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The Alan Rogers guide to the French Regions

In January 2016 France adopted 13 new administrative regions to reduce costs and bureaucracy

22 March 2023
Read time: 1m 28s

In January 2016, the Assemblée Nationale of France adopted 13 new administrative regions, down from the previous 22. The Parliament's aim was to reduce costs and simplify bureaucracy.

We pulled together this infographic to help explain the changes.

The Alan Rogers guide to the French Regions

Before the 13 new regions came into effect, the country was divided into 22 administrative areas. 

So what changed?

Six regions remained the as they were:

Seven new regions were formed:

What happened to the regional administrative centres where the regions changed?

Seven remained unchanged:

  • Rennes remained the capital of Bretagne
  • Ajaccio is still the capital of Corse
  • Orleans continues to be the Centre's capital
  • Île-de-France naturally has Paris as the administrative centre
  • Nantes is the capital of Pays de la Loire
  • Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur has Marseille as it's capital
  • Strasbourg was already made the capital of the Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine region in January 2015

The capitals for the updated regions are:

  • Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - Lyon
  • Normandie - Rouen
  • Hauts-de-France - Lille
  • Nouvelle Aquitaine - Bordeaux
  • Occitanie - Toulouse
  • Bourgogne-Franche-Comté - Besançon
  • Grand-EstStrasbourg

So why haven't these regions been applied to the Alan Rogers website?

These administrative regions shouldn't be confused with the traditional historical or cultural areas, which each have their own cuisine, character and traditions. 

We felt that the traditional regions are still better known by the British traveller; after all, if you're looking for a holiday in Limousin or Alsace, would you know to search for Nouvelle Aquitaine or Grand-Est?

10 Most searched for French regions in 2022:

  1. Aquitaine
  2. Brittany
  3. Normandy
  4. Vendee
  5. Provence
  6. Pays de la Loire
  7. Languedoc-Roussillon
  8. Val de Loire
  9. Côte d'Azur
  10. Rhône Alpes