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New Regions of France

      New regions of France

After months of debate, resistance, changes, and much reshuffling, France is planning to reduce it’s regions from 22 down to 13.

Adopted by the Assemblée Nationale, the lower house of the French Parliament, on December 17th, 2014, the new regional plan won’t be rolled out until 2016.

France's system of government is so complex; it’s often compared to a "mille-feuille" or a multi-layered puff pastry.  President Francois Hollande argues the change will simplify bureaucracy and cut costs which will help France meet its deficit reduction goals.

Opinion polls show most French people support the new map, although some regions with distinct identities and cultural traditions fiercely oppose the changes.  More than a thousand people demonstrated in Strasbourg against the proposed merger of Alsace with neighbouring Lorraine and Champagne-Ardenne.

What will change?

Six of the existing regions will remain exactly the same:  

Île-de-France, Bretagne, Corse, Centre, Pays de la Loire and 
Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur.


The others will be combined as follows:

  • Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine
  • Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes
  • Auvergne and Rhône-Alpes
  • Bourgogne and Franche Comté
  • Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées
  • Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardie
  • Basse-Normandie and Haute-Normandie

What happens to departments?

Each region is divided into departments.  The current departments remain unchanged for the moment, however the reform provides that any department can change regions under the droit d’option.  This can be done voluntarily by a department that decides to attach itself to another region anytime between 2016 and 2019. 

So, watch this space as the map of France could continue to change over the coming years. 


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