|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) (Nouvelle-Aquitaine)|
|Government||Regional Government, National Government|
France is divided into 18 administrative regions (French: région, [?e?j]), which are traditionally divided between 13 metropolitan regions, located on the European continent, and 5 overseas regions, located outside the European continent. The 12 mainland regions are each further subdivided into 4 to 13 departments, while the overseas regions consist of only one department each and hence are also referred to as "overseas departments". Similarly, Corsica is a "territorial collectivity" that also consists of only a single department. The current legal concept of region was adopted in 1982, and in 2016 what had been 27 regions was reduced to 18. The overseas regions should not be confused with the overseas collectivities, which have a semi-autonomous status.
The term région 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 mergers.
In 2014, the French parliament passed a law reducing the number of metropolitan regions from 22 to 13 effective 1 January 2016.
The law gave 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 was temporarily called Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes. However, the combined region of Upper and Lower Normandy is simply called "Normandy" (Normandie). Permanent names were proposed by the new regional councils by 1 July 2016 and new names confirmed by the Conseil d'État by 30 September 2016. The legislation defining the new regions also allowed the Centre region to officially change its name to "Centre-Val de Loire" with effect from January 2015. Two regions, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, opted to retain their interim names.
Regions that merged:
Regions that remained unchanged:
Édouard Balladur's proposal
Manuel Valls's proposal A
Manuel Valls's proposal B
President François Hollande's proposal
Regions as instituted by the National Assembly in 2014
|Region||French name||Other local name(s)||Capital||INSEE No.||Derivation or etymology||President|
|Grand Est||Grand Est||German: Großer Osten||Strasbourg||44||The name translates to "Great East," encompassing the three northeastern former regions of Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, and Lorraine, themselves inspired by former French provinces disbanded in 1790||Jean Rottner (LR)|
|Nouvelle-Aquitaine||Nouvelle-Aquitaine||Occitan: Nòva Aquitània / Nava Aquitània / Novela Aquitània
Basque: Akitania Berria
|Bordeaux||75||Reflects an expanded, or "new," Aquitaine region, which merged with the regions of Limousin and Poitou-Charentes; Aquitaine (later known as Guyenne), Limousin, and Poitou were historic French provinces abolished in 1790||Alain Rousset (PS)|
|Lyon||84||This region is a merger of the former regions of Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes; these were named, respectively, after the historic province of Auvergne abolished in 1790 and after the former region's position along the Rhône river and in the Alps||Laurent Wauquiez (LR)|
|Bourgogne-Franche-Comté||Bourgogne-Franche-Comté||Arpitan: Borgogne-Franche-Comtât||Dijon||27||The region is a merger of the former regions of Burgundy and Franche-Comté; these regions were themselves based on French provinces disbanded in 1790||Marie-Guite Dufay (PS)|
|Rennes||53||The region covers 80% of the former province of Brittany, abolished 1790. Nantes, the historic capital, is now in Pays de la Loire (see below).||Loïg Chesnais-Girard (PS)|
|Centre-Val de Loire||Centre-Val de Loire||Orléans||24||Translating to "Centre-Loire Valley," the region has no historic basis, but is geographically located in north-central France and straddles the middle of the Loire Valley||François Bonneau (PS)|
|Île-de-France||Île-de-France||Paris||11||The modern region encompasses much of the former province of Île-de-France, abolished 1790||Valérie Pécresse (LR)|
|Toulouse||76||Encompasses much of the southern areas of France where Occitan, or langue d'oc, dialects are spoken; is a merger of the Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées regions. Languedoc and Roussillon were historic provinces dissolved in 1790; the Midi refers to southern France, and Pyrénées to the region's position in this mountain range||Carole Delga (PS)|
|Hauts-de-France||Hauts-de-France||Lille||32||Occupying the northern tip of the country, this region's name translates to "Upper France." It is a merger of the former regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy, which recalled a province of France abolished in 1790||Xavier Bertrand (LR)|
|Normandy||Normandie||Norman: Normaundie||Rouen||28||The region is largely coterminous with the former province of Normandy, abolished 1790; it is a merger of the former regions of Upper Normandy and Lower Normandy||Hervé Morin (LC)|
|Pays de la Loire||Pays de la Loire||Breton: Broioù al Liger||Nantes||52||The name translates to "Land(s) of the Loire," as the Loire river is the major waterway in the area; the region has no historic basis, but was created as a zone of influence for the city of Nantes, the historic capital of Brittany.||Christelle Morançais (LR)|
|Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)||Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)||Provençal: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur
|Marseille||93||Consists of the former province of Provence, dissolved in 1790, as well as some adjacent territories in the French Alps and along the French Riviera (Côte d'Azur)||Renaud Muselier (LR)|
|Corsica||Corse||Corsican: Corsica||Ajaccio||94||The region is composed entirely of the island of Corsica, a French territorial collectivity that has belonged to France since 1768||Jean-Guy Talamoni (CL), Gilles Simeoni (Inseme per a Corsica)|
|The following five overseas departments also have the special status of overseas region.|
|French Guiana||Guyane||Cayenne||03||Overseas region||Rodolphe Alexandre (PSG)|
|Guadeloupe||Guadeloupe||Antillean Creole: Gwadloup||Basse-Terre||01||Overseas region||Ary Chalus (GUSR)|
|Martinique||Martinique||Antillean Creole: Matinik||Fort-de-France||02||Overseas region||Claude Lise (RDM), Alfred Marie-Jeanne (MIM)|
|Mamoudzou||06||Overseas region||Soibahadine Ibrahim Ramadani (LR)|
|Réunion||La Réunion||Reunion Creole: La Rényon||Saint-Denis||04||Overseas region||Didier Robert (LR)|
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.
|Flag||Region||French name||Other local name(s)||Capital||INSEE No.||Derivation or etymology|
|Strasbourg||42||Formerly a coalition of free cities in Holy Roman Empire, attached to Kingdom of France in 1648; annexed by Germany from Franco-Prussian war to the end of World War I and briefly during World War II|
Saintongeais : Aguiéne
|Bordeaux||72||Guyenne and Gascony|
|Auvergne||Auvergne||Occitan: Auvèrnhe / Auvèrnha||Clermont-Ferrand||83||Former province of Auvergne|
|Rennes||53||Duchy of Brittany|
|Burgundy||Bourgogne||Burgundian: Bregogne / Borgoégne
|Dijon||26||Duchy of Burgundy|
|Centre-Val de Loire||Centre-Val de Loire||Orléans||24||Located in north-central France; straddles the middle of the Loire Valley|
|21||Former province of Champagne|
|Besançon||43||Free County of Burgundy (Franche-Comté)|
|Île-de-France||Île-de-France||Paris||11||Province of Île-de-France and parts of the former province of Champagne|
|Montpellier||91||Former provinces of Languedoc and Roussillon|
|Limousin||Limousin||Occitan: Lemosin||Limoges||74||Former province of Limousin and parts of Marche, Berry, Auvergne, Poitou and Angoumois|
Lorraine Franconian: Lottringe
|Metz||41||Named for Charlemagne's son Lothair I, the kingdom of Lotharingia is etymologically the source for the name Lorraine (duchy), Lothringen (German), Lottringe (Lorraine Franconian)|
|Lower Normandy||Basse-Normandie||Norman: Basse-Normaundie||Caen||25||Western half of former province of Normandy|
|Toulouse||73||None; created for Toulouse|
|Nord-Pas-de-Calais||Nord-Pas-de-Calais||Lille||31||Nord and Pas-de-Calais departments|
|Pays de la Loire||Pays de la Loire||Breton: Broioù al Liger||Nantes||52||None; created for Nantes|
|Picardy||Picardie||Amiens||22||Former province of Picardy|
Poitevin and Saintongeais : Poetou-Chérentes
|Poitiers||54||Former provinces of Angoumois, Aunis, Poitou and Saintonge|
|Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)||Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA)||Provençal: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur
|Marseille||93||Former province of Provence|
Occitan: Ròse Aups
|Lyon||82||Created for Lyon from Dauphiné and Lyonnais provinces and Savoy|
|Upper Normandy||Haute-Normandie||Norman: ?âote-Normaundie||Rouen||23||Eastern half of former province of Normandy|
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.
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: