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Administrative Division of France


Mainland France (formally including Corsica) is situated in Western Europe and borders to Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco in the east and to Spain and Andorra in the south.In the north lies the English Channel, in the west the Bay of Biscay and in the south-east the Mediterranean Sea. France also constitutes a number of oversea territories schattered across the planet.


For administrative purposes, France is divided into 26 regions (régions).

22 regions are situated on mainland France whereas the remaining four comprise the oversea regions of Guadeloupe (Caribbean), French Guiana (South America), Martinique (Caribbean) and Réunion (Indian Ocean). The regions are further divided into 100 departments of which 96 belongs to mainland France and four make up oversea departments (each of the oversea regions are also departments).

The regions are governed by regional councils (Conseil Régional) whereas departments are administered by the Conseil Général. Both assemblies are directly elected for a six year term. The state is represented at department level by the préfet that operates under the Ministry of the Interior.

France is further subdivided into about about 340 arrondissements and just below 3900 cantons .

The cantons serve an electoral function at department levels as each and every canton elects one representative to the Conseil Général.

At the lowest administrative level, France comprises nearly 37 000 communes. The communes are governed by the mayor (maire, indirectly elected) and the municipal council (conseil municipal, directly elected for a six year term).

In addition to the four oversea regions/departments of Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique and Réunion, four additional oversea territories have the status of oversea communities (collectivité d'outre-mer).

These are French Polynesia (Pacific Ocean), Mayotte (Indian Ocean), Saint-Pierre and Miquelon (Atlantic Ocean) and Wallis and Futuna (Pacific Ocean).