France changes the makeup of its regions in 2016

21 December 2015

Key points about this news item France changes the makeup of its regions in 2016

The regions of France are changing in 2016


France’s regions are changing in 2016

France is divided by a system of regions and departments, which form the economic and administrative areas of the country.  Currently, there are twenty two regions which vary in size and the number of departments they include.


The changes, which have been approved by France’s National Assembly, will reduce the current twenty two regions to just thirteen.  The number and name of departments is remaining unchanged, but there will need to be further discussion over which city becomes the regional capital of the newly formed regions.


The following regions remain unchanged;

  • Brittany
  • Corsica
  • Centre
  • Ile-de-France
  • Pays de la Loire
  • Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur


The following regions are being merged to form larger regions;

  • Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine
  • Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes
  • Auvergne and Rhone-Alpes
  • Burgundy and Franche-Comte
  • Lanquedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrenees
  • Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy
  • Upper and Lower Normandy


The restructuring is being carried out to try to reduce the huge government administrative costs in France along with removing some of the levels of bureaucracy that hinder both business and private individuals from interacting with officialdom.  Midi-Pyrenees was the largest region by area and with eight departments, but its two new neighbours to the north are now going to be similar in size both in area and departments.  The whole southern half of France is now covered by just four regions, while the northern half of France has eight regions.


Each region of France has a capital and regional council and regional president, which have extensive powers over various areas including transport, infrastructure, economic development, tourism and education.  Below the regional council, each department has a committee to oversee local government functions, followed by communautes de communes and finally communes.  Even the smallest village with just a few properties will have a council and mayor.


The reforms also cater for the eventuality that a particular department is not happy with the region it is associated with.  In this case, if the department council, the current regional council and the proposed new regional council all agree, then the department can change region.


From an expat and property point of view, estate agents have been quick to state that the changes will make very little difference to peoples buying intentions.  Most often the reason to purchase is not based on the region or department, but simply by the locality itself.  The only factor here is if the taxe d’habitation and taxe fonciere are significantly different between region / department.


Take a look at our guide to the departments of Midi-Pyrenees – which will very soon need to be updated!




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