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Arrondissement (/əˈrɒndɪsmənt/; French: [aʁɔ̃dismɑ̃]) is any of various administrative divisions of France, Belgium, certain other Francophone countries, and the Netherlands.


The 101 French departments are divided into 342 arrondissements, which may be translated into English as districts. The capital of an arrondissement is called a subprefecture. When an arrondissement contains the prefecture (capital) of the department, that prefecture is the capital of the arrondissement, acting both as a prefecture and as a subprefecture. Arrondissements are further divided into cantons and communes.

Municipal arrondissement

A municipal arrondissement (French: arrondissement municipal, pronounced [aʁɔ̃dismɑ̃ mynisipal]), is a subdivision of the commune, used in the three largest cities: Paris, Lyon, and Marseille. It functions as an even lower administrative division, with its own mayor. Although usually referred to simply as an "arrondissements", they should not be confused with departmental arrondissements, which are groupings of communes within one département. The official translation into English is "district".


Belgium is a federalized country which geographically consists of three regions, of which only Flanders (Flemish Region) and Wallonia (Walloon Region) are subdivided into five provinces each; the Brussels-Capital Region is neither a province nor is it part of one.

In Belgium, there are administrative, judicial and electoral arrondissements. These may or may not relate to identical geographical areas.


Subdivisions of the canton of Bern include districts since 2010, which are called arrondissements administratifs in French.


In the Netherlands an arrondissement is a judicial jurisdiction, comprising a number of communes.


In the province of Quebec, the cities of Lévis, Longueuil, Montreal, Quebec City, Saguenay, Sherbrooke, the small town of Métis-sur-Mer, and the municipality of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge are divided into arrondissements, called boroughs in English.

Boroughs were introduced as part of the 2001–2002 municipal reorganization in Quebec, and therefore cities which were constituted before then (in their present form) do not have boroughs. For instance, Laval has sectors (secteur) and districts (quartier), but not boroughs.


Each of Haiti's ten departments is sub-divided into arrondissements.

Nations of Africa

Most nations in Africa which had been colonised by the French have retained the arrondissement administrative structure. These are normally subunits of a Department, and may either contain or be coequal with Communes (towns). In Mali the arrondissement is a subunit of a Cercle, while in some places arrondissements are essentially subdistricts of large cities.

  • Each of Senegal's departments is subdivided into arrondissements. Dakar is further subdivided into arrondissements; see Arrondissements of Senegal.
  • Between 1962 and 2002, each of Niger's departments was subdivided into arrondissements; see Arrondissements of Niger: Since 2002 they have been renamed Departments (with the former Departments renamed Regions).
  • Each of Mali's Cercles is subdivided into arrondissements; see Cercles of Mali for maps of arrondissements by Cercle.
  • Each of Benin's departments is subdivided into communes, which are in turn subdivided into arrondissements: they sit above villages in Benin's structure; see Communes of Benin for maps of communes by Department.
  • Each of Cameroon's departments is subdivided into arrondissements: they sit above subdistricts and communes in Cameroon's structure; see Departments of Cameroon for maps of arrondissements by Department.
  • Since 2002, Chad retains arrondissements only in the city of N'Djamena, which is divided into 10 municipal arrondissements.
  • Djibouti retains arrondissements only in the city of Djibouti City, which is divided into six arrondissements.
  • Morocco's Cercles are subdivided into communes rurales, municipalities, communes urbaines, and arrondissements, depending on the classification of the community.
  • The Republic of the Congo, retains arrondissements only in the city of Brazzaville, which is divided into seven arrondissements. See Administrative divisions of the Republic of the Congo.


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