Regions of France

3

Mainland France comprises of 13 administrative regions which are in turn subdivided into départements. The regions were created by the Law of Decentralisation (2 March 1982) with a legal status. Originally the country was divided in 22 regions before the implementation of a major reorganisation of French regions which was effective from 1 January 2016. Six new regions of France were created from the merger of existing regions while five maintained their existing boundaries. Each of the regions of France display a rich heritage of history and culture.

  • Regions of France

    Regions of France General Map June 2016 copyright French Moments

    Regions of France (with names as for 27 June 2016) © French Moments

    All the regions of France uphold a stunning variety of landscape and architecture. Their natural landscapes are characterised by mountains, hills, plains and coastal areas. The climate varies greatly from the snow-capped peaks of the Alps to the plains of the Loire Valley and the holiday resorts of the French Riviera.

    With their specific identities, the regions of France are drenched in tradition. Each province benefits from a distinct culture, gastronomy and sometimes dialect. However it must be pointed out that most of today’s regions of France are more administrative than cultural or historical entities.

    List of the 13 Regions of France with facts and figures.


    Nouvelle-Aquitaine

    Regions of France Nouvelle Aquitaine June 2016 copyright French Moments

    Includes the former regions of Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes.

    A few pages on the region:


    Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes

    Regions of France Auvergne Rhône Alpes June 2016 copyright French Moments

    Includes the former regions of Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes.

    • Population: 7,695,264 (2012)
    • Area: 69,711 km2
    • Regional capital: Lyon
    • Other main cities: Grenoble, Saint-Étienne, Clermont-Ferrand, Chambéry, Annecy, Valence
    • President of the Regional Council: Laurent Wauquiez (Les Républicains)
    • Number of départements: 13
    • Main sites: Vieux-Lyon, Volcanoes of Auvergne, Mont-Blanc, National Parks of the Vanoise and Écrins, Lake Annecy, Ardèche Gorges

    A few pages on the region:


    Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

    Regions of France Bourgogne Franche Comté June 2016 copyright French Moments

    Includes the former regions of Bourgogne and Franche-Comté.

    • Population: 2,816,814 (2012)
    • Area: 47,784 km2
    • Regional capital: Dijon
    • Other main cities: Besançon, Montbéliard, Belfort, Chalon-sur-Saône, Mâcon, Nevers, Auxerre
    • President of the Regional Council: Marie-Guite Dufay (Parti Socialiste)
    • Number of départements: 8
    • Main sites: Historic Centre of Dijon, Vauban Citadel of Besançon, Royal Saltworks of Arc-et-Senans, Alésia, vineyards of Burgundy

    A few pages on the region:


    Bretagne (Brittany)

    Regions of France Bretagne June 2016 copyright French Moments

    • Population: 3,237,097 (2012)
    • Area: 27,208 km2
    • Regional capital: Rennes
    • Other main cities: Brest, Lorient, Vannes, Quimper
    • President of the Regional Council: Jean-Yves Le Drian (Parti Socialiste)
    • Number of départements: 4
    • Main sites: Fortifications of Saint-Malo, Old Towns of Quimper, Dinard, Castles of Vitré and Fougères, Carnac, Quiberon, Belle-Île

    Centre-Val-de-Loire

    Regions of France Centre Val de Loire June 2016 copyright French Moments

    Formerly known as ‘Centre’ until 17 January 2015

    • Population: 2,563,586 (2012)
    • Area: 39,151 km2
    • Regional capital: Orléans
    • Other main cities: Tours, Bourges, Chartres, Blois
    • President of the Regional Council: François Bonneau (Parti Socialiste)
    • Number of départements: 6
    • Main sites: Chateaux of the Loire (Chambord, Amboise, Blois, Villandry, Chenonceau, Ussé, Azay-le-Rideau, Langeais), Gothic cathedrals of Bourges, Chartres, Tours and Orléans

    A few pages on the region:


    Corse (Corsica)

    Regions of France Corse June 2016 copyright French Moments

    • Population: 322,120 (2013)
    • Area: 8,680 km2
    • Regional capital: Ajaccio
    • Other main cities: Bastia
    • President of the Regional Council: Gilles Simeoni (Nationaliste)
    • Number of départements: 2
    • Main sites: Calanques of Piana, Gulf of Porto, Îles Sanguinaires, Bonifaccio, Calvi, Porto-Vecchio

    Grand Est

    Regions of France Grand Est June 2016 copyright French Moments

    New name chosen from 4 options on 4 April 2016 over Acalie / Rhin-Champagne / Nouvelle Austrasie.

    Includes the former regions of Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine.

    A few pages on the region:


    Hauts-de-France

    Regions of France Hauts-de-France June 2016 copyright French Moments

    [new name chosen on 14 March 2016 over ‘Terres du Nord’ and ‘Nord-de-France’].

    Includes the former regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardie. The official name bears the subtitle ‘Nord Pas-de-Calais Picardie”

    • Population: 5,973,098 (2012)
    • Area: 31,813 km2
    • Regional capital: Lille
    • Other main cities: Amiens, Dunkerque, Calais, Saint-Quentin, Beauvais, Valenciennes, Maubeuge, Lens
    • President of the Regional Council: Xavier Bertrand (Les Républicains)
    • Number of départements: 5
    • Main sites: Belfries of Flanders, Bay of the Somme, Vieux-Lille, Gothic Cathedrals of AmiensBeauvais, Senlis and Laon, Palace of Compiègne, Chantilly CastlePierrefonds Castle, WWI Battlefields of the Somme

    A few pages on the region:


    Île de France (Paris Region)

    Regions of France Ile de France June 2016 copyright French Moments

    • Population: 12,005,077 (2014)
    • Area: 12,012 km2
    • Regional capital: Paris
    • Other main cities: Versailles, Boulogne-Billancourt, Argenteuil, Saint-Denis, Bobigny
    • President of the Regional Council: Valérie Pécresse (Les Républicains)
    • Number of départements: 8
    • Main sites: Eiffel Tower, Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Saint-Denis Basilica, Palace of Versailles, Palace of Fontainebleau, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Medieval Town of Provins, Disneyland Paris

    A few pages on the region:


    Occitanie

    Regions of France Occitanie June 2016 copyright French Moments

    Includes the former regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées.

    • Population: 5,626,858 (2012)
    • Area: 72,724 km2
    • Regional capital: Toulouse
    • Other main cities: Montpellier, Nîmes, Perpignan
    • President of the Regional Council: Carole Delga (Parti Socialiste)
    • Number of départements: 13
    • Main sites: Old Towns of Toulouse and AlbiCité de Carcassonne, Aigues-Mortes, Mont Canigou, Canal du Midi, Castles of the Cathars, Rocamadour

    A few pages on the region:


    Normandie (Normandy)

    Regions of France Normandie June 2016 copyright French Moments

    Includes the former regions of Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie.

    • Population: 3,322,756 (2012)
    • Area: 29,906 km2
    • Regional capital: Rouen (tbc by 1 October 2016)
    • Other main cities: Caen, Le Havre, Évreux, Cherbourg-Octeville
    • President of the Regional Council: Hervé Morin (Les Républicains)
    • Number of départements: 5
    • Main sites: Old Town of Rouen, New Town of Le Havre, Cliffs of Étretat, Mont-Saint-Michel, Honfleur, Deauville-Trouville, D-Day Landing beaches

    A few pages on the region:


    Pays de la Loire

    Regions of France Pays de la Loire June 2016 copyright French Moments

    • Population: 3,632,614 (2012)
    • Area: 32,082 km2
    • Regional capital: Nantes
    • Other main cities: Angers, Le Mans, Saint-Nazaire
    • President of the Regional Council: Bruno Retailleau (Les Républicains)
    • Number of départements: 5
    • Main sites: Old Towns of Nantes and Le Mans, Castles of Saumur, Brissac and Angers

    Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (aka PACA)

    Regions of France Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur June 2016 copyright French Moments

    • Population: 4,935,576 (2012)
    • Area: 31,400 km2
    • Regional capital: Marseille
    • Other main cities: Nice, Toulon, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Arles, Cannes
    • President of the Regional Council: Christian Estrosi (Les Républicains)
    • Number of départements: 6
    • Main sites: Luberon, Mont Ventoux, Papal City of Avignon, Old Towns of Aix-en-Provence, Nice and Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Alpilles, Verdon Gorges, French Riviera, Calanques, Île d’Hyères, Saint-Tropez

    A few pages on the region:

  • Fields of action

    The legislative body of a French region is the Regional Council led by its President. A region in France does not have legislative authority and cannot write their own statutory law. However it can levy their own taxes. The Regional Councils are involved in several fields of action:

    • economic development: tourism, business development and professional training
    • public transport
    • secondary schools (lycées)
    • environmental issues: air quality
    • culture: regional arts and culture funding.
  • Territorial Reform introducing new regions as of 1 January 2016

    The change in the number of administrative regions in France took effect on 1 January 2016. The territorial reform was proposed by President François Hollande, and voted by the French Parliament (National Assembly and Senate) in 2014. In a desire to modernise, simplify administrative procedures and create more powerful regional entities capable of carrying out large-scale projects for their citizens, the number of regions in Metropolitan France was reduced from 22 to 13.

    For the moment the names of the new regions are a combinaison of the names of the former regions. By 1 July 2016, new permanent names will become official. The capitals or head cities of the regions have all been nominated during the 2nd semester 2015. However the status of Rouen as ‘Capital of Normandy’ will be confirmed or overturned in favour of Caen before October 2016.

    The President of the Regional Council and his/her counsellors were elected in December 2015 with their mandate starting from 1st January 2016.

Share.

About Author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. In 2014 he moved back to Europe from Sydney with his wife and daughter to be closer to their families and to France. He has a background teaching French and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations and a degree of Economics and Management.

3 Comments

  1. Hi, love the info you have here, especially with tourism ideas.
    I was using it to show my French class the different regions. I’m wondering why Corsica and le Grand Est are not included in your maps and information. Is this a work in progress?
    I’m looking forward to having a good wander around your pages 🙂

    • Bonjour Catherine,
      Thank you so much for your feedback. I went back to our article and discovered that the content for the two regions (Corsica and Grand Est) was hidden because of a piece of html code missing. It should be back to normal now.
      Also I intend to create a full coverage on each region once they will all have their official name – a few regions are still deciding which name to choose and the deadline is set at the end of June 2016. Thank you again for pointing out this issue and have a great day!

  2. Merci beaucoup!
    I did know about the wait for official names. It has been interesting finding out about these changes. And good for my class – although I’m sure they don’t think so! 🙂

Leave A Reply


*