France-departements
Daily Life,  Tourism

French Departments : How is France organized?

French departments are part French regions that, in a whole, are forming France. It might sometimes seem a bit complicated to understand how the country is organized! So let’s clear it up!

Regions of France

Did you know that France was not only what we call the Metropolitan France, but that islands all over the world were also part of France? The country is divided into 18 regions : 13 that are in Metropolitan France and 5 that are islands. Find below the list of the different French regions and their capital city :

REGIONCAPITAL CITY
Auvergne-Rhône-AlpesLyon
Bourgogne-Franche-ComtéDijon
BretagneRennes
Centre-Val de LoireOrléans
CorseAjaccio
Grand EstStrasbourg
Hauts-de-FranceLille
Île-de-FranceParis
NormandieRouen
Nouvelle-AquitaineBordeaux
OccitanieToulouse
Pays de la LoireNantes
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’AzurMarseille
GuadeloupeBasse-Terre
MartiniqueFort-de-France
GuyaneCayenne
La RéunionSaint-Denis
MayotteDzaoudzi

French overseas departments, that is to say Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyane, La Réunion and Mayotte, are fully ruled by the French government, whereas French overseas collectivities can adapt French laws in agreement with France (taxation laws for instance). Find below the list of the French overseas collectivities :

COLLECTIVITYCAPITAL CITY
Saint-Pierre-et-MiquelonSaint-Pierre
Saint-BarthélémyGustavia
Saint-MartinMarigot
Wallis et FutunaMata Utu
Polynésie françaisePapeete

Try to guess where those French collectivities are in the world, before clicking on the links in the above table. You will be surprised to travel that far away to go to France 🙂

Read also : The exclusive road trip among the Châteaux de la Loire

French departments

We count 101 French departments. Each of them corresponds to a number (you can find it on car plates for example), by alphabetical order. Have a look at the below table and let’s play a game right after 🙂

NUMBER/DEPARTMENTCAPITAL CITY
01. AinBourg-en-Bresse
02. AisneLaon
03. AllierMoulins
04. Alpes-de-Haute-ProvenceDigne-les-Bains
05. Hautes-AlpesGap
06. Alpes-MaritimesNice
07. ArdèchePrivas
08. ArdennesCharleville-Mézières
09. AriègeFoix
10. AubeTroyes
11. AudeCarcassonne
12. AveyronRodez
13. Bouches-du-RhôneMarseille
14. CalvadosCaen
15. CantalAurillac
16. CharenteAngoulême
17. Charente-MaritimeLa Rochelle
18. CherBourges
19. CorrèzeTulle
2A. Corse-du-SudAjaccio
2B. Haute-CorseBastia
21. Côte d’OrDijon
22. Côtes-d’ArmorSaint-Brieuc
23. CreuseGuéret
24. DordognePérigueux
25. DoubsBesançon
26. DrômeValence
27. EureEvreux
28. Eure-et-LoirChartres
29. FinistèreQuimper
30. GardNîmes
31. Haute-GaronneToulouse
32. GersAuch
33. GirondeBordeaux
34. HéraultMontpellier
35. Ille-et-VilaineRennes
36. IndreChâteauroux
37. Indre-et-LoireTours
38. IsèreGrenoble
39. JuraLons-le-Saunier
40. LandesMont-de-Marsan
41. Loir-et-CherBlois
42. LoireSaint-Etienne
43. Haute-LoireLe Puy-en-Velay
44. Loire-AtlantiqueNantes
45. LoiretOrléans
46. LotCahors
47. Lot-et-GaronneAgen
48. LozèreMende
49. Maine-et-LoireAngers
50. MancheSaint-Lô
51. MarneChâlons-en-Champagne
52. Haute-MarneChaumont
53. MayenneLaval
54. Meurthe-et-MoselleNancy
55. MeuseBar-le-Duc
56. MorbihanVannes
57. MoselleMetz
58. NièvreNevers
59. NordLille
61. OrneAlençon
62. Pas-de-CalaisArras
63. Puy-de-DômeClermont-Ferrand
64. Pyrénées-AtlantiquesPau
65. Hautes-PyrénéesTarbes
66. Pyrénées-OrientalesPerpignan
67. Bas-RhinStrasbourg
68. Haut-RhinColmar
69. RhôneLyon
70. Haute-SaôneVesoul
71. Saône-et-LoireMâcon
72. SartheLe Mans
73. SavoieChambéry
74. Haute-SavoieAnnecy
75. ParisParis
76. Seine-MaritimeRouen
77. Seine-et-MarneMelun
78. YvelinesVersailles
79. Deux-SèvresNiort
80. SommeAmiens
81. TarnAlbi
82. Tarn-et-GaronneMontauban
83. VarToulon
84. VaucluseAvignon
85. VendéeLa Roche-sur-Yon
86. ViennePoitiers
87. Haute-VienneLimoges
88. VosgesEpinal
89. YonneAuxerre
90. Territoire de BelfortBelfort
91. EssonneEvry-Courcouronnes
92. Hauts-de-SeineNanterre
93. Seine-Saint-DenisBobigny
94. Val-de-MarneCréteil
95. Val d’OisePontoise
971. GuadeloupeBasse-Terre
972. MartiniqueFort-de-France
973. GuyaneCayenne
974. La RéunionSaint-Denis
976. MayotteDzaoudzi

Now learn it by heart! Just kidding 🙂 However, it is a common game in France (for children of for adults) when we are travelling somewhere by car to try and guess where the car in front of us comes from depending on the number indicated on its plates.

Let’s play!

Would you be able to place all the different French regions on this below blank map of France? Find the correct answer here.

French regions

Let’s keep playing ?

And on this map below, would you be able to place all of the French departments to the right place? Click here to check your answers.

France-departements-dom-tom

I hope that now you know a little bit more about the geographical organization of France. If you learnt something today thanks to this article, please share it 🙂

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