of French Guiana French Guiana Guyane Cayenne 03 Overseas region Rodolphe Alexandre (PSG)
Flag of Guadeloupe Guadeloupe Guadeloupe Antillean Creole: Gwadloup Basse-Terre 01 Overseas region Ary Chalus (GUSR)
Flag of Martinique Martinique Martinique Antillean Creole: Matinik Fort-de-France 02 Overseas region Alfred Marie-Jeanne (MIM)
unofficial flag of Mayotte Mayotte Mayotte Shimaore: Maore
Malagasy: Mahori
Mamoudzou 05 Overseas region Daniel Zaïdani (DVG)
Flag of Réunion Réunion La Réunion Reunion Creole: La Rényon Saint-Denis 04 Overseas region Didier Robert (LR)

Overseas regions

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.
Outre-mer en sans Terre Adelie.png

See also




  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Carte des Régions" (in French). INSEE. Retrieved 2009-09-29.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Jean-Marie Miossec (2009), Géohistoire de la régionalisation en France, Paris: Presses universitaires de France ISBN 978-2-13-056665-6.
  3. 3.0 3.1 These flags are not official.
  4. 4.0 4.1 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. "Journal officiel of 17 January 2015". Légifrance (in French). 2015-01-17. Retrieved 2015-03-10.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Overseas regions