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Regions of France

Pauline Kenny, October 2004

France is divided into communes, departments and regions. I find it confusing to determine which area people are talking about. People sometimes refer to the official region, but frequently use the department name or some unofficial regional name. For example, you will hear people talk about the Luberon. This is not an official region or department. It is an area within the department Vaucluse in the region of Provence.

Commune: Communes are the villages, towns and cities of France. There are 36,851 communes. The largest commune are Paris, Lyon and Marseilles, followed by Toulouse, Dijon, Bordeaux, and Strasbourg. Only 52 communes have more than 100,000 inhabitants.

Departments: The entire country is divided into 95 or 99 departments (depends who you read). Before the French Revolution, the country was divided into regions, but this was changed to make the more anonymous and smaller departments. In 1982, the French government brought back the regions, keeping the departments, but assigning groups of departments to a region.

Regions: There are 22 or 26 regions (depends who you read). Regions existed in some form originally (pre-French Revolution), then were disbanded and replaced by departments, but in 1982 were brought back.

Note About the Perigord and the Dordogne

Perigord is the ancient name of the area that is now the department of the Dordogne (departement 24) in the Aquitaine region in the southwest corner of France. Most French people refer to the area as the Perigord; most outsiders call it the Dordogne. There are four areas within the Perigord - Perigord Pourpre, Perigord Blanc, Perigord Vert, and Perigord Noir (the area encompassing most of the prehistoric sites and so-called because of the black walnuts grown in such profusion there).

Regions Used to Group Reviews on Slow Travel

I have merged a few of the regions to come up with these 19 regions for grouping our travel information and reviews. I loosely followed the regions in DK Eyewitness Travel Guide for France.

Maps and boundary data are copyrighted by FOTW Flags Of The World

Groupings of regions used on the Slow Travel site

The Regions of France

This map shows the official 22 regions of France with the French names (these regions were set in 1972).

REGION (French name)


Northeast France

Picardy (Picardie)
Le Nord (Nord-Pas-de-Calais)
Champagne (Champagne-Ardenne)

Western France

Normandy (Haute-Normandie, Basse-Normandie)
Brittany (Bretagne)
Loire Valley (Pays de la Loire)

Central France

Burgundy (Bourgogne)
Massif Central (Centre)
Rhone Valley and French Alps (Rhone-Alpes)

Southwest France

Poitou (Poitou-Charentes)
Pyrenees (Midi-Pyrenees)

South of France

Provence and Cote d'Azur (Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur)
Corsica (Corse)

The Departments of France

This map shows the original 96 departments of France.

Maps and boundary data are copyrighted by FOTW Flags Of The World

01 Ain
02 Aisne
03 Allier
04 Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
05 Hautes-Alpes
06 Alpes-Maritimes
07 Ardeche
08 Ardennes
09 Ariege
10 Aube
11 Aude
12 Aveyron
13 Bouches-du-Rhone
14 Calvados
15 Cantal
16 Charente
17 Charente-Maritime
18 Cher
19 Correze
2A Corse-du-Sud
2B Haute-Corse
21 Cote-d'Or
22 Cotes-d'Armor
23 Creuse
24 Dordogne
25 Doubs
26 Drome
27 Eure
28 Eure-et-Loir
29 Finistere
30 Gard
31 Haute-Garonne
32 Gers
33 Gironde
34 Herault
35 Ille-et-Vilaine
36 Indre
37 Indre-et-Loire
38 Isere
39 Jura
40 Landes
41 Loir-et-Cher
42 Loire
43 Haute-Loire
44 Loire-Atlantique
45 Loiret
46 Lot
47 Lot-et-Garonne
48 Lozere
49 Maine-et-Loire
50 Manche
51 Marne
52 Haute-Marne
53 Mayenne
54 Moselle
55 Meuse
56 Morbihan
57 Meurthe-et-Moselle
58 Nievre
59 Nord
60 Oise
61 Orne
62 Pas-de-Calais
63 Puy-de-Dume
64 Pyrenees-Atlantiques
65 Hautes-Pyrenees
66 Pyrenees-Orientales
67 Bas-Rhin
68 Haut-Rhin
69 Rhone
70 Haute-Saone
71 Saone-et-Loire
72 Sarthe
73 Savoie
74 Haute-Savoie
75 Paris
76 Seine-Maritime
77 Seine-et-Marne
78 Yvelines
79 Deux-Sevres
80 Somme
81 Tarn
82 Tarn-et-Garonne
83 Var
84 Vaucluse
85 Vendee
86 Vienne
87 Haute-Vienne
88 Vosges
89 Yonne
90 Territoire de Belfort
91 Essonne
92 Hauts-de-Seine
93 Seine-Saint-Denis
94 Val-de-Marne
95 Val-d'Oise


See Flags of the World for a description of departments and regions in France.

Another good map is on the Gites de France site. Click on the region to see the departments.

Thanks to FLOW - Flags of the World - web site for these great maps (used with permission)! (I made changes to the region map to put the English names of the regions.)

Some of the information on this page was taken from the book "Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong" by Jean-Benoit Nadeau and Julie Barlow, Sourcebooks Inc., 2003.

Maps and boundary data are copyrighted by FOTW - Flags Of The World web site

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