Departments of France

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File:France maximale.svg
The 101 departments of France

This article is part of the series on
Administrative divisions of France

(incl. overseas regions)


(incl. overseas departments)

Urban communities
Agglomeration communities
Commune communities
Syndicates of New Agglomeration

Associated communes
Municipal arrondissements

Others in Overseas France

Overseas collectivities
Sui generis collectivity
Overseas country
Overseas territory
Clipperton Island

In the administrative divisions of France, the department (French: département, pronounced: [depaʁtəmɑ̃]) is one of the three levels of government below the national level ("territorial collectivities"), between the 18 administrative regions and the commune. There are 96 departments in metropolitan France and 5 overseas departments, which also are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 335 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; the latter two have no autonomy and are used for the organisation of police, fire departments and sometimes elections.

Each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council (conseil départemental (sing.), conseils départemantaux (plur.)). Before March 2015, they were called general councils (conseil général (sing.), conseils généraux (plur.)).[1] Each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school (collège) buildings and technical staff, of local roads and school and rural buses, and a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the State administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; however, regions have gained importance in this regard since the 2000s, with some department-level services merged into region-level services.

The departments were created in 1791 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces in view of strengthening national unity; the title "department" is used to mean a part of a larger whole. Almost all of them were therefore named after rivers, mountains or coasts rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project particularly identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had already been frequently discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers. The earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in many countries, some of them former French colonies.

All French departments have a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. This is used, for example, in postal code and was until recently used for all vehicle registration plates. It is common for a resident to use the numbers to refer to their department or neighbouring ones, though it is unlikely to be used for more distant departments since few people know the numbers of departments outside their area. For example, an inhabitant of the Department of the Loiret can refer to their department as "the 45".

In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would maintain the departments as administrative divisions, but transfer their powers to other levels of governance. This reform project has since been abandoned.


Geometrical proposition rejected
The former provinces (colours) and the departements (limits in black)

The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées (Bridges and Highways) infrastructure administration.

Before the French Revolution, France gained territory gradually through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved, partly in order to weaken old loyalties.

The modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure. Their boundaries served two purposes:

  • Boundaries were deliberately chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation.
  • Boundaries were set so that any settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of the department. This was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government.
Departments at the maximum extent of the First French Empire (1812)

The old nomenclature was carefully avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after an area's principal river or other physical features. Even Paris was in the department of Seine.

The number of departments, initially 83, was increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire (see Provinces of the Netherlands for the annexed Dutch departments). Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814-1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size; the number of departments was reduced to 86, as three of the original departments had been split. In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department. The 89 departments were given numbers based on their alphabetical order.

The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle, Vosges and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin remained French, however, and became known as the Territoire de Belfort, and the remaining parts of Meurthe and Moselle were merged into a new Meurthe-et-Moselle department. When France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not reintegrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department. Likewise, the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original limits, and a new Moselle department was created on the regained territory, with slightly different limits than the pre-war department of the same name.

The reorganisation of Île-de-France (1968) and the division of Corsica (1975) added six more departments, raising the total to 96. Counting the five overseas departments (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Réunion and Mayotte) the total comes to 101 departments. In 2011, the overseas collectivity of Mayotte became the 101st department.

General characteristics

Administration territoriale française.svg
Population density in the departments (2007), showing the fr (Diagonale du vide)

The departmental seat of government is known as the prefecture (préfecture) or chef-lieu de département and is generally a city of some importance roughly at the geographical centre of the department. This was determined according to the time taken to travel on horseback from the periphery of the department. The goal was for the prefecture to be accessible by horseback from any town in the department within 24 hours. The prefecture is not necessarily the largest city in the department; for instance, in Saône-et-Loire department the capital is Mâcon, but the largest city is Chalon-sur-Saône. Departments are divided into one or more arrondissements. The capital of an arrondissement is called a subprefecture (sous-préfecture) or chef-lieu d'arrondissement.

Each department is administered by a departmental council (conseil départemental), an assembly elected for six years by universal suffrage, with the president of the council as executive of the department. Before 1982, the executive of a department was the prefect (préfet) who represents the Government of France in each department and is appointed by the President of France. The prefect is assisted by one or more sub-prefects (sous-préfet) based in the subprefectures of the department.

The departments are further divided into communes, governed by municipal councils. As of 2013, there were 36,681 communes in France. In the overseas territories, some communes play a role at departmental level. Paris, the country’s capital city, is a commune as well as a department.

In continental France (metropolitan France, excluding Corsica), the median land area of a department is 5,965 km2 (2,303 sq mi), which is two-and-a-half times the median land area of a ceremonial county of England & Wales and slightly more than three-and-half times the median land area of a county of the United States. At the 2001 census, the median population of a department in continental France was 511,012 inhabitants, which is 21 times the median population of a U.S. county, but less than two-thirds of the median population of a ceremonial county of England & Wales. Most of the departments have an area of between 4,000 and 8,000 km², and a population between 320,000 and 1 million. The largest in area is Gironde (10,000 km²), while the smallest is the city of Paris (105 km²). The most populous is Nord (2,550,000) and the least populous is Lozère (74,000).

The departments are numbered: their two-digit numbers appear in postal codes, in INSEE codes (including "social security numbers") and on vehicle number-plates. Initially, the numbers corresponded to the alphabetical order of the names of the departments, but several changed their names, so the correspondence became less exact. There is no number 20, but 2A and 2B instead, for Corsica. Corsican postal codes or addresses in both departments do still start with 20, though. The two-digit code "98" is used by Monaco. Together with the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code FR, the numbers form the ISO 3166-2 country subdivision codes for the metropolitan departments. The overseas departments get three digits—e.g., 971 for Guadeloupe (see table below).

Originally, the relationship between the departments and the central government was left somewhat ambiguous. While citizens of each department elected their own officials, the local governments were subordinated to the central government, becoming instruments of national integration. By 1793, however, the revolutionary government had turned the departments into transmission belts for policies enacted in Paris. With few exceptions, the departments had this role until the early 1960s.

Party-political preferences

These maps cannot be used as a useful resource of voter preferences, because Departmental Councils are elected on a two-round system, which drastically limits the chances of fringe parties, for as long as they are not supported on one of the two rounds by a moderate party. After the 1992 election, the left had a majority in only 21 of the 100 departments; after the 2011 election, the left dominated 61 of the 100 departments (Mayotte only became a department after the election).

Key to the parties:


The removal of one or more levels of local government has been discussed for some years; in particular, the option of removing the departmental level. Frédéric Lefebvre, spokesman for the UMP, said in December 2008 that the fusion of the departments with the regions was a matter to be dealt with soon. This was soon refuted by Édouard Balladur and Gérard Longuet, members of the Committee for the reform of local authorities, known as the Balladur Committee.[2]

In January 2008, the Commission for freeing French development, known as the Attali Commission, recommended that the departmental level of government should be eliminated within ten years.[3]

Nevertheless, the Balladur Committee has not retained this proposition and does not advocate the disappearance of the departments, but simply "favors the voluntary grouping of departments," which it suggests also for the regions, with the aim of bringing the number of the latter down to fifteen.[4] This committee advocates, on the contrary, the suppression of the cantons.[4]

Maps and tables

Current departments

Each department has a coat of arms with which they are commonly associated, but not all are officially recognized or used. In some departments they are used, but in others a logo or emblem is used.

INSEE code Arms 1 Department Prefecture Region Named after
01 Coat of arms of department 01 Ain Bourg-en-Bresse Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Ain (river)
02 Coat of arms of department 02 Aisne Laon Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardy Aisne (river)
03 Coat of arms of department 03 Allier Moulins Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Allier (river)
04 Coat of arms of department 04 Alpes-de-Haute-Provence 2 Digne-les-Bains  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Alps
05 Coat of arms of department 05 Hautes-Alpes Gap  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Alps
06 Coat of arms of department 06 Alpes-Maritimes Nice  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Alps
07 Coat of arms of department 07 Ardèche Privas Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Ardeche (river)
08 Coat of arms of department 08 Ardennes Charleville-Mézières Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Ardennes Forest
09 Coat of arms of department 09 Ariège Foix Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Ariège (river)
10 Coat of arms of department 10 Aube Troyes Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Aube (river)
11 Coat of arms of department 11 Aude Carcassonne Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Aude (river)
12 Coat of arms of department 12 Aveyron Rodez Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Aveyron (river)
13 Coat of arms of department 13 Bouches-du-Rhône Marseille  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Rôhne (river)
14 Coat of arms of department 14 Calvados Caen Normandy Calvados rocks
15 Coat of arms of department 15 Cantal Aurillac Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Cantal mountains
16 Coat of arms of department 16 Charente Angoulême Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Charente (river)
17 Coat of arms of department 17 Charente-Maritime 3 La Rochelle Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Charente (river)
18 Coat of arms of department 18 Cher Bourges  Centre-Val de Loire Cher (river)
19 Coat of arms of department 19 Corrèze Tulle Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Corrèze (river)
2A Coat of arms of Corsica Corse-du-Sud Ajaccio  Corsica Island of Corsica
2B Coat of arms of Corsica Haute-Corse Bastia  Corsica Island of Corsica
21 Coat of arms of department 21 Côte-d'Or Dijon Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
22 Coat of arms of department 22 Côtes-d'Armor 4 Saint-Brieuc  Brittany coasts of Armorica
23 Coat of arms of department 23 Creuse Guéret Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Creuse (river)
24 Coat of arms of department 24 Dordogne Périgueux Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Dordogne (river)
25 Coat of arms of department 25 Doubs Besançon Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Doubs (river)
26 Coat of arms of department 26 Drôme Valence Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Drôme (river)
27 Coat of arms of department 27 Eure Évreux Normandy Eure (river)
28 Coat of arms of department 28 Eure-et-Loir Chartres  Centre-Val de Loire Eure (river) and Loir (river)
29 Coat of arms of department 29 Finistère Quimper  Brittany Finis Terræ (end of earth)
30 Coat of arms of department 30 Gard Nîmes Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Gardon (river)
31 Coat of arms of department 31 Haute-Garonne Toulouse Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Garonne (river)
32 Coat of arms of department 32 Gers Auch Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Gers (river)
33 Coat of arms of department 33 Gironde 5 Bordeaux Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Gironde (river)
34 Coat of arms of department 34 Hérault Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Hérault (river)
35 Coat of arms of department 35 Ille-et-Vilaine Rennes  Brittany Ille (river) and Vilaine (river)
36 Coat of arms of department 36 Indre Châteauroux  Centre-Val de Loire Indre (river)
37 Coat of arms of department 37 Indre-et-Loire Tours  Centre-Val de Loire Indre (river) and Loire (river)
38 Coat of arms of department 38 Isère Grenoble Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Isère (river)
39 Coat of arms of department 39 Jura Lons-le-Saunier Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Jura mountains
40 Coat of arms of department 40 Landes Mont-de-Marsan Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Landes forest
41 Coat of arms of department 41 Loir-et-Cher Blois  Centre-Val de Loire Loir (river) and Cher (river)
42 Coat of arms of department 42 Loire Saint-Étienne Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Loire (river)
43 Coat of arms of department 43 Haute-Loire Le Puy-en-Velay Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Loire (river)
44 Coat of arms of department 44 Loire-Atlantique 6 Nantes 23x15px Pays de la Loire Loire (river)
45 Coat of arms of department 45 Loiret Orléans  Centre-Val de Loire Loiret (river)
46 Coat of arms of department 46 Lot Cahors Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Lot (river)
47 Coat of arms of department 47 Lot-et-Garonne Agen Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Lot (river) and Garonne (river)
48 Coat of arms of department 48 Lozère Mende Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Mont Lozère
49 Coat of arms of department 49 Maine-et-Loire 7 Angers 23x15px Pays de la Loire Maine (river) and Loire (river)
50 Coat of arms of department 50 Manche Saint-Lô Normandy English Channel
51 Coat of arms of department 51 Marne Châlons-en-Champagne Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Marne (river)
52 Coat of arms of department 52 Haute-Marne Chaumont Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Marne (river)
53 Coat of arms of department 53 Mayenne Laval 23x15px Pays de la Loire Mayenne (river)
54 Coat of arms of department 54 Meurthe-et-Moselle Nancy Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Meurthe (river) and Moselle (river)
55 Coat of arms of department 55 Meuse Bar-le-Duc Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Meuse (river)
56 Coat of arms of department 56 Morbihan Vannes  Brittany Gulf of Morbihan
57 Coat of arms of department 57 Moselle Metz Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Moselle (river)
58 Coat of arms of department 58 Nièvre Nevers Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Nièvre (river)
59 Coat of arms of department 59 Nord Lille Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardy
60 Coat of arms of department 60 Oise Beauvais Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardy Oise (river)
61 Coat of arms of department 61 Orne Alençon Normandy Orne (river)
62 Coat of arms of department 62 Pas-de-Calais Arras Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardy Strait of Dover
63 Coat of arms of department 63 Puy-de-Dôme Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Puy de Dôme volcano
64 Coat of arms of department 64 Pyrénées-Atlantiques 8 Pau Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Pyrenees
65 Coat of arms of department 65 Hautes-Pyrénées Tarbes Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Pyrenees
66 Coat of arms of department 66 Pyrénées-Orientales Perpignan Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Pyrenees
67 Coat of arms of department 67 Bas-Rhin Strasbourg Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Rhine (river)
68 Coat of arms of department 68 Haut-Rhin Colmar Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Rhine (river)
69 Coat of arms of department 69 Rhône Lyon (provisional) Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Rhône (river)
69M Metropolis of Lyon 18 Lyon Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes communes of Lyon
70 Coat of arms of department 70 Haute-Saône Vesoul Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Saône (river)
71 Coat of arms of department 71 Saône-et-Loire Mâcon Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Saône (river) and Loire (river)
72 Coat of arms of department 72 Sarthe Le Mans 23x15px Pays de la Loire Sarthe (river)
73 Coat of arms of department 73 Savoie Chambéry Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Savoy
74 Coat of arms of department 74 Haute-Savoie Annecy Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region of Savoy
75 Coat of arms of department 75 Paris 9 Paris 23x15px Île-de-France city of Paris
76 Coat of arms of department 76 Seine-Maritime 10 Rouen Normandy Seine (river)
77 Coat of arms of department 77 Seine-et-Marne Melun 23x15px Île-de-France Seine (river) and Marne (river)
78 Coat of arms of department 78 Yvelines 11 Versailles 23x15px Île-de-France Forest of Yvelines
79 Coat of arms of department 79 Deux-Sèvres Niort Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Sèvre Nantaise and Sèvre Niortaise rivers
80 Coat of arms of department 80 Somme Amiens Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardy Somme (river)
81 Coat of arms of department 81 Tarn Albi Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Tarn (river)
82 Coat of arms of department 82 Tarn-et-Garonne Montauban Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées Tarn (river) and Garonne (river)
83 Coat of arms of department 83 Var Toulon  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Var (river)
84 Coat of arms of department 84 Vaucluse Avignon  Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Fontaine-de-Vaucluse spring
85 Coat of arms of department 85 Vendée La Roche-sur-Yon 23x15px Pays de la Loire Vendée (river)
86 Coat of arms of department 86 Vienne Poitiers Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Vienne (river)
87 Coat of arms of department 87 Haute-Vienne Limoges Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes Vienne (river)
88 Coat of arms of department 88 Vosges Épinal Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine Vosges Mountains
89 Coat of arms of department 89 Yonne Auxerre Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Yonne (river)
90 Coat of arms of department 90 Territoire de Belfort Belfort Bourgogne-Franche-Comté city of Belfort
91 Coat of arms of department 91 Essonne 12 Évry 23x15px Île-de-France Essonne (river)
92 Coat of arms of department 92 Hauts-de-Seine 13 Nanterre 23x15px Île-de-France Seine (river)
93 Coat of arms of department 93 Seine-Saint-Denis 14 Bobigny 23x15px Île-de-France Seine (river)
94 Coat of arms of department 94 Val-de-Marne Créteil 23x15px Île-de-France Marne (river)
95 Coat of arms of department 95 Val-d'Oise Pontoise 15 23x15px Île-de-France Oise (river)
971 Coat of arms of Guadeloupe Guadeloupe 16 Basse-Terre  Guadeloupe
972 Coat of arms of Martinique Martinique 16 Fort-de-France  Martinique
973 Coat of arms of Guyane Guyane 16 Cayenne  French Guiana
974 Coat of arms of Réunion La Réunion 16 Saint-Denis  Réunion
976 Coat of arms of Mayotte Mayotte 17 Mamoudzou  Mayotte


  • ^1 Most of the coats of arms are not official
  • ^2 This department was known as Basses-Alpes until 1970
  • ^3 This department was known as Charente-Inférieure until 1941
  • ^4 This department was known as Côtes-du-Nord until 1990
  • ^5 This department was known as Bec-d'Ambès from 1793 until 1795. The Convention eliminated the name to avoid recalling the outlawed Girondin political faction.
  • ^6 This department was known as Loire-Inférieure until 1957
  • ^7 This department was known as Mayenne-et-Loire until 1791
  • ^8 This department was known as Basses-Pyrénées until 1969
  • ^9 Number 75 was formerly assigned to Seine
  • ^10 This department was known as Seine-Inférieure until 1955
  • ^11 Number 78 was formerly assigned to Seine-et-Oise
  • ^12 Number 91 was formerly assigned to Alger, in French Algeria
  • ^13 Number 92 was formerly assigned to Oran, in French Algeria
  • ^14 Number 93 was formerly assigned to Constantine, in French Algeria
  • ^15 The prefecture of Val-d'Oise was established in Pontoise when the department was created, but moved de facto to the neighbouring commune of Cergy; currently, both part of the ville nouvelle of Cergy-Pontoise
  • ^16 The overseas departments each constitute a region and enjoy a status identical to metropolitan France. They are part of France and the European Union, though special EU rules apply to them.
  • ^17 Mayotte became the 101st department of France on 31 March 2011. The INSEE code of Mayotte is 976 (975 is already assigned to the French overseas collectivity of Saint Pierre and Miquelon)
  • ^18 Metropoles with territorial collectivity statute.
Regions and departments of metropolitan France; the numbers are those of the first column
The departments in the immediate vicinity of Paris; the numbers are those of the first column

Former departments

Former departments of the current territory of France

Department Prefecture Dates in existence
Rhône-et-Loire Lyon 1790–1793 Split into Rhône and Loire on 12 August 1793.
Corsica Bastia 1790–1793 Split into Golo and Liamone.
Golo Bastia 1793–1811 Reunited with Liamone into Corsica.
Liamone Ajaccio 1793–1811 Reunited with Golo into Corsica.
Mont-Blanc Chambéry 1792–1815 Formed from part of the Duchy of Savoy, a territory of the Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia and was restored to Piedmont-Sardinia after Napoleon's defeat. The department corresponds approximately with the present French departments Savoie and Haute-Savoie.
Léman Geneva 1798–1814 Formed when the Republic of Geneva was annexed into the First French Empire. Geneva was added to territory taken from several other departments to create Léman. The department corresponds with the present Swiss canton and parts of the present French departmentsAin and Haute-Savoie.
Meurthe Nancy 1790–1871 Meurthe ceased to exist following the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by the German Empire in 1871 and was not recreated after the province was restored to France by the Treaty of Versailles.
Seine Paris 1790–1967 On 1 January 1968, Seine was divided into four new departments: Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne (the last incorporating a small amount of territory from Seine-et-Oise as well).
Seine-et-Oise Versailles 1790–1967 On 1 January 1968, Seine-et-Oise was divided into four new departments: Yvelines, Val-d'Oise, Essonne, Val-de-Marne (the last largely comprising territory from Seine).
Corsica Ajaccio 1811–1975 On 15 September 1975, Corsica was divided in two, to form Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse.
Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon Saint-Pierre 1976–1985 Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon was an overseas department from 1976 until it was converted to an overseas collectivity on 11 June 1985.

Departments of French Algeria

The three Algerian departments in 1848
File:Dépatements of Algeria.svg
Departments of French Algeria from 1957 to 1962

Unlike the rest of French-controlled Africa, Algeria was officially incorporated into France from 1848 until its independence in 1962.

Before 1957
Department Prefecture Dates of existence
91 Alger Algiers (1848–1957)
92 Oran Oran (1848–1957)
93 Constantine Constantine (1848–1957)
Bône Annaba (1955–1957)
Department Prefecture Dates of existence
8A Oasis Ouargla (1957–1962)
8B Saoura Bechar (1957–1962)
9A Alger Algiers (1957–1962)
9B Batna Batna (1957–1962)
9C Bône Annaba (1955–1962)
9D Constantine Constantine (1957–1962)
9E Médéa Medea (1957–1962)
9F Mostaganem Mostaganem (1957–1962)
9G Oran Oran (1957–1962)
9H Orléansville Chlef (1957–1962)
9J Sétif Setif (1957–1962)
9K Tiaret Tiaret (1957–1962)
9L Tizi-Ouzou Tizi Ouzou (1957–1962)
9M Tlemcen Tlemcen (1957–1962)
9N Aumale Sour el Ghozlane (1958–1959)
9P Bougie Bejaia (1958–1962)
9R Saïda Saïda (1958–1962)

Departments in former French colonies

Department Modern-day location Dates in existence
Département du Sud Hispaniola
(Dominican Republic and Haiti)
Département de l'Inganne (Mostly in Dominican Republic with eastern part of Haiti) 1795–1800
Département du Nord 1795–1800
Département de l'Ouest 1795–1800
Département de Samana (In Dominican Republic) 1795–1800
Sainte-Lucie Saint Lucia, Tobago 1795–1800
Île de France Mauritius, Rodrigues, Seychelles 1795–1800
Indes-Orientales Pondichéry, Karikal, Yanaon, Mahé and Chandernagore 1795–1800

Departments of the Napoleonic Empire in Europe

There are a number of former departments in territories conquered by France during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Empire that are now not part of France:

Department Prefecture
(French name)
(English name)
Current location1 Contemporary location2 Dates in existence
Mont-Terrible Porrentruy Switzerland Holy Roman Empire: 1793–1800
Dyle Bruxelles Brussels Belgium Austrian Netherlands: 1795–1814
Escaut Gand Ghent Belgium
Austrian Netherlands:

Dutch Republic:

Forêts Luxembourg Luxembourg
Austrian Netherlands: 1795–1814
Jemmape Mons Belgium Austrian Netherlands:

Holy Roman Empire:

Lys Bruges Austrian Netherlands: 1795–1814
Meuse-Inférieure Maëstricht Maastricht Belgium
Austrian Netherlands:

Dutch Republic:

Holy Roman Empire:


Deux-Nèthes Anvers Antwerp Belgium Austrian Netherlands:

Dutch Republic:

Ourthe Liège Belgium
Austrian Netherlands:

Holy Roman Empire:

Sambre-et-Meuse Namur Belgium Austrian Netherlands:

Holy Roman Empire:

Corcyre Corfou Corfu Greece Republic of Venice4 1797–1799
Ithaque Argostoli 1797–1798
Mer-Égée Zante Zakynthos 1797–1798
Mont-Tonnerre Mayence Mainz Germany Holy Roman Empire: 1801–1814
Rhin-et-Moselle Coblence Koblenz Holy Roman Empire: 1801–1814
Roer Aix-la-Chapelle Aachen Germany
Holy Roman Empire: 1801–1814
Sarre Trèves Trier Belgium
Holy Roman Empire: 1801–1814
Doire Ivrée Ivrea Italy Kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia 1802–1814
Marengo Alexandrie Alessandria 1802–1814
Turin 1802–1814
Sésia Verceil Vercelli 1802–1814
Stura Coni Cuneo 1802–1814
Tanaro6 Asti 1802–1805
Apennins Chiavari Republic of Genoa7 1805–1814
Gênes Gênes Genoa 1805–1814
Montenotte Savone Savona 1805–1814
Arno Florence Grand Duchy of Tuscany8 1808–1814
Méditerranée Livourne Livorno 1808–1814
Ombrone Sienne Siena 1808–1814
Taro Parme Parma Holy Roman Empire: 1808–1814
Rome9 Rome Papal States 1809–1814
Trasimène Spolète Spoleto 1809–1814
Bouches-du-Rhin Bois-le-Duc 's-Hertogenbosch Netherlands Dutch Republic:10 1810–1814
Bouches-de-l'Escaut Middelbourg Middelburg Dutch Republic:10 1810–1814
Simplon Sion Switzerland République des Sept Dizains11 1810–1814
Bouches-de-la-Meuse La Haye The Hague Netherlands Dutch Republic:10 1811–1814
Bouches-de-l'Yssel Zwolle Dutch Republic:10 1811–1814
Ems-Occidental Groningue Groningen Netherlands
Dutch Republic:10 1811–1814
Ems-Oriental Aurich Germany Holy Roman Empire: 1811–1814
Frise Leuwarden Leeuwarden Netherlands Dutch Republic:10 1811–1814
Yssel-Supérieur Arnhem Dutch Republic:10 1811–1814
Zuyderzée Amsterdam Dutch Republic:10 1811–1814
Bouches-de-l'Elbe Hamburg Hamburg Germany Holy Roman Empire: 1811–1814
Bouches-du-Weser Brême Bremen Holy Roman Empire: 1811–1814
Ems-Supérieur Osnabrück Holy Roman Empire: 1811–1814
Lippe12 Munster Münster Holy Roman Empire: 1811–1814
Bouches-de-l'Èbre Lérida Lleida Spain Kingdom of Spain: 1812–1813
Montserrat Barcelone Barcelona 1812–1813
Sègre Puigcerda Puigcerdà 1812–1813
Ter Gérone Girona 1812–1813
Bouches-de-l'Èbre-Montserrat Barcelone Barcelona Previously the departments of Bouches-de-l'Èbre and Montserrat 1813–1814
Sègre-Ter Gérone Girona Previously the departments of Sègre and Ter 1813–1814

Notes for Table 7:

  1. Where a Napoleonic department was composed of parts from more than one country, the nation-state containing the prefecture is listed. Please expand this table to list all countries containing significant parts of the department.
  2. Territories that were a part of Austrian Netherlands were also a part of Holy Roman Empire.
  3. The Bishopric of Basel was a German Prince-Bishopric, not to be confused with the adjacent Swiss Canton of Basel.
  4. The territories of the Republic of Venice were lost to France, becoming the Septinsular Republic, a nominal vassal of the Ottoman Empire, from 1800–07. After reverting to France at the Treaty of Tilsit, these territories then became a British protectorate, as the United States of the Ionian Islands
  5. Maastricht was a condominium of the Dutch Republic and the Bishopric of Liège.
  6. On 6 June 1805, as a result of the annexation of the Ligurian Republic (the puppet successor state to the Republic of Genoa), Tanaro was abolished and its territory divided between the departments of Marengo, Montenotte and Stura.
  7. Before becoming the department of Apennins, the Republic of Genoa was converted to a puppet successor state, the Ligurian Republic.
  8. Before becoming the department of Arno, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany was converted to a puppet successor state, the Kingdom of Etruria.
  9. Rome was known as the department du Tibre until 1810.
  10. Before becoming the departments of Bouches-du-Rhin, Bouches-de-l'Escaut, Bouches-de-la-Meuse, Bouches-de-l'Yssel, Ems-Occidental, Frise, Yssel-Supérieur and Zuyderzée, these territories of the Dutch Republic were converted to a puppet successor state, the Batavian Republic (1795–1806), then those territories that had not already been annexed (all except the first two departments here), along with the Prussian County of East Frisia, were converted to another puppet state, the Kingdom of Holland.
  11. Before becoming the department of Simplon, the République des Sept Dizains was converted to a revolutionary République du Valais (16 March 1798) which was swiftly incorporated (1 May 1798) into the puppet Helvetic Republic until 1802 when it became the independent Rhodanic Republic.
  12. In the months before Lippe was formed, the arrondissements of Rees and Münster were part of Yssel-Supérieur, the arrondissement of Steinfurt was part of Bouches-de-l'Yssel and the arrondissement of Neuenhaus was part of Ems-Occidental.

See also


  1. Ministère de l'intérieur, Les élections départementales : comprendre ce qui change (in français), retrieved 2015-07-30<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "La fusion département-région n'est pas à l'ordre du jour". L'Express. Retrieved 2011-07-21.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. This is stated in the title of the section dealing with "Decision 260" on page 197 of the Report of the Attali Commission (French)
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Les 20 propositions du Comité (20 propositions of the Committee)" (in French). Committee for the reform of local authorities. Retrieved 2009-11-11.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links