Top 10 largest cities of France by population


This list refers to the 10 largest communes in France by population, starting with the capital – Paris – which is by far the most populous city.

A commune is the basic unit of local administration in the French Republic. Each one is run by a municipal council (conseil municipal) whose leader is the mayor (le maire). There are 36,681 communes in France in 2014 of various surface areas. The data was compiled by INSEE, the French National Statistical Office for the 2010 census. These figures do not include the population of the town’s metropolitan area nor its suburbs.

1. Paris

Montparnasse © French Moments

  • Population: 2,249,975
  • Département of Paris, region of Île de France.

2. Marseille

  • Population: 850,636
  • Département of Bouches-du-Rhône, region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

3. Lyon

Lyon Old Town as seen from Fourvière Hill © French Moments

  • Population: 491,268
  • Département of Rhône, region of Rhône-Alpes.

4. Toulouse

Toulouse © CRT Midi-Pyrénées / Dominique VIET

  • Population: 447,340
  • Département of Haute-Garonne, region of Midi-Pyrénées.

5. Nice

  • Population: 344,064
  • Département of Alpes-Maritime, region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.

6. Nantes


  • Population: 287,845
  • Département of Loire-Atlantique, region of Pays-de-la-Loire.

7. Strasbourg


  • Population: 272,222
  • Département of Bas-Rhin, region of Alsace.

8. Montpellier

  • Population: 264,538
  • Département of Hérault, region of Languedoc-Roussillon.

9. Bordeaux


  • Population: 239,399
  • Département of Gironde, region of Aquitaine.

10. Lille

  • Population: 227,533
  • Département of Nord, region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais.


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.


  1. Population of city proper = is not good !

    “Metropolitan area” is better in 2016. For exemple Lyon is bigger than Marseille (transport, students, economy). Lille/Bordeaux are bigger than Nice and Rennes is an important area with a metropolitan area of 700 000 inhabitants…

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