- the thematic guide to France
Discover the regions of France
The 13 regions of metropolitan
France (since 2016)
Click links for detailed information on any region.
Since 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. Some of the
new super-regions combine the names of the old regions, others like
Occitanie or Grand Est are new. Meanwhile the old regions that have
been merged are likely to keep their identities, though not their
institutions, for some time to come, specially those that
like Limousin, Champagne or Alsace, are historic provinces or areas of
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.
Regions are the top tier territorial
units of France. There are 13 regions in metropolitan France, i.e.
continental France plus the island of Corsica. There are also five
overseas regions. Merged 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 a new region called Occitanie
Following the 2016 regional reform, there are now
nine regions in the north of France, and just three in the south of
continental France. This guide only covers France
in Europe, and excludes French overseas regions such as the
Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
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
), local areas (communautés
Historic regions, provinces and other areas :
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
France also has a number of well-known "areas"
which are not administrative regions. These are historic or geographic
areas, or simply areas that have an identity in terms of tourism. See
the list to the right.
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 Hollande was determined to see it
through, and as fast as possible. 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 if or 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....
The six tourist areas of France
a tourist area of France for a general overview:
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