the regions of france

     With no fewer than 22 mainland regions to choose from, and between them covering 96 départements – the equivalent of an English county – deciding where to go can be a lengthy process. Admittedly, those 22 were reduced to 13 in 2016, but it didn't make the country any smaller.

The key thing is to decide what it is you want from your visit to France: if it's beaches, you obviously won't go to the Auvergne; if it's winter skiing, then Charente Maritime is highly unlikely to hit the spot.

What is fairly certain, however, is that whatever you come in search of, France is going to deliver; it's just a question of doing a bit of homework first.

This part of the website is intended to help you to do that, by providing a short analysis of each, its key features, how to get there, and what to see and do once you arrive.

But for everyone, there is one key element that says 'France' to each of us, some special we hold in our mind; it may be the food, simple or elegant and refined; it may be the wine, having lunch on a street terrace, lounging on a beach, walking among the mountains, visiting a local street market, a fresh morning croissant or pain au chocolat. For me it's a simple and refreshing lunch at some village bistro, sitting with the sun warming my back, dipping crusty bread in a tasty sauce and sipping a glass of the local vin de maison. Once I'm doing that, I feel that I have arrived. So, the point is, plan your journey so that you get to your key element as quickly as you can, for only then will you truly feel that your visit has begun.


Bas-Rhin, Haut Rhin


Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées Atlantiques


Allier, Cantal, Haute-Loire, Puy-de-Dôme


Côte d'Or, Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire, Yonne


Côtes d'Armor, Finistère, Ille-et-Villaine, Morbihan


Cher, Eure-et-Loire, Indre, Indre-et-Loir, Loiret, Loir-et-Cher


ArdennesAube, Haute-Marne, Marne


Belfort, Doubs, Haute-Saône, Jura

Ile de France 

Essone, Paris, Seine-et-Marne, Val d'Oise, Yvelines


Aude, Gard, Hérault, Lozère, Pyrénées-Orientales


Creuse, Corrèze, Haute-Vienne


Meuse, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, Vosges


Ariège, Aveyron, Gers, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, Lot, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne


Nord, Pas-de-Calais


Lower Normandy: Calvados, Manche, Orne

Upper Normandy: Eure, Seine-Maritime

Pays de la Loire

Maine-et-Loire, Mayenne, Loire-Atlantique, Sarthe, Vendée


Aisne, Oise, Somme


CharenteCharente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres, Vienne

Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur

Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône, Hautes-Alpes, Var, Vaucluse


Ain, Ardèche, Drôme, Haute-Savoie, Loire, Isère, Rhône, Savoie

Notwithstanding the administrative regions of France, there are a number of regions within regions that have evolved historically, and are arguably closer to the ethos of France than the bureaucratic impositions. These include the Ardennes, Quercy, the Brenne, Savoie, the Midi, Perigord, Provence and even that amorphous area known as Cathar Country (Le Pay Cathare).

In 2014, the French Parliament (the National Assembly and the Senate) passed a law that reduced the number of regions in Metropolitan France from 22 to 13.

The new regions came into effect on 1 January 2016.

Regions that changed
·         Burgundy and Franche-Comté will become BOURGOGNE-FRANCHE-COMTÉ
·         Aquitaine, Limousin and Poitou-Charentes will become NOUVELLE-AQUITAINE
·         Lower and Upper Normandy will combine as NORMANDIE
·         Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne and Lorraine will become GRAND EST
·         Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées will become OCCITANIE
·         Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy will become HAUTS-DE-FRANCE ·         Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes will become AUVERGNE-RHONE-ALPES   

Regions that remained unchanged are
Centre-Val de Loire
Île de France
Pays de la Loire
Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur 

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