Administrative divisions of France

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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

The administrative divisions of France are concerned with the institutional and territorial organization of French territory. There are many administrative divisions, which may have political (local government), electoral (districts), or administrative (decentralized services of the state) objectives.

The different status


The French republic is divided into 18 regions : 13 in metropolitan France and 5 in overseas France.

Metropolitan regions

As of 1 January 2016, metropolitan France is divided into the following:[1]

Furthermore, as of January 2009, there exist 2,585 intercommunal structures grouping 34,077 communes (93.2% of all the communes of metropolitan France), with 87.4% of the population of metropolitan France living in them.[3] These intercommunal structures are:

Overseas regions

  • each overseas region is coextensive with an overseas department (département d'outre-mer, or DOM), again with the same status as departments in metropolitan France. The first four overseas departments were created in 1946 and preceded the four overseas regions, Mayotte became a DOM in 2011. The dual structure overseas region/overseas department, with two separate assemblies administering the same territory, results from the extension of the regional scheme to the overseas departments in the 1970s. Each overseas region/department may transform into a single structure, with the merger of the regional and departmental assemblies, but voters in Martinique and Guadeloupe rejected this in two referendums in 2003. In Réunion the creation of a second department for the southern part of the island has been debated for some time.
  • the overseas departments are subdivided into 12 arrondissements (Mayotte does not have arrondissements)
  • the 12 arrondissements are further subdivided into 153 cantons with Mayotte having another 19 cantons
  • the 172 cantons are composed of 129 communes (in the five DOM, there are more cantons than communes, unlike in metropolitan France, because many communes are divided into several cantons, whereas in metropolitan France in general cantons are made up of several communes, except in large communes like Toulouse or Lille which are divided into several cantons)
  • Furthermore, as of January 1, 2009, there exist 16 intercommunal structures in the overseas departments, grouping 89 communes (79.5% of all the communes of the overseas departments), with 83.2% of the population of the overseas departments living in them intercommunal structures.[3] These intercommunal structures are:
  • 7 Agglomeration communities
  • 9 Commune communities

Overseas collectivities

The French Republic include five overseas collectivities (collectivités d'outre-mer, or COM): French Polynesia, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint-Martin, Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and Wallis and Futuna

Overseas territory

1 overseas territory (territoire d'outre-mer, or TOM): the French Southern and Antarctic Lands, which have no permanent population and no communes.

1. Kerguelen Islands
2. Crozet Islands
3. Amsterdam Island and Saint Paul Island
4. Adelie Land.
5. the Scattered Islands (îles Éparses), a collection of six non permanently inhabited islands in the Indian Ocean: Banc du Geyser, Bassas da India, Europa, Juan de Nova, Glorioso, and Tromelin. These were previously administered separately but they have been joined with the French Southern and Antarctic Lands since February 2007.

Uninhabited island directly under the authority of the Minister of Overseas France

New Caledonia

  • It is divided into 3 provinces
  • the provinces are subdivided into 33 communes

Territorial collectivities

Main article: Décentralisation

French subdivisions that have a (limited) freedom of administration are called territorial collectivities. Among them are regions, departments, communes, overseas collectivities, provinces (only present in New Caledonia) and the territorial collectivity of Corsica which belongs to no category (but is usually grouped with the regions). New Caledonia is unique as it is not a territorial collectivity.

General rules

Citizens from all parts of France, including the overseas administrative divisions, vote in national elections (presidential, legislative), and all of the collectivities are represented in the Senate.

List of departments by region

Historical divisions

Regions and departments of France from 1982 to 2015.

In the Medieval period, the territory of modern metropolitan France was occupied by a complex mosaic of more or less independent entities. Their gradual incorporation into France may be followed in the article Territorial formation of France.

Historically, France was divided into provinces; see Provinces of France.

See also


External links

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