Departments of France

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Updates: 

Under a new law, Grand Lyon (Greater Lyon) will become Métropole de Lyon (Lyon Metropolis, or Metropolitan Lyon) on 2015-01-01. According to Le Nouvel Observateur , Metropolitan Lyon will split from Rhône department to become a department in its own right. The article includes a map, on which Metropolitan Lyon consists of two enclaves. The larger one, containing Lyon itself, borders Ain, while the smaller one, containing Grigny and Givors, borders Isère; the remainder of Rhône stays in one piece.

The same article describes a law which was passed by Parliament and awaits the approval of the Constitutional Council. This one would form two new metropolises on 2016-01-01: Grand Paris, consisting of present-day Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne; and Aix-Marseille Provence, probably split from Bouches-du-Rhône. It would also eventually create metropolises of Bordeaux, Grenoble, Lille, Nantes, Rennes, Rouen, Strasbourg, and Toulouse, and allow Brest and Montpellier to follow the same route if they choose to.

Insee, the French statistics agency, says that the 1999 census was the last. It uses a more complex method of measuring population now, the details of which are beyond the scope of this site. Every year a set of legal populations are published, with a statistical reference date of January 1 of a prior year. Actually, each subdivision has several population figures, such as "metropolitan population" and "total population." I will be reporting total population, which counts some people twice.

On 2013-04-07, voters in Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin departments fell short of the vote needed to merge those two departments with the region of Alsace. That part of France would have had no government at the department level. Corsica considered the same kind of merger in 2003, but the referendum failed narrowly. This should be viewed in the context of the Balladur committee's recommendations, made in 2009, to reconfigure France from its present 22 regions to 15 regions. The same report also proposed to eliminate the cantons. Some details of the reconstruction were left unsettled, but it was clearly intended to unite Alsace and Lorraine eventually into a single region. The idea underlying all such proposals is that France is overgoverned; its five layers of subdivisions are too expensive and inefficient.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-3 is dated 2011-12-15. For France, its changes are mostly just reorderings.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number II-1, dated 2010-02-03, has changes to the listing for France, but nothing that affects data reported on this site. The main change is putting the territorial collectivities in alphabetical order.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-9 was published on 2007-11-28. It adds Clipperton Island (ISO code FR-CP) to France as a dependency (dépendance), and Saint Barthélemy (FR-BL) and Saint Martin (FR-MF) as overseas territorial collectivities (collectivités territoriales d'outre-mer), to correspond to the changes in status that took place this year. The codes for Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin are redundant, because they also have separate country codes. The newsletter also changes the status of French Polynesia, French Southern Territories, New Caledonia, and Wallis and Futuna from overseas territories to overseas territorial collectivities, probably reflecting changes that took place in 2004.

Clipperton Island has been placed directly under the administration of the French Overseas Ministry. Technically, it is now a public domain of the French state (domaine public de l'État français, propriété domaniale de l’État). As such, it is part of France, but not part of any other subdivision of France. Since it has no permanent inhabitants, I have exercised my editorial prerogatives by listing it under French Polynesia, where it belongs geographically and historically.

The NUTS code scheme was revised in 2003. The digit '0' was appended to the codes for Île-de-France and Nord-Pas-de-Calais regions to make all the region codes the same length.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter Number I-2 was published on 2002-05-21. It corrects an error in the original standard document which placed the department of Deux-Sèvres in the wrong region.

Since the book "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries" was written, I've come across some new sources of French population data. The column of Population history headed 1913 in the book, as it turns out, was derived from the 1901 census. The table below has better dates and population figures.

Country overview: 

Short nameFRANCE
ISO codeFR
FIPS codeFR
LanguageFrench (fr)
Time zone+1 ~
CapitalParis

 

Alsace-Lorraine has changed hands several times between France and Germany. In the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, Germany won the territory. France recovered it in the Treaty of Versailles after World War I. It was placed under German administration in 1940, but restored to France in 1944 as the German army retreated. It has remained part of France ever since.

ISO code note: ISO standard 3166 contains a specific disclaimer stating that the scope of different codes may overlap. It even gives France and Martinique as an example, explaining that although Martinique is part of France (and presumably covered by the code FR), it also has its own code MQ. However, the only cases of overlap seem to follow the same paradigm as Martinique. The remote territories of a colonial power have their own listings, but can also be considered as covered under the mother country. Until 1993, it was possible to use the standard as if its countries were disjoint, by ignoring the disclaimer and making the mental proviso that codes like FR applied to the mother country only. In 1993, the code FX was added to the standard. FX is described as referring to Metropolitan France, excluding territories such as Martinique. It was withdrawn again in 1997, but remains an "exceptionally reserved code element".

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Frankrig
  2. Dutch: Frankrijk, Franse Republiek (formal)
  3. English: French Republic (formal)
  4. Finnish: Ranska
  5. French: France f, République f française (formal)
  6. German: Frankreich n
  7. Icelandic: Frakkland
  8. Italian: Francia f
  9. Norwegian: Frankrike, Republikken Frankrike (formal)
  10. Portuguese: França f, República f Francesa (formal)
  11. Russian: Франция, Французская Республика (formal)
  12. Spanish: Francia f, República f Francesa (formal)
  13. Swedish: Frankrike
  14. Turkish: Fransa Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Land of the Franks.

Primary subdivisions: 

France, in Europe and adjacent islands (Corsica), is divided into 96 départements (departments). It also has a number of possessions, some of which are classified as départements d'outre-mer (overseas departments). The overseas departments are nominally equivalent in status to the continental ones, but they are listed as separate countries here, following ISO 3166-1.

NameHASCRegISOFIPSNUTSPopulationArea(km.²)Area(mi.²)Capital
AinFR.AIV01FR01FR711614,3315,7622,225Bourg-en-Bresse
AisneFR.ASS02FR02FR221555,0947,3692,845Laon
AllierFR.ALC03FR03FR721353,1247,3402,834Moulins
Alpes-de-Haute-ProvenceFR.APU04FR12FR821165,1556,9252,674Digne
Alpes-MaritimesFR.AMU06FR04FR8231,094,5794,2991,660Nice
ArdècheFR.AHV07FR05FR712324,8855,5292,135Privas
ArdennesFR.ANG08FR06FR211291,6785,2292,019Charleville-Mézières
AriègeFR.AGN09FR07FR621157,5824,8901,888Foix
AubeFR.ABG10FR08FR212311,7206,0042,318Troyes
AudeFR.ADK11FR09FR811365,8546,1392,370Carcassonne
AveyronFR.AVN12FR10FR622288,3648,7353,373Rodez
Bas-RhinFR.BRA67FR11FR4211,115,2264,7551,836Strasbourg
Bouches-du-RhôneFR.BDU13FR15FR8242,000,5505,0871,964Marseille
CalvadosFR.CVP14FR16FR251699,5615,5482,142Caen
CantalFR.CLC15FR17FR722154,1355,7262,211Aurillac
CharenteFR.CTT16FR18FR531364,4295,9562,300Angoulême
Charente-MaritimeFR.CMT17FR19FR532640,8036,8642,650La Rochelle
CherFR.CHF18FR20FR241319,6007,2352,793Bourges
CorrèzeFR.CZL19FR21FR631252,2355,8572,261Tulle
Corse-du-SudFR.CSH2AFR90FR831145,9984,0141,550Ajaccio
Côte-d'OrFR.COD21FR22FR261538,5058,7633,383Dijon
Côtes-d'ArmorFR.CAE22FR23FR521612,3836,8782,655Saint-Brieuc
CreuseFR.CRL23FR24FR632127,9195,5652,149Guéret
Deux-SèvresFR.DST79FR25FR533380,5695,9992,316Niort
DordogneFR.DDB24FR26FR611426,6079,0603,498Périgueux
DoubsFR.DBI25FR27FR431542,5095,2342,021Besançon
DrômeFR.DMV26FR28FR713499,3136,5302,521Valence
EssonneFR.ESJ91FR79FR1041,233,6451,804697Évry
EureFR.EUQ27FR29FR231603,1946,0402,332Évreux
Eure-et-LoirFR.ELF28FR30FR242440,2915,8802,270Chartres
FinistèreFR.FIE29FR31FR522929,2866,7332,600Quimper
GardFR.GAK30FR32FR812726,2855,8532,260Nîmes
GersFR.GEN32FR33FR624195,4896,2572,416Auch
GirondeFR.GIB33FR34FR6121,479,27710,0003,861Bordeaux
Haute-CorseFR.HCH2BFR96FR832168,8694,6661,801Bastia
Haute-GaronneFR.HGN31FR35FR6231,268,3706,3092,436Toulouse
Haute-LoireFR.HLC43FR36FR723231,8774,9771,922Le Puy
Haute-MarneFR.HMG52FR37FR214191,0046,2112,398Chaumont
Hautes-AlpesFR.HAU05FR38FR822142,3125,5492,142Gap
Haute-SaôneFR.HNI70FR39FR433247,3115,3602,070Vesoul
Haute-SavoieFR.HSV74FR40FR718760,9794,3881,694Annecy
Hautes-PyrénéesFR.HPN65FR41FR626237,9454,4641,724Tarbes
Haute-VienneFR.HVL87FR42FR633384,7815,5202,131Limoges
Haut-RhinFR.HRA68FR43FR422765,6343,5251,361Colmar
Hauts-de-SeineFR.HDJ92FR77FR1051,590,74917668Nanterre
HéraultFR.HEK34FR44FR8131,062,6176,1012,356Montpellier
Ille-et-VilaineFR.IVE35FR45FR5231,015,4706,7752,616Rennes
IndreFR.INF36FR46FR243238,2616,7912,622Châteauroux
Indre-et-LoireFR.ILF37FR47FR244605,8196,1272,366Tours
IsèreFR.ISV38FR48FR7141,233,7597,4312,869Grenoble
JuraFR.JUI39FR49FR432271,9734,9991,930Lons-le-Saunier
LandesFR.LDB40FR50FR613397,7669,2433,569Mont-de-Marsan
LoireFR.LRV42FR51FR715766,7294,7811,846Saint-Étienne
Loire-AtlantiqueFR.LAR44FR52FR5111,317,6856,8152,631Nantes
LoiretFR.LTF45FR53FR246674,9136,7752,616Orléans
Loir-et-CherFR.LCF41FR54FR245340,7296,3432,449Blois
LotFR.LON46FR55FR625181,2325,2172,014Cahors
Lot-et-GaronneFR.LGB47FR56FR614342,5005,3612,070Agen
LozèreFR.LZK48FR57FR81481,2815,1671,995Mende
Maine-et-LoireFR.MLR49FR58FR512808,2987,1662,767Angers
MancheFR.MHP50FR59FR252517,1215,9382,293Saint-Lô
MarneFR.MRG51FR60FR213579,5338,1623,151Châlons-en-Champagne
MayenneFR.MYR53FR61FR513317,0065,1751,998Laval
Meurthe-et-MoselleFR.MMM54FR62FR411746,5025,2412,024Nancy
MeuseFR.MSM55FR63FR412200,5096,2162,400Bar-le-Duc
MorbihanFR.MBE56FR64FR524744,6636,8232,634Vannes
MoselleFR.MOM57FR65FR4131,066,6676,2162,400Metz
NièvreFR.NID58FR66FR262226,9976,8172,632Nevers
NordFR.NOO59FR67FR3012,617,9395,7432,217Lille
OiseFR.OIS60FR68FR222823,6685,8602,263Beauvais
OrneFR.ORP61FR69FR253301,4216,1032,357Alençon
Pas-de-CalaisFR.PCO62FR70FR3021,489,2096,6712,576Arras
Puy-de-DômeFR.PDC63FR71FR724649,6437,9703,077Clermont-Ferrand
Pyrénées-AtlantiquesFR.PAB64FR13FR615674,9087,6452,952Pau
Pyrénées-OrientalesFR.POK66FR72FR815457,2384,1161,589Perpignan
RhôneFR.RHV69FR73FR7161,756,0693,2491,254Lyon
Saône-et-LoireFR.SLD71FR74FR263574,8748,5753,311Mâcon
SartheFR.STR72FR75FR514579,4976,2062,396Le Mans
SavoieFR.SVV73FR76FR717428,7516,0282,328Chambéry
Seine-et-MarneFR.SEJ77FR78FR1021,347,0085,9152,284Melun
Seine-MaritimeFR.SMQ76FR80FR2321,275,9526,2782,424Rouen
Seine-Saint-DenisFR.SSJ93FR91FR1061,534,89523691Bobigny
SommeFR.SOS80FR81FR223583,3886,1702,382Amiens
TarnFR.TAN81FR82FR627387,0995,7582,223Albi
Tarn-et-GaronneFR.TGN82FR83FR628248,2273,7181,436Montauban
Territoire de BelfortFR.TBI90FR14FR434146,475609235Belfort
Val-de-MarneFR.VMJ94FR92FR1071,340,86824595Créteil
Val-d'OiseFR.VOJ95FR93FR1081,187,8361,246481Cergy-Pontoise
VarFR.VRU83FR84FR8251,026,2225,9732,306Toulon
VaucluseFR.VCU84FR85FR826555,2403,5671,377Avignon
VendéeFR.VDR85FR86FR515654,0966,7202,594La Roche-sur-Yon
VienneFR.VNT86FR87FR534438,5666,9902,699Poitiers
Ville de ParisFR.VPJ75FR94FR1012,268,26510541Paris
VosgesFR.VGM88FR88FR414392,8465,8742,268Épinal
YonneFR.YOD89FR89FR264353,3667,4272,868Auxerre
YvelinesFR.YVJ78FR95FR1031,435,4482,284882Versailles
96 departments64,207,050543,965210,028
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • Reg: regions of France, identified by their ISO 3166-2 codes (see below).
  • ISO: codes from ISO 3166-2 (see note on codes).
  • FIPS: codes from FIPS PUB 10-3.
  • NUTS: Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics.
  • Population: 2010-01-01 legal population.

 

Note on collation sequence: In French usage, Bas, Haut, and their feminine and plural forms are not considered part of the collation object. For example, Haute-Marne is alphabetized as if it were "Marne, Haute", and comes between Marne and Mayenne.

Note on license plates: Since 1950, France has used these department codes for the last two digits on license plates. The phrase "plaque minéralogique" means "license plate", from the fact that plates were originally issued by the Mining Service. Thus, the department codes are sometimes called "numéros minéralogiques". That system is being abandoned as of 2009, because of a European directive. Future registration numbers will follow the pattern AA-111-AA, issued sequentially nationwide. Motorists will be given the option of identifying their department or region on a separate section of their plates.

Note on codes: France has an official system of geocoding. Its name is "Code officiel géographique", but since it is administered by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (Insee), it is commonly called the Insee code. Part of this system is a set of five-digit codes that covers the whole world. If the first two digits are between 01 and 95, they indicate a department, and match the ISO code shown above. If they are 97 or 98, the third digit must also be used to determine an overseas department (97x) or territory (98x). If they are 99, the remaining three digits indicate a country. For example, 98735 is the code for Papeete, Tahiti, where the first three digits designate the overseas territory of French Polynesia. Qatar's code is 99248; in it, the third digit is "2" for Asia. Codes for communes in Corsica have a letter rather than a digit as their second character; for example, Calvi, Haute-Corse's code is 2B050.

Postal codes: 

France uses five-digit postal codes (codes postaux). The first two digits of the postal code are the same as the ISO code for the department, except for Corse-du-Sud (ISO code 2A, postal codes 200xx-201xx) and Haute-Corse (2B, 202xx). A few places have postal codes corresponding to a neighboring department. Note: postal codes for French addresses can be identified by prefixing them with "F-".

Further subdivisions:

See the Arrondissements of France page.

The departments of France are subdivided into arrondissements, which are subdivided into cantons, which are (in general) subdivided into communes. (The same words are generally used in English. The basic meaning of arrondissement is a rounding off, or rounding out.) In densely populated areas, there may be several cantons in a commune. Paris is divided into 20 arrondissements, but they are legally equivalent to cantons. On 1988-01-01, there were 22 regions, 96 departments, 326 arrondissements, 3,827 cantons, and 36,538 communes in metropolitan France (France in Europe, including Corsica). The word circonscription (circumscription, constituency) is used in France and its former colonies to describe an administrative division at any level.

In the past, various ministries of the French government found it convenient to group the departments into régions. Each one used a slightly different grouping. In 1960, the present set of regions was adopted as a standard for all ministries. The regions have gradually taken on an administrative structure, including councils, elections, and budgets. For a country the size of France, 96 departments is an unwieldy number, and it's possible that the regions will eventually become the basic administrative divisions. The regions of France are as follows.

RegionNoteISOFIPSNUTSPopulationArea(km.²)Capital
AlsaceFR:AAAFRC1FR421,880,8608,280Strasbourg
AquitaineFR:AQBFR97FR613,321,05841,308Bordeaux
AuvergneFR:AUCFR98FR721,388,77926,013Clermont-Ferrand
Basse-NormandieFR:BNPFR99FR251,518,10317,589Caen
BourgogneFR:BGDFRA1FR261,693,74231,582Dijon
BretagneFR:BTEFRA2FR523,301,80227,208Rennes
CentreFR:CNFFRA3FR242,619,61339,151Orléans
Champagne-ArdenneFR:CGGFRA4FR211,373,93525,606Châlons-en-Champagne
CorseFR:CEHFRA5FR83314,8678,680Ajaccio
Franche-ComtéFR:FCIFRA6FR431,208,26816,202Besançon
Haute-NormandieFR:HTQFRA7FR231,879,14612,317Rouen
Île-de-FranceFR:IFJFRA8FR1011,938,71412,012Paris
Languedoc-RoussillonFR:LUKFRA9FR812,693,27527,376Montpellier
LimousinFR:LMLFRB1FR63764,93516,942Limoges
LorraineFR:LEMFRB2FR412,406,52423,547Metz
Midi-PyrénéesFR:MPNFRB3FR622,964,30845,348Toulouse
Nord-Pas-de-CalaisFR:NPOFRB4FR304,107,14812,414Lille
Pays de la LoireFR:PLRFRB5FR513,676,58232,082Nantes
PicardieFR:PISFRB6FR221,962,15019,399Amiens
Poitou-CharentesFR:PTTFRB7FR531,824,36725,810Poitiers
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'AzurFR:PRUFRB8FR824,984,05831,400Marseille
Rhône-AlpesFR:RAVFRB9FR716,384,81643,698Lyon
22 regions64,207,050543,964
  • Note: see below.
  • ISO: codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • NUTS: Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics.
  • Population: 2010-01-01 legal populations.

 

Note: I have assigned arbitrary HASC-like codes to the regions for the possible convenience of those who need to divide France up by regions rather than departments. The colon serves to distinguish them from ordinary HASC codes. There is no duplication between these codes and the HASC department codes (even if the colons are replaced with periods).

The six regions whose NUTS codes begin with FR2 form a group which the NUTS standard designates as Bassin Parisien. Similarly, FR4 is Est; FR5 is Ouest; FR6 is Sud-Ouest; FR7 is Centre-Est; and FR8 is Méditerranée. The NUTS codes beginning with FR9 are assigned to the overseas departments.

Territorial extent: 

  1. Charente-Maritime includes the Île d'Oléron and Île de Ré.
  2. Corse-du-Sud includes Île Cavallo in the Strait of Bonifacio.
  3. Côte-d'Or includes an exclave that lies between Nièvre and Saône-et-Loire, consisting of the commune of Ménessaire.
  4. Finistère includes the Île d'Ouessant and Île de Sein.
  5. Hautes-Pyrénées includes two exclaves within Pyrénées-Atlantiques, containing five communes, including Luquet and Séron.
  6. Manche includes the Îles Chausey in the Gulf of Saint-Malo.
  7. Meurthe-et-Moselle includes an exclave within Meuse, consisting of the commune of Othe.
  8. Morbihan includes the Île de Groix and Belle-Île.
  9. Nord includes an exclave within Pas-de-Calais, containing three communes, including Boursies.
  10. Île des Faisans, in the Bidassoa River, is a condominium of France and Spain. It lies in Pyrénées-Atlantiques.
  11. Var includes the Îles d'Hyères.
  12. Vaucluse includes an exclave within Drôme, containing the canton of Valréas.
  13. Vendée includes the Île d'Yeu.
  14. The following remote territories of France are treated as separate countries by ISO 3166-1, so they are not included here: French Guiana, French Polynesia, French Southern Territories, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, New Caledonia, Reunion, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, and Wallis and Futuna. Each of the overseas departments (French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion) is also a region: Mayotte since it became an overseas department in 2011, the others since 1974. Although each one has its own ISO country code, they also have supplementary codes which are the country code with FR- prefixed, making it possible to represent them as parts of France. In addition, ISO gives Clipperton Island the code FR-CP (but no country code). I have called Clipperton Island part of French Polynesia for classification purposes.
  15. According to my latest information, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, and Wallis and Futuna Islands are overseas collectivities (collectivités d'outre-mer); French Polynesia and New Caledonia are overseas countries (pays d'outre-mer); French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, and Reunion are overseas departments (départements d'outre-mer); French Southern Lands is an overseas territory (territoire d'outre-mer); and Saint Pierre and Miquelon is a territorial collectivity (collectivité territoriale).

Origins of names: 

When the departments of France were created in 1790, they were named fairly systematically after the geographic features that marked them. The following 51 rivers have all contributed to department names: Ain, Aisne, Allier, Ardèche, Ariège, Aube, Aude, Aveyron, Charente, Cher, Corrèze, Creuse, Dordogne, Doubs, Drôme, Eure, Gard, Garonne, Gers, Gironde, Hérault, Ille, Indre, Isère, Loir, Loire, Loiret, Lot, Maine, Marne, Mayenne, Meurthe, Meuse, Moselle, Nièvre, Oise, Orne, Rhin (Rhine), Rhône, Saône, Sarthe, Seine, Sèvre Nantaise, Sèvre Niortaise, Somme, Tarn, Var, Vendée, Vienne, Vilaine, and Yonne. Topographic features used in department names include five mountain ranges (Alpes (Alps), Jura, Lozère, Pyrénées, and Vosges); two individual mountains (Cantal and Puy de Dôme); and a range of hills (the Côte d'Or). There are also departments named for forests (Ardennes and Yvelines), a gulf (Morbihan), two straits (Pas-de-Calais and Manche), rocky islets (Calvados), a spring (Vaucluse), and a sandy plain (Landes).

Since France so often re-uses name elements (there are six departments and one region containing Loire in their names), I have given the probable origins of name elements rather than the full names.

  1. Alpes: probably from an Indo-European root meaning mountain, high place
  2. Alsace: from ethnic name, probably Germanic for "those of foreign parts"; or, land of the Ill (River)
  3. Aquitaine: from ethnic name Aquitani; or, Latin Aquitania: land of water
  4. Ardennes: said to come from Celtic ardu-: high
  5. Atlantique: for the Atlantic Ocean, which was probably named for Atlas, a Titan of Greek mythology
  6. Aube: from Latin alba: white
  7. Auvergne: from ethnic name Arverni, from Gallic are verno: at the alders
  8. Bas, Basse: French for low (m., f.), usually applied to downstream areas
  9. Belfort: Latin Bellofortis: beautiful and strong
  10. Bouches-du-Rhône: French for Mouths of the Rhône River
  11. Bourgogne: Germanic Burgundja, either from Indo-European bhrghu: tall, or from Gothic baurgjans: inhabitants of fortified places
  12. Bretagne: Land of the Bretons
  13. Calvados: from the rocks of Calvados. When the department was founded in 1790, Delaunay, a deputy from the area, stated that the rocks had been named for the galleon San Salvador (misspelled Çalvador) of the Spanish Armada, which foundered on them. This theory has not been confirmed.
  14. Cantal: Mediterranean root kanto: stone, mountain
  15. Centre: French for center
  16. Champagne: Latin campania: countryside
  17. Charente: from Gallic word for sandy
  18. Corrèze: Latin Curretia, from pre-Latin cur: stream
  19. Corse: from ethnic name Corsi, possibly from Phoenician horsi: wooded
  20. Corse-du-Sud: French for Southern Corsica
  21. Côte-d'Azur: French: blue coast (coined by Stephen Liégeard in his 1887 book, La Côte d'Azur)
  22. Côte-d'Or: French: golden hillside (from color of grapevines, or their monetary value)
  23. Côtes-d'Armor: coasts of Armorica (ancient name of Bretagne)
  24. Côtes-du-Nord: French: northern coasts
  25. Creuse: French: hollow (adj. f.), describing the river's course through gorges. (The adjective and the name of the river haven't always been the same, but have undergone parallel evolution.)
  26. Deux-Sèvres: French: two Sèvres, referring to the rivers Sèvre Nantaise and Sèvre Niortaise
  27. Doubs: from Celtic dubis: black
  28. Finistère: Latin finis terrae: end of the earth
  29. Franche-Comté: French for free county. From 1361 to 1678, Bourgogne was divided into a duchy, which belonged to France, and the free county, which was exempt from tribute to the king.
  30. Gascogne: Latin Vasconia: land of the Basques
  31. Gironde: the estuary of the Garonne River. In ancient times they had the same name.
  32. Haut, Haute, Hautes: French for high (m., f., f. pl.), usually used for upstream areas
  33. Île-de-France: French: Island of France (the area around Paris, once the only territory of the King of France)
  34. Indre: Latin Angerum, from Frankish anger: prairie
  35. Jura: from Celtic juris: wooded heights
  36. Isère: from pre-Celtic Isara, in which ara means river
  37. Landes: from Gallic landa: flatlands
  38. Languedoc: French Langue d'Oc: language of "oc" (in the local dialect, "oc" was used for "yes")
  39. Limousin: province of Limoges, from ethnic name Lemovices, from Gallic lemo: elm, vices: warrior
  40. Lorraine: from Lotharingie, the domain given to Lothaire in the partition of Charlemagne's realm (A.D. 843)
  41. Lot: the river's Latin name was Ulta, which became Olt in the Middle Ages. The definite article in the expression "l'Olt" became absorbed into the name itself.
  42. Maine: see Mayenne
  43. Manche: = sleeve, from the French name for the English Channel, which resembles a sleeve; or from a Celtic word for channel
  44. Maritime: French: seaside (adjective)
  45. Marne: Gallic, apparently from Matrona, a goddess of motherhood
  46. Mayenne: from Celtic Meduana, in which medu- means mead. The name formerly applied to both the Mayenne and the Maine, but underwent divergent evolution. (The Mayenne meets the Sarthe near Angers, forming the Maine, which flows into the Loire 10 km. further downstream.)
  47. Midi: French for South (as a region rather than a compass point), from Latin meridies: midday (sun stands in the south at midday in those latitudes)
  48. Morbihan: Breton mor: sea, bihan: little, by contrast with the Atlantic Ocean, a great sea
  49. Moselle: from Latin Mosella, a diminutive form of Mosa, the Latin name for the Meuse. The Moselle was being likened to a smaller Meuse.
  50. Nord: French for North
  51. Normandie: from ethnic name Normand (people from the North)
  52. Orientales: French for eastern (feminine plural), from Latin oriens: rising (direction of the rising sun)
  53. Paris: from ethnic name Parisii; shortened from Latin name Lutetia Parisiorum
  54. Pas-de-Calais: French: Strait of Calais. Calais comes from the ethnic name Caleti.
  55. Pays de la Loire: French for land of the Loire River
  56. Poitou: province of Poitier, from ethnic name Pictones
  57. Provence: Latin Provincia: the province
  58. Puy-de-Dôme: Puy comes from Latin podium: high place. The mountain had a temple dedicated to Mercury Dumias, whence Dôme
  59. Pyrénées: Mountains named for a village named Pyrene.
  60. Rhin: from the Celtic root renos: river
  61. Rhône: came through Latin Rhodanus from an old root Rhod-: river
  62. Roussillon: from Ruscino, name of a city in the province (modern Château-Roussillon)
  63. Somme: from Celtic samara: tranquil
  64. Val-de, Val-d': French for "valley of"
  65. Var: from a Celtic root meaning river
  66. Vaucluse: after the source of the Sorgue River at a place called, in Latin, Vallis clusa: enclosed valley
  67. Vendée: from Gallic vindo: white, clear, describing the river
  68. Vosges: named for the god Vosegus
  69. Yonne: for a tutelary goddess named Icauna

Change history: 

There have been numerous minor boundary adjustments between departments.

The basic set of departments dates back to 1790-02-26, when the French National Assembly abolished the old provinces and established 83 departments to replace them. As far as I know, this was the first time anyone had tried to create a reasoned, methodical set of administrative divisions for any country. Each department was to be small enough that all its citizens could reach its capital in a day's journey. The 83 departments at that time were Ain, Aisne, Allier, Ardèche, Ardennes, Arriège, Aube, Aude, Aveiron, Bas-Rhin, Basses-Alpes, Basses-Pyrénées, Bouches du Rhône, Calvados, Cantal, Charente, Charente Inférieure, Cher, Corrèze, Corse, Côte-d'Or, Côtes du Nord, Creuse, Dordogne, Doubs, Drôme, Eure, Eure et Loir, Finistère, Gard, Gers, Gironde, Haut-Rhin, Haute-Garonne, Haute-Loire, Haute-Marne, Hautes-Alpes, Haute-Saône, Hautes-Pyrénées, Haute-Vienne, Hérault, Ille et Vilaine, Indre, Indre et Loire, Isère, Jura, La Manche, Landes, Loir et Cher, Loire Inférieure, Loiret, Lot, Lot et Garonne, Lozère, Marne, Mayenne, Mayne et Loire, Meurte, Meuse, Morbihan, Mozelle, Nord, Nyèvre, Oise, Orne, Paris, Pas de Calais, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées Orientales, Rhône et Loire, Saône et Loire, Sarte, Seine et Marne, Seine et Oise, Seine Inférieure, Deux Sèvres, Somme, Tarn, Var, Vendée, Vienne, Vosges, and Yonne. Note that some spellings have changed slightly since then.

The departments were initially defined as sets of communes. Since the drafters had inaccurate maps, it often happened that a commune was placed in a department with which it was not contiguous. The resulting exclaves were gradually eliminated in the early 19th century, although some still remain.

  1. 1791-09-14: Avignon and Comtat-Venaissin, corresponding roughly to modern Vaucluse department, annexed to France following a plebiscite.
  2. 1791-12-12: Name of Mayne et Loire department changed to Maine-et-Loire.
  3. 1792-03-26: Avignon and Comtat-Venaissin split and annexed to Bouches du Rhône and Drôme departments.
  4. 1792-11-27: Savoie (corresponding to modern Haute-Savoie) annexed to France as the new department of Mont-Blanc (capital Chambéry).
  5. 1793-01-31: Comté de Nice annexed to France. It became Alpes-Maritimes department on 1793-02-04.
  6. 1793-02-13: Monaco and two nearby cities annexed to France and merged with Alpes-Maritimes department.
  7. 1793-03-23: Porrentruy and Delémont annexed to France as the new department of Mont-Terrible (capital Porrentruy).
  8. 1793-06-25: The territory originally consituting Avignon and Comtat-Venaissain reintegrated to form Vaucluse department.
  9. 1793-08-11: Corse split into the departments of Golo (corresponding to present-day Haute-Corse, capital Bastia) and Liamone (Corse-du-Sud, capital Ajaccio).
  10. 1793-12-12: Name of Gironde department changed to Bec-d'Ambes.
  11. 1793: Rhône et Loire department split into two departments, Loire and Rhône.
  12. 1795: Conquered territories in Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg formed into the departments of Deux-Nèthes, Dyle, Escaut, Forêts, Jemmapes, Lys, Meuse-Inférieure, Ourthe, Sambre-et-Meuse.
  13. 1795-08-22: Name of Paris department changed to Seine.
  14. 1798: Conquered territories in Germany and Switzerland formed into the departments of Léman, Mont-Tonnerre, Rhin-et-Moselle, Roër, and Sarre.
  15. 1798: Name of Bec-d'Ambes department changed to Gironde, reversing the change of 1793.
  16. 1800-02-17: Mont-Terrible department merged with Haut-Rhin.
  17. 1802: Conquered territories in Italy and Egypt formed into the departments of Doire, Marengo, Pô, Sesia, Stura, and Tanaro.
  18. 1804-05-18: First empire declared. Greek conquests had added three loosely attached departments of Corcyre, Ithaque, and Mer Égée.
  19. 1805: Conquered territories in Italy formed into the departments of Apennin, Gênes, and Montenotte.
  20. 1808: Conquered territories in Italy formed into the departments of Arno, Méditerranée, Ombrone, and Taro.
  21. 1808-11-04: Parts of Aveyron, Gers, Haute-Garonne, Lot, and Lot-et-Garonne departments merged to form Tarn-et-Garonne.
  22. 1810: Conquered territories in Italy and Switzerland formed into the departments of Simplon, Tibre, and Trasimène.
  23. 1811: Conquered territories in Netherlands and Germany formed into the departments of Bouches-de-la-Meuse, Bouches-de-l'Elbe, Bouches-de-l'Escaut, Bouches-de-l'Yssel, Bouches-du-Rhin, Bouches-du-Weser, Ems-Occidental, Ems-Oriental, Ems-Supérieur, Frise, Lippe, Yssel-Supérieur, and Zuyderzée.
  24. 1811-04-19: Golo and Liamone departments reunited to form Corse.
  25. 1812: Capital of Vendée department moved from Fontenay to La Roche-sur-Yon.
  26. 1814-05-30: Treaty of Paris restored France to approximately the borders of 1792-01-01. In particular, Monaco was restored as an independent principality.
  27. 1815-11-20: Second Treaty of Paris adjusted the borders of France, causing changes in the territory of Ain, Ardennes, Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, Moselle, and Nord departments.
  28. 1824-07-21: exclave of Madré merged with Mayenne department; exclave of Saint-Denis-de-Villenette merged with Orne.
  29. 1860-06-15: Part of Var department transferred to Alpes-Maritimes.
  30. 1860-06-23: Nice and Savoie, returned to France on 1860-06-12, organized into the departments of Alpes-Maritimes, Haute-Savoie, and Savoie.
  31. 1871-05-10: By Treaty of Frankfurt, Bas-Rhin department and parts of Haut-Rhin, Meurthe, Moselle, and Vosges ceded to Germany.
  32. 1871-09-07: Remaining parts of Meurthe and Moselle departments merged to form Meurthe-et-Moselle. This was supposed to be a provisional arrangement, but has stood until the present. The section of Haut-Rhin which remained in France eventually became known as the Territoire de Belfort.
  33. 1919-10-17: Alsace-Lorraine restored to France, as the departments of Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, and Moselle. These were known as Unterelsaß, Oberelsaß, and Lothringen respectively under German administration.
  34. 1922: Territoire de Belfort given the status of department.
  35. 1940-07-01: Following the Franco-German armistice (1940-06-22), Alsace-Lorraine became de facto part of Germany. It became part of two new Gauen (districts): Lothringen-Pfalz (Lorraine-Palatinate) and Baden-Elsaß (Baden-Alsace).
  36. 1941-09-04: Charente-Inférieure department renamed to Charente-Maritime, to avoid the negative connotations of "Inférieure" (lower, or inferior).
  37. 1944: With the liberation of France, Alsace-Lorraine reverted to its pre-1940 status.
  38. 1947-02-10: Tende, La Brigue, and other villages formerly in Italy annexed to Alpes-Maritimes by the peace treaty.
  39. 1955-01-18: Seine-Inférieure department renamed to Seine-Maritime.
  40. 1955-03-31: Capital of Ain department renamed from Bourg to Bourg-en-Bresse.
  41. 1957-03-09: Loire-Inférieure department renamed to Loire-Atlantique.
  42. 1960-06-02: Twenty-one circonscriptions d'action régionale (circumscriptions for regional action, now simply regions) were created by grouping sets of contiguous departments.
  43. 1964-07-10: Seine (capital Paris) and Seine-et-Oise (capital Versailles) departments reorganized, forming the departments of Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Val-d'Oise, Ville de Paris, and Yvelines. Of these, Ville de Paris was formed entirely from Seine. Essonne, Val-d'Oise, and Yvelines were formed entirely from Seine-et-Oise. The other three contain parts of both former departments.
  44. 1965: Capital of Essonne renamed from Évry-Petit-Bourg to Évry.
  45. 1966: Capital of Ardennes renamed from Mézières to Charleville-Mézières because of the merging of the two cities.
  46. 1967-12-29: Territory transferred from Ain and Isère departments to Rhône, in order to unite the Lyon metropolitan area within one department.
  47. 1969: Capital (préfecture) of Val-d'Oise department moved from Pontoise to the nearby new town of Cergy-Pontoise.
  48. 1969-10-10: Basses-Pyrénées department renamed to Pyrénées-Atlantiques, to avoid the negative connotations of "Basses" (low).
  49. 1970-04-13: Basses-Alpes department renamed to Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
  50. 1974: Capital of Var moved from Draguignan to Toulon.
  51. 1975-05-15: Corsica region split from Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region.
  52. 1976-01-01: Corse department (capital Ajaccio) split into Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse.
  53. 1976-03-06: Name of one region changed from Région parisienne to Île-de-France.
  54. 1982-03-02: Status of circonscriptions d'action régionale changed to regions.
  55. 1988-03-17: Capital of Haute-Loire department renamed from Le Puy to Le Puy-en-Velay, its historic name.
  56. 1990-02-27: Côtes-du-Nord department renamed to Côtes-d'Armor, to avoid the supposedly negative connotations of "North" for tourism.
  57. 1991-01-17: FIPS Change Notice #9, affecting FIPS PUB 10-3, dropped the department codes shown in the table under Primary subdivisions, and replaced them with the region codes shown under Further subdivisions.
  58. 1991-05-13: Status of Corse region changed to collectivité territoriale (territorial collectivity).
  59. 1993-11-01: Under the Maastricht Treaty, the European Union replaced the European Communities, of which France was a member.
  60. 1995-11-17: Capital of Marne department renamed from Châlons-sur-Marne to Châlons-en-Champagne. Former name put back into use from 1997-05-01 to 1998-01-04.

Note: Vilaine is the feminine of the French adjective vilain, which means disreputable, vile, offensive. Can it be long before the name of Ille-et-Vilaine department is expurgated?

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Alpes-de-Haute-Provence: Alpes da Alta Provença (Portuguese); Basses-Alpes (obsolete)
  2. Alpes Maritimes: Alpes Marítimos (Portuguese)
  3. Alsace: Alsacia (Spanish); Alsácia (Portuguese); Alsazia (Italian); Elsaß (German); Elzas (Dutch)
  4. Aquitaine: Aquitania (Italian); Aquitánia (Portuguese); Aquitanien (German)
  5. Auvergne: Alvernia (Italian)
  6. Bas-Rhin: Baixo Reno (Portuguese); Unterelsaß (German-obsolete)
  7. Basse-Normandie: Baixa Normandia (Portuguese); Baja Normandía (Spanish); Bassa Normandia (Italian); Lower Normandy (English)
  8. Bourgogne: Borgogna (Italian); Borgoña (Spanish); Borgonha (Portuguese); Burgund (German); Burgundy (English)
  9. Bretagne: Bretagna (Italian); Bretaña (Spanish); Bretanha (Portuguese); Brittany (English); Бретань (Russian)
  10. Centre: Centro (Italian, Portuguese)
  11. Champagne-Ardenne: Champaña-Ardenne (Spanish); Champanhe-Ardenas (Portuguese)
  12. Charente-Maritime: Charente-Inférieure (obsolete)
  13. Corse: Córcega (Spanish); Córsega (Portuguese); Corsica (English, Italian, Swedish); Korsika (Dutch, German, Norwegian); Корсика (Russian)
  14. Côtes-d'Armor: Côtes-du-Nord (obsolete)
  15. Deux-Sèvres: Dois-Sevres (Portuguese)
  16. Dordogne: Dordonha (Portuguese)
  17. Franche-Comté: Franca Contea (Italian); Franco-Condado (Portuguese,Spanish)
  18. Gironde: Gironda (Portuguese, Spanish)
  19. Haute-Garonne: Alto Garona (Portuguese, Spanish)
  20. Haute-Normandie: Alta Normandia (Italian, Portuguese); Alta Normandía (Spanish); Upper Normandy (English)
  21. Hautes-Pyrénées: Altos Pirineos (Spanish); Altos Pirinéus (Portuguese)
  22. Haut-Rhin: Oberelsaß (German-obsolete)
  23. Île-de-France: Ilha-de-França (Portuguese); Regione Parigina (Italian)
  24. Landes: Landas (Spanish)
  25. Languedoc-Roussillon: Languedoc-Rosellon (Spanish); Linguadoca e Rossiglione (Italian)
  26. Limousin: Lemosin (Spanish); Limosino (Italian, Portuguese)
  27. Loire-Atlantique: Loire-Inférieure (obsolete)
  28. Lorraine: Lorena (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish); Lothringen (German)
  29. Meuse: Mosa (Italian, Portuguese, Spanish)
  30. Midi-Pyrénées: Midi e Pirenei (Italian)
  31. Moselle: Lothringen (German-obsolete); Mosela (Portuguese)
  32. Paris: Parigi (Italian); París (Spanish); Париж (Russian)
  33. Pays de la Loire: Regione della Loira (Italian); Terras do Loire (Portuguese)
  34. Picardie: Picardia (Portuguese); Picardía (Spanish); Piccardia (Italian)
  35. Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur: PACA (acronym); Provença-Alpes-Costa Azul (Portuguese); Provenza-Alpes-Costa de Azul (Spanish); Provenza-Alpi-Costa Azzurra (Italian)
  36. Pyrénées-Atlantiques: Basses-Pyrénées (obsolete); Pirinéus Atlânticos (Portuguese); Pirinio Atlantiarrak (Basque)
  37. Pyrénées-Orientales: Pirineos Orientales (Spanish); Pirinéus Orientais (Portuguese)
  38. Rhône-Alpes: Ródano-Alpes (Portuguese, Spanish); Rodano e Alpi (Italian)
  39. Savoie: Sabóia (Portuguese), Savoia (Italian)
  40. Seine: Сена (Russian)
  41. Seine-Maritime: Seine-Inférieure (obsolete); Sena Marítimo (Portuguese)
  42. Vendée: Vendéia (Portuguese)
  43. Vosges: Вогезы (Russian)

Population history:

Name2010-01-011999-03-081990-03-051982-03-041975-02-201968-03-011962-03-07
Ain614,331515,270471,016418,516376,477339,262327,146
Aisne555,094535,842537,222533,970533,862526,346512,920
Allier353,124344,721357,710369,580378,406386,533380,221
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence165,155139,561130,883119,068112,178104,81391,843
Alpes-Maritimes1,094,5791,011,326971,763881,198816,681722,070618,265
Ardèche324,885286,023277,579267,970257,065256,927248,516
Ardennes291,678290,130296,333302,338309,306309,380300,247
Ariège157,582137,205136,483135,725137,857138,478137,192
Aube311,720292,131289,145289,300284,823270,325255,099
Aude365,854309,770298,712280,686272,366278,323269,782
Aveyron288,364263,808270,054278,654278,306281,568290,442
Bas-Rhin1,115,2261,026,120953,053915,676882,121827,367770,150
Bouches-du-Rhône2,000,5501,835,7191,759,0981,724,1991,632,9741,470,2711,248,355
Calvados699,561648,385618,468589,066560,967519,695480,686
Cantal154,135150,778158,723162,838166,549169,330172,977
Charente364,429339,628342,268340,770337,064331,016327,658
Charente-Maritime640,803557,024527,142513,220497,859483,622470,897
Cher319,600314,428321,548320,174316,350304,601293,514
Corrèze252,235232,576237,859241,448240,363237,858237,926
Corse-du-Sud145,998118,593118,174108,604128,634269,831275,465
Côte-d'Or538,505506,755493,867473,548456,070421,192387,869
Côtes-d'Armor612,383542,373538,423539,660525,556506,102501,923
Creuse127,919124,470131,346139,968146,214156,876163,515
Deux-Sèvres380,569344,392346,280342,812335,829326,462321,118
Dordogne426,607388,293386,354377,356373,179374,073375,455
Doubs542,509499,062484,770477,163471,082426,363384,881
Drôme499,313437,778414,072389,781361,847342,891304,227
Essonne1,233,6451,134,2381,084,827987,988923,061674,157 
Eure603,194541,054513,818462,300422,952383,385361,904
Eure-et-Loir440,291407,665396,064362,813335,151302,207277,546
Finistère929,286852,418838,662828,364804,088768,929749,558
Gard726,285623,125585,049530,478494,575478,544435,482
Gers195,489172,335174,566174,200175,366181,577182,264
Gironde1,479,2771,287,3341,213,4821,127,5461,061,4741,009,390935,448
Haute-Corse168,869141,603131,563131,574161,208  
Haute-Garonne1,268,3701,046,338925,958824,501777,431690,712594,633
Haute-Loire231,877209,113206,568205,895205,491208,337211,036
Haute-Marne191,004194,873204,255210,670212,304214,336208,446
Hautes-Alpes142,312121,419113,272105,07097,35891,79087,436
Haute-Saône247,311229,732229,659231,962222,254214,176208,440
Haute-Savoie760,979631,679568,256494,505447,795378,550329,230
Hautes-Pyrénées237,945222,368224,754227,922227,222225,730211,433
Haute-Vienne384,781353,893353,586355,737352,149341,589332,514
Haut-Rhin765,634708,025671,319650,372635,209585,018547,920
Hauts-de-Seine1,590,7491,428,8811,391,3141,387,0391,438,9301,461,619 
Hérault1,062,617896,441794,603706,499648,202591,397516,658
Ille-et-Vilaine1,015,470867,533798,715748,272702,199652,722614,268
Indre238,261231,139237,505243,191248,523247,178251,432
Indre-et-Loire605,819554,003529,328506,097478,601437,870395,210
Isère1,233,7591,094,0061,016,227936,771860,378768,450729,789
Jura271,973250,857248,759242,925238,856233,547225,682
Landes397,766327,334311,458297,424288,323277,381260,495
Loire766,729728,524746,288739,521742,396722,383696,348
Loire-Atlantique1,317,6851,134,2661,052,109995,448934,499861,452803,372
Loiret674,913618,126580,601536,000490,189430,629389,854
Loir-et-Cher340,729314,968305,925296,220283,686267,896250,741
Lot181,232160,197155,813154,533150,725151,198149,929
Lot-et-Garonne342,500305,380305,988298,522292,616290,592275,028
Lozère81,28173,50972,81474,29474,82577,25881,868
Maine-et-Loire808,298732,942705,869675,321629,849584,709556,272
Manche517,121481,471479,630465,948451,662451,939446,878
Marne579,533565,229558,309543,627530,399485,388442,195
Mayenne317,006285,338278,016271,784261,789252,762250,030
Meurthe-et-Moselle746,502713,779711,952716,846722,587705,413678,078
Meuse200,509192,198196,344200,101203,904209,513215,985
Morbihan744,663643,873619,754590,889563,588540,474530,833
Moselle1,066,6671,023,4471,011,2611,007,1891,006,373971,314919,412
Nièvre226,997225,198233,278239,635245,212247,702245,921
Nord2,617,9392,555,0202,531,8552,521,9002,510,7382,417,8992,293,112
Oise823,668766,441725,575661,781606,320540,988481,289
Orne301,421292,337293,183295,472293,523288,524280,549
Pas-de-Calais1,489,2091,441,5681,433,2031,412,4131,403,0351,397,1591,366,282
Puy-de-Dôme649,643604,266598,213594,365580,033547,743508,928
Pyrénées-Atlantiques674,908600,018578,475555,696534,748508,734466,038
Pyrénées-Orientales457,238392,803363,793334,557299,506281,976251,231
Rhône1,756,0691,578,8691,508,9671,445,2081,429,6471,325,6111,116,664
Saône-et-Loire574,874544,893559,413571,852569,810550,362535,772
Sarthe579,497529,851513,614504,768490,385461,839443,019
Savoie428,751373,258348,312323,675305,118288,921266,678
Seine-et-Marne1,347,0081,193,7671,078,145887,112755,762604,340524,486
Seine-Maritime1,275,9521,239,1381,223,4291,192,3001,172,7431,113,9771,035,844
Seine-Saint-Denis1,534,8951,382,8611,381,1691,324,3011,322,1271,251,792 
Somme583,388555,551547,825544,570538,462512,113488,225
Tarn387,099343,402342,741339,345338,024332,011319,560
Tarn-et-Garonne248,227206,034200,220190,485183,314183,572175,847
Territoire de Belfort146,475137,408134,097131,999128,125118,450109,371
Val-de-Marne1,340,8681,227,2501,215,5381,193,6551,215,6741,121,340 
Val-d'Oise1,187,8361,105,4641,049,598920,598840,885693,269 
Var1,026,222898,441814,731708,331626,093555,926469,557
Vaucluse555,240499,685467,075427,343390,446353,966303,536
Vendée654,096539,664509,293483,027450,641421,250408,928
Vienne438,566399,024380,181371,428357,366340,256331,619
Ville de Paris2,268,2652,125,2462,152,3332,176,4232,299,8302,590,7715,646,446
Vosges392,846380,952386,234395,769397,957388,201380,676
Yonne353,366333,221323,096311,019299,851283,376269,826
Yvelines1,435,4481,354,3041,307,1451,196,1111,082,255853,3862,298,931
Totals64,207,05058,518,74856,613,31654,334,78452,655,80249,778,54046,520,271

 

Name1954-05-101946-03-101936-03-081921-03-061901-03-241891-03-061851
Ain311,941306,778316,710315,757343,048356,907365,939
Aisne487,068453,411484,647421,515535,114545,493558,334
Allier372,689373,481368,778370,950422,029424,382336,758
Alpes-de-Haute-Provence84,33583,35485,09091,882115,021124,285152,070
Alpes-Maritimes515,484448,973513,714357,759293,213258,571192,062
Ardèche249,077254,598272,698294,308353,564371,269386,559
Ardennes280,490245,335288,632277,811315,589324,923331,296
Ariège140,010145,956155,134172,851210,527227,491267,435
Aube240,797235,237239,563227,839246,163255,548265,247
Aude268,254268,889285,115287,052313,531317,372289,747
Aveyron292,727307,717314,682332,940382,074400,467394,183
Bas-Rhin707,934673,281711,830651,686659,432 608,325
Bouches-du-Rhône1,048,762971,9351,224,802841,996734,347630,622428,989
Calvados442,991400,026404,901384,730410,193428,945491,225
Cantal177,065186,843190,888199,402230,511239,601253,329
Charente313,635311,137309,279316,279350,305360,259382,912
Charente-Maritime447,973416,187419,021418,310452,149456,202469,992
Cher284,376286,070288,695304,800345,543359,276306,261
Corrèze242,798254,601262,770273,808318,422328,119320,864
Corse-du-Sud246,995267,873322,854281,959295,589288,596236,251
Côte-d'Or356,839335,602334,386321,088361,626376,866400,297
Côtes-d'Armor503,178526,955531,840557,824609,349618,652632,613
Creuse172,702188,669201,844228,244277,831284,660287,075
Deux-Sèvres312,842312,756308,841310,060341,701354,282322,870
Dordogne377,870387,643386,963396,742452,951478,471505,789
Doubs327,187298,255304,812285,022298,953303,081296,759
Drôme275,280268,233267,281263,509297,321306,419326,846
Essonne   164,617  
Eure332,514315,902303,829303,159334,781349,471415,777
Eure-et-Loir261,035258,110252,690251,255275,214284,683294,662
Finistère727,847724,735756,793762,514773,016727,012617,710
Gard396,742380,837395,299396,169420,836419,388408,163
Gers185,111190,431192,451194,406238,448261,084307,479
Gironde896,517858,381850,567819,128821,131793,528614,387
Haute-Corse      
Haute-Garonne525,669512,260458,647424,582448,481472,383481,610
Haute-Loire215,577228,076245,271268,910314,058316,735304,615
Haute-Marne197,147181,840188,471198,865226,367243,533268,208
Hautes-Alpes85,06784,93288,21089,275109,510115,522132,038
Haute-Saône209,303202,573212,829228,348267,011280,856347,989
Haute-Savoie293,852270,565259,961235,668263,803268,267269,513
Hautes-Pyrénées203,544201,954188,604185,760215,546225,861250,934
Haute-Vienne324,429336,313333,589350,235381,753372,878319,379
Haut-Rhin509,647471,705507,551468,943495,209 436,744
Hauts-de-Seine   467,391  
Hérault471,429461,100502,043488,215489,421461,651389,286
Ille-et-Vilaine586,812578,246565,766558,574613,567626,875574,618
Indre247,436252,075245,622260,535288,768292,868271,938
Indre-et-Loire364,706349,685343,276327,743335,541337,298315,641
Isère626,116574,019572,742525,522544,223572,145578,297
Jura220,202216,386220,797229,062261,179273,028313,199
Landes248,943248,395251,436263,937291,586297,842302,196
Loire654,482631,591650,226637,130647,633616,227472,588
Loire-Atlantique733,575665,064659,428649,691664,971645,263535,664
Loiret360,523346,918343,865337,224366,660377,718341,029
Loir-et-Cher239,824242,419240,908251,528275,538280,358261,892
Lot147,754154,897162,572176,889226,720253,885296,224
Lot-et-Garonne265,549265,449252,761239,972278,740295,360341,345
Lozère82,39190,52398,480108,822128,866135,527144,705
Maine-et-Loire518,241496,068477,690474,786515,431518,589516,197
Manche446,860435,468438,539425,512491,372513,815600,882
Marne415,141386,926410,238366,734432,729434,692373,047
Mayenne251,522256,317251,348262,447313,103332,387374,566
Meurthe-et-Moselle607,022528,805576,041503,810484,722444,150384,514
Meuse207,106188,786216,934207,309283,480292,253328,657
Morbihan520,978506,884542,248546,047563,468544,470478,172
Moselle769,388622,145696,246589,120564,829 525,593
Nièvre240,078248,559249,673270,148323,783343,581327,161
Nord2,098,5451,917,4522,022,1671,787,9181,867,4081,736,3411,158,885
Oise435,308396,724402,569387,760407,808401,835403,857
Orne274,862273,181269,331274,814326,937354,387439,869
Pas-de-Calais1,276,8331,168,5451,179,467989,967956,466874,364694,294
Puy-de-Dôme481,380478,876486,103490,560544,194564,266596,897
Pyrénées-Atlantiques420,019415,797413,411402,981426,347425,027446,997
Pyrénées-Orientales230,285228,776233,347217,503212,121210,125181,955
Rhône966,782918,8661,028,379956,566875,017806,737606,945
Saône-et-Loire511,182506,749525,676554,816620,360619,523574,720
Sarthe420,393412,214388,519389,235422,699429,737473,071
Savoie252,192235,939239,010225,034254,781263,297275,459
Seine-et-Marne453,438407,137409,311349,234358,325356,709345,076
Seine-Maritime941,684846,131915,628880,671853,883839,876762,039
Seine-Saint-Denis   307,329  
Somme464,153441,368467,479452,624536,773546,495569,341
Tarn308,197298,117297,871295,588332,093346,739363,073
Tarn-et-Garonne172,379167,664164,629159,559195,669206,596237,553
Territoire de Belfort99,42786,64899,49794,33892,30483,67057,403
Val-de-Marne   288,879  
Val-d'Oise   164,982  
Var413,012370,688398,662322,945326,384288,336290,214
Vaucluse268,318249,838245,508219,602236,949235,411264,618
Vendée395,641393,787389,211397,292441,311442,355383,734
Vienne319,208313,932306,820306,248336,343344,355317,305
Ville de Paris5,154,8344,775,7114,962,9674,411,6912,714,0683,141,5951,277,064
Vosges372,523342,315376,926383,684421,104410,196406,518
Yonne266,410266,014271,685273,118321,062334,688381,133
Yvelines1,708,7911,414,9101,413,472921,673270,228628,590617,785
Totals42,777,17440,502,51341,907,05639,209,51840,681,42238,333,19236,452,451

 

Bas-Rhin, Haut-Rhin, and Moselle were not part of France from 1871 to 1919.
Figures for Corse-du-Sud before 1976 represent Corse, which included present-day Corse-du-Sud and Haute-Corse.
Figures for Ville de Paris before 1964 represent Seine, which included present-day Ville de Paris and most of Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne.
Figures for Yvelines before 1964 represent Seine-et-Oise, which included present-day Essonne, Val-d'Oise, Yvelines, and small parts of Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, and Val-de-Marne.
Six other departments have changed their names during the period covered. See "Change history" for details.
1921 populations are from a table found at the Insee website.
1851 and 1901 census data are predominantly from Quid 1993, a French encyclopedic almanac. It shows proleptic populations for areas corresponding to the present-day boundaries of the departments.

Sources: 

  1. [1] Masson, Jean-Louis. Provinces, Départements, Régions. Paris: Éditions Fernand Lanore, 1984.
  2. [2] Rostaing, Charles. Les Noms de Lieux. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1945.
  3. [3] Territory and Administration in Europe. Robert Bennett, ed. Pinter Publishers, London and New York, 1989.
  4. [4] Fifth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. Vol. II. New York: United Nations, 1991.
  5. [5] Longman's Gazetteer, 1920.
  6. [6] Almanach Hachette 1971. Paris: Librairie Hachette, 1970.
  7. [7] Annuaire Statistique de la France 1990: résultats de 1989. Paris: Insee (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques), 1990.
  8. [8] Frémy, Dominique and Michèle. Quid 1993. Paris, Éditions Robert Laffont, 1992. Also 1973 edition.
  9. [9] Petit Larousse illustré. Paris, Librairie Larousse, 1976. Also 1913 edition.
  10. [10] Lang, Gérard. Le Code officiel géographique . Insee, Courrier des statistiques No. 108, 2003.
  11. [11] Populations légales ... . Insee (retrieved 2013-05-04).
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