France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   Régions & Départements of France
France has a bewildering number of place-names: régions, départements, arrondissements, cantons, communes & more. Here's what the names mean.


Régions of France

France has 22 régions, the modern large-scale geopolitical divisions of the country, something like states in the USA or provinces in Canada, Australia or New Zealand.

Regions of France Map

In January 2016 the regions of Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charente were combined to form the new region of...(wait for it...) Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charente. The thrill has yet to dissipate....


Smaller than the régions, the 96 numbered départements are administrative divisions similar to counties:

Départements of France Map

Here's a map of the départements of the Île-de-France région—the region of Paris:

Map of Départements in the Île-de-France region of France

Notice Paris (75) at the center, surrounded by the départements of Seine-et-Marne (77), Yvelines (79), Essonne (91), Hauts-de-Seine (92), Seine-Saint-Denis (93), Val-de-Marne (94), and Val-d'Oise (95). The other names on this map are of the principal towns.

Arrondissements & Cantons

The 96 départements are divided into 323 arrondissements, and the arrondissements are divided into 1,995 cantons. The largest cities—Paris, Lyon and Marseille—are divided into municipal arrondissements as well.

Cantons are subdivided into 36,529 communes.


A commune in France is the equivalent of a village, town or township. Here's a map of all the towns in the Île-de-France, the region surrounding Paris:

Map of Communes in Île-de-France (region of Paris)

It Gets Worse...

France also has communes associées, communautés urbaines, communautés d'agglomération, communautés de communes and even more obscure local administrative divisions. You may notice these names, but you don't have to learn them!

Where to Go in France

When to Go to France

Transport in France

Finding Your Way Around Paris

Paris Transport

Paris Itineraries & Tours

Excursions from Paris



Arrondissements of Paris, France

The arrondissements of Paris, once communes (villages) in their own right...

Chamonix, Rhône-Alpes, France

Chamonix, a commune in the département
of Haute-Savoie, in the région of Rhône-Alpes.

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