About-France.com

The Regions of  France

About-France.com - a thematic guide to France
Click on the map above or on one of the links below right for information on a specific region or area and its top tourist attractions.
France is so much more
than just Paris.....


All the regions of France are or include popular tourist destinations, but there are considerable differences in culture, character and climate, from one region to another.
Somewhere in FranceBrittanyNormandyPicardyNord-Pas de Calais regionIle de FrancePays de la LoireCentre regionChampagne-ArdennesLorraineBurgundyFranche-ComtéAlsacePoitou-CharentesLimousinAuvergneRhone-Alpes regionAquitaineMidi-PyreneesLanguedoc - RoussillonProvence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
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France as six tourist areas
See part 2 below. France can be divided - as a tourist destination - into six areas, combining similar neighbouring regions into larger and coherent areas with similarities in terms of climate, environment and tourist attractions.
Devolved regional powers in France :
Regional authorities in France
are responsible for an increasingly large number of public services.  Click for more details

Holiday gites in France direct booking with owners mostly English speakers
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Driving in France 
Tips and useful information on driving in and through France - motorways, tolls, where to stay....
Other travel in France 
Public transport;  travel round in France by train, plane, coach, or even on foot or by bicycle
Tourism in France
The main tourist attractions and places to visit in France - historic monuments, art galleries, seasides, and more
Planning a trip to France 
Information on things to do before starting your trip to France.
Guide to Paris
Make the most of your trip to Paris; Information on attractions, Paris hotels, transport,  and lots more. 
Maps of France
Cities, towns, departments, regions, climate, wine areas and other themes.
The French way of life 
A mine of information about life and living in France, including working in France, living in France, food and eating, education, shopping
A-Z dictionary of France
Encyclopedic dictionary of modern France - key figures, institutions, acronyms, culture, icons, etc.

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1. Discover the regions of France

Since January 1st 2016, Metropolitan France has been divided administratively into  13 regions; until the end of 2015, there were 22 regions.
   The reduction has been obtained by mergeing certain regions together, as can be seen on the map above. For the time being the new super-regions combine the names of the old regions, whose identities, though not their institutions, will remain strong for some time to come.
 There are also five overseas regions. Select any region or area in the list below right, or on the map above, for specific regional information and main tourist attractions.

Definition:

    Regions are the principal territorial units of France. There are 13 regions in metropolitan France, i.e. continental France plus the island of Corsica. There are five overseas regions.
    The number was reduced to 13 at the start of 2016. Mergeing regions are linked by colour in the map at the top of the page. For example Midi Pyrenees and Languedoc Roussillon are now combined in the new region currently known as "Midi-Pyrenees- Languedoc-Roussillon".  The definitive names of new combined regions will in theory be determined by the new regional councils during 2016. Favourite proposal for the unwieldy "Midi-Pyrenees- Languedoc-Roussillon" is Occitanie, or in English Occitania, historically the land where people spoke varieties of Occitanian French, which were, and still are, quite different from standard French.
   Basically the new division means that there are now nine regions in the north of France, and just four in the south.

    Each region has its regional council, whose members are elected by universal suffrage. The council is presided over by a regional president, and has a full local administration to go with it.
    Regions have extensive powers in the fields of transport, infrastructure, economic development, tourism and education (provision of lycées), and since these powers were devolved to them from 1981 onwards regions have often worked hard over the years to develop a regional identity.

   Regions are the top tier of a distinctly complex multi-tiered system of local administration, which also includes counties (départements), local areas (communautés de communes) and boroughs (communes).
    This guide only covers France in Europe, and consequently excludes  French overseas regions such as the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.

History:

   Many of today's French regions correspond largely to the provinces of pre-revolutionary France, and share the same name. Others are modern creations including areas from different historic provinces. The historic region of Normandy is currently two modern regions.  


Regional reform:

The regional structure of France changed on Jan 1st 2016 as part of a major overhaul of local government. Reform had been on the cards for many years, but President François Hollande was determined to see it through, and as fast as possible.  Indeed, the plan to reduce the number of regions of Metropolitan France from 22 to 13 was adopted by the French parliament in December 2014, and the change  came into effect at the start of 2016.
   The new regional geography of France does not go down well in all areas, and changes to the new structure may occur in the near future. Departments have the right to demand their transfer from one region to another; any changes must be approved by the departmental council and the two regional councils concerned. Things will get interesting when a department asks to move, and this is approved by the department and by the receiving region, but not by the region it wants to leave....


Click here for facts on the main cities in France

Click for a larger regional map of France (physical).
► In greater detail ......
   Region by region:
(The 22 regions)
Alsace
Aquitaine
Auvergne
Brittany
Burgundy
Centre
Champagne
Corsica
Franche Comté
Ile de France (Paris)
Languedoc-Roussillon
Limousin
Lorraine
Midi-Pyrénées
Nord – Pas-de-Calais
Normandy (Haute & Basse)
Pays de la Loire
Picardy
Poitou-Charentes
Provence - Côte-d'Azur
Rhone-Alpes
Thematic pages and other area guides ....
Cathar country - who were the Cathars?
The French Riviera
The Camargue
Wild France - far from the crowds
French Alps ski areas
The coasts and seaside of France
The Dordogne area
The Massif Central

2.   The six tourist areas of France

Select a tourist area of France for a general overview:
1 North west France
2. The heart of France
3. North east France
4. Southwest France
5. Upland France
6 Le Midi - southern France
tourist areas franceFor tourism purposes, France can alternatively be considered as six tourist areas, each with different  characteristics. Each of the six areas has its own particular appeal and characteristics as a tourist destination, and each has plenty to discover, and plenty to offer.
Select one of the six areas from the list on the left, for a general overview of this particular area of France. For more detailed information, choose the corresponding regions of France as listed above.


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