Administrative Divisions of France

The present administrative division of France dates back to the revolution of 1979. There was no organization that ever existed before that. Majority of lands belonged to the aristocracy. Because of the absence of organization, the people were dissatisfied with the affairs of the state. In the present, France has 27 administrative divisions. 22 regions are in metropolitan France, and the rest of the regions are overseas. Regions are governed by a regional council in which the members elected. The regional council has no legislative and regulatory power. Due to the absence of legislative authority, regions cannot write their own statutory law. However, they levy their own taxes and they have considerable budgets managed by the regional council. Regions govern in some infrastructure spending like research, education, and public transit. 

The administrative regions are further divided into 101 departments. The numbers of these departments are used in postal codes, vehicle plate numbers etc. 96 of these departments are in the metropolitan area while four are overseas. The four overseas regions are one and the same: French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Martinique and the Reunion. The 101 departments are also subdivided into 341 arrondissements or districts. Arrondissements are run by officials elected by the president. Arrondissements, in the eye of the law, are not legal entities. Arrondissements are divided into 4,051 cantons. These are the constituents during the general council’s election. The cantons are divided into 36,697 communes, the lowest administrative division in France.  The three communes, Lyon, Paris, and Marseille, are divided into 45 municipal arrondissements. Municipal arrondissements have their own mayor and council.

The administrative division in the metropolitan of France is the same as the administrative division overseas. The overseas regions are ruled in the same manner the regions in the metropolitan are governed. Overseas regions are subdivided into 12 arrondissements and further divided into 153 cantons that come up with 212 communes. The administrative division of France rules the institutional and territorial organizations of the country.  French subdivisions that have restricted administration are called territorial collectives. The territorial collectives include regions, departments, communes, overseas collectives, and provinces.

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