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) (Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes)|
|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]), 13 of which are in Metropolitan France and five of which are overseas regions. 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. 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.
Reform and mergers of regions
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.
Regions that were merged:
Regions that remained unchanged:
|Centre-Val de Loire|
|Pays de la Loire|
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. 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.
France proposal regions (2009) map.svg
Édouard Balladur's proposal
France proposal regions (2014) map.svg
Manuel Valls's proposal A
France proposal regions (2014) map2.svg
Manuel Valls's proposal B
France proposal regions (2014) map3.svg
President François Hollande's proposal
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.
Regions and their capitals
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.
- These flags are not official.
- New name as of 17 January 2015; formerly named Centre.
- 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
- "Journal officiel of 17 January 2015". Légifrance (in French). 2015-01-17. Retrieved 2015-03-10.
- 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