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Departments and Regions in France

French departments all have a number and you will find this number being used as part of the local postcode and on vehicle registrations. Listed below are regions of France showing the Department with the capital city/town (Préfecture).

Aquitaine - One of the largest regions in France. Aquitaine is in the very south-west stretching from the Spanish border up the Atlantic coast until it meets Poitou-Charentes, while to the east it borders the Midi Pyrénées region. It is made up of five departments: Pyrénées_Atlantiques (64 — Pau), Landes (40 – Mont-de-Marsan), Gironde (33 — Bordeaux), Lot-et-Garonne (47 — Agen) and Dordogne (24 — Périgueux) The main cities and towns are: Bordeaux, Pergueux, Bergerac, Bayonne, Pau, Biarritz, Arcachon, Mimizan and Lourdes.

Alsace-Lorraine — Located in Franc’s most north-eastern corner bordering Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg. Alsace-Lorraine breaks down into the departments of Meuse (55 – Bar-le-Duc), Meurthe-et-Moselle (54 — Nancy), Moselle (57 — Metz), Vosges (88 – Ėpinal ), Bas-Rhin (67 — Strasbourg) and Haut-Rhin (68 — Colmar). The main cities and towns are: Strasbourg (home of the European parliament), Nancy, Metz, Mulhouse and Colmar.

Auvergne — Right in the heart of France, is Auvergne. This is the area that includes the Massif Central. It has four departments. Allier (03 — Moulins), Puy-de-Dome (63- Clemont-Ferrand), Cantal (15 — Aurillac) and Haute Loire (43 – Le Puy). The main cities and towns are: Clermont Ferrand, Moulins, Montluςon, Aurillac and Vichy.

Burgundy - This is located to the south-east of Paris. Burgundy is best known for its wines and fine cuisine. It has four departments. Côte d’Or (21 — Dijon), Nièvre (58 — Nevers), Saône-et Loire (71 — Mâcon) and Yonne (89 — Auxerre ).The main cities and towns are: Dijon, Auxerre, Nevers, Beaune and Macon.

Brittany – This is France’s most north-westerly region and is very much independent in tradition, culture and the Breton language. It has a great deal of coastline. The four departments are: Finistère (29), Côtes-d’Armor (22) Ille-et-Vilaine (35) and Morbihan (56). The main cities and towns are: Rennes, Vannes, Brest, Roscoff, Quimper, Lorient and St Brieuc.

Centre – This is in the centre, but commonly referred to as the Loire Valley along with parts of it’s neighbouring region – Pays de la Loire with the River Loire making the boundary between the cooler north and warmer south of the country. The departments are: Cher (18 — Bourges), Eure-et-Loir (28 — Chartres), Indre (36 – Châteauroux), Indre-et-Loire (37 – Tours), Loir-et-Cher (41 – Blois) and Loiret (45 Orléans). The main cities and towns are: Tours, Orléans, Bourges, Chartres, Blois and Châteauroux.

Champagne-Ardennes– Famous for the first part of it’s name. The departments are: Marne (51 – Châlons-en-Champagne), Haute-Marne (52 – Chaumont), Aube (10 – Troyes) and Ardennes (08 – Charleville-Mézières). Franche-Comite – This area is on the border with Switzerland. It is the region of the Jura mountains housing several ski resorts. The departments are: Jura (39 Lons –le- Saunier), Haute Saône (70 –Vesoul), Doubs (25 – Bescançon) and Territoire de Belfort (90 – Belfort) The main cities are – Bescançon and Belfort.

Languedoc – Roussillon – The southern region is bordered by the Mediterranean on one side and the Pyrénées on the other. It stretches from the Spanish border up to Provence. It is well known as one of France’s sunniest regions. The five departments are Gard (30 – Nîmes), Hérault (34 – Montpellier), Lozère (48 – Mende), Aude (11 – Carcassonne) and Pyrénées-Orrientales (66 – Perpignan). The main cities include Montpellier, Perpignan, Carcassonne, Béziers and Nîmes

Limousin – This rural region is in France’s green heart. The departments are: Corrèze (19 – Tulle), Creuse (23 – Guèret) and Haute Vienne (87 – Limoges) The main towns and cities are: Limoges, Aubusson and Tulle

Midi-Pyrenees – This is France’s largest region. It offers a varied landscape scene that house eight departments. Lot (46 – Cahors), Gers (32 –Auch), Hautes-Pyrénées (65 — Tarbes), Arriège (09 – Foix), Haute-Garonne (31 – Toulouse), Tarn – (81 – Albi), Tarn- et-Garonne (82 – Montauban) and Aveyron (12 – Rodez). The main cities are: Toulouse, Auch, Tarbes, Albi and Cahors.

Normandy – Normandy has a very similar climate to southern Britain. It follows the coastline to the channel in the north. The area is famous for its Calvados made from apples, butter, cheese and distinctive architecture. There are five department that are: Calvados (14 – Caen), Manche (50 – St-LÔ), Orne (61 –Alençon), Seine-Maritime (76- Rouen), and Eure (27 – Ėvreux)The main towns and cities are: Rouen, Caen, Cherbourg, Dieppe, Le Havre, Honfleur and Deauville.

Nord-Pas de Calais — Like Normandy the climate is very similar to Southern Britain. There are two departments – Pas de Calais (62 – Arras) and Nord (59 – Lille). The main cities and towns are: Calais, Lille, Boulogne, Dunkerque, Le Touquet, Douai and Arras.

Paris & Ile de France This is the Paris region – capital of France. The departments are: Seine-et-Marne (77- Melun), Val d’Oise (95 – Pontoise), Esonne (91 – Ėvry), Yvelines (78 Versailles), Hauts-de-Seine, (92 – Nanterre), Seine-St-Denis (93 – Bobigny), Val de Marne (94 — Créteil) and Ville de Paris (75 – Paris). The main cities and towns are: Paris, Versailles, and Nanterre.

Pays de la Loire – The region runs from the Loire valley to the Atlantic Coast. There are five departments that are: Maine-et-Loire (49 — Angers), Sarthe (72 – Le Mans), Mayenne (53 – Laval), Loire-Atlantique (44 – Nantes) and Vendée (85 – La Roche–sur-Yon). The main towns are: Nantes, Angers, Le Mans (famous for the 24 hour car racing), St Nazaire and Les Sables d’Olonne. Picardy – Located south of Nord-Pas de Calais. A small part of north faces the channel – The region is split into three departments. These are: Aisne (02 – Laon), Oise (60 – Beauvais) and Somme (80 – Amiens). The main towns are: Amiens, Beauvais and Laon.

Poitou-Charentes – This is one of France’s western regions. It is a very sunny region with some coast bordering onto the Atlantic. The Departments are: Charente (16 – Angoulême), Charente-Maraitime (17 – La Rochelle), Deux Sèvres (79 – Niort) and Vienne (86 – Poitiers). The main towns are: Angoulême, La Rochelle, Poitiers, Royan and Saintes,

Provence & Cote d’Azur – Probably the warmest part of France – known for it’s hot summers and mild winters, the French Riviera has been popular for English visitors since Victorian times. Provence has five departments – Bouches du RhÔne, (13 – Marseille), Vaucluse (84 — Avignon), Var (83 – Toulon) and Alpes de Haute-Provence (04 – Digne). Cote d’Azur borders Italy and Monaco and is at the southern tip of the Alps and close to ski resorts. It only has the one Department – Alpes-Maritimes (06 — Nice) The main towns and cities are: Avignon, Nice, Marseilles, Arles, St Tropez, Cannes, Digne Gap, Briançon, Menton and Toulon.

Rhones-Alpes– This is very much a mountainous region that is on the east side of France north of Provence and the Cote d’Azur. It is naturally a very popular ski region. There are eight departments. Ain (01 – Bourg-en-Brese), Ardèche (07 – Privas), Drôme (26 – Valence), Isère (38 — Grenoble), Rhône (69 – Lyon), Savoie ( 73 – Chambéry), Haute Savoie (74 – Annecy) and Loire (42 –ST-Ētienne). The main towns and cities are: Annecy, Chambéry, Grenoble, Lyon, Montélimar, St Etienne and Valance.

How did the South of France look in the 1920s and 1960s? Click Here for photos


See also

Fact File South of France CLICK HERE

Buying a Property in France CLICK HERE

Buy to Let Europe CLICK HERE

Buying and selling cars in France CLICK HERE

Biot — Cannes — Monaco Côte d'Azur, South of France CLICK HERE

Biot — South of France Picture GalleryClick Here

Riviera realty French Property News article from September 2006 by Karen Tait CLICK HERE

Places to Visit in the South of France CLICK HERE Taxe de séjour CLICK HERE

Tax Declarations in France CLICK HERE Fact File Nice CLICK HERE

Holiday Home Property Insurance for France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Italy, Ireland, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Malta, Cyprus, England, Scotland and Wales — visit our Holday Home Insurance section.

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