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.

now part of Grand Est
Bas-Rhin, Haut Rhin

now part of Nouvelle-Aquitaine

now part of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes
Allier, Cantal, Haute-Loire, Puy-de-Dôme

Bourgogne/Burgundy now part of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
Côte d'Or, Nièvre, Saône-et-Loire, Yonne

Bourgogne/Burgundy; Franche-Comté

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

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

now part of Grand Est
ArdennesAube, Haute-Marne, Marne

now part of Bourgone-Franche-Comté
Belfort, Doubs, Haute-Saône, Jura

Ardennes, Aube, Bas-Rhin, Marne, Haute-Marne, Haut-Rhin, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Meuse, Moselle, Vosges

Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Aisne, Somme, Oise

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

now part of Occitanie
Aude, Gard, Hérault, Lozère, Pyrénées-Orientales

now part of Nouvelle-Aquitaine
Creuse, Corrèze, Haute-Vienne

now part of Grand Est
Meuse, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, Vosges

now part of Occitanie
Aveyron, Gers, Haute-Garonne, Hautes-Pyrénées, Lot, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne

now part of Hauts-de-France
Nord, Pas-de-Calais

Lower Normandy:  Calvados, Manche, Orne

Upper Normandy: Eure, Seine-Maritime

Charente, Charente-Maritime, Corrèze, Creuse, Dordogne, Gironde, Landes, Lot-et-Garonne, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Deux-Sèvres, Vienne and Haute-Vienne

Ariège, Aude, Aveyron, Gard, Haute-Garonne, Gers, Hérault, Lot, Lozère, Hautes-Pyrénées, Pyrénées-Orientale, Tarn and Tarn-et-Garonne

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

now part of Hauts-de-France
Aisne, Oise, Somme

now part of Nouvelle Aquitaine
CharenteCharente-Maritime, Deux-Sèvres, Vienne

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

now part of Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes
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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