The regions (Régions) are territorial collectives that do not have legislative autonomy, tough they have limited administrative and statutory powers. Each region has an elected Regional Council and a Regional Prefect (Préfet de région) named by the President of the French Republic.
The regions are subdivided in departments. The Prefect is the State's representative in a department and its chief executive and in charge of the Prefecture. The Prefects are appointed by a decree of the President of the Republic in the Council of Ministers, following the proposal of the Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior. They serve at the Government's discretion and can be replaced at any meeting of the Council. All departments have an elected General council (conseil général).
The overseas regions and departmes are empowered to make their own laws, except in certain areas (such as defense, international relations, trade and currency, and judicial and administrative law).
The arrondissements, a subdivision of a province are in charge of a subprefect and subprefecture.
The role of the canton is, essentially, to provide a framework for departmental elections. Each canton elects a person to represent it at the general council for the department, which is the principal administrative division of the French Republic.
The basic unit of local government is the commune that is administered by an elected Mayor (maire) and Municipal Council. The cities of Paris, Lyon and Marseilles are subdivide in municipal arrondissement in charge of local administration. The Council General of the three cities has functions of a department and commune and its members are elected directly by the municipal arrondissement. The General Council elects the Mayor, with the exception of Paris were a Delegate General and a Prefect of Police (Préfet de police) are named by the President of the Republic.
Regions of France
|Region||Capital||Number of departments||Area (km²)||Notes|
|Région parisienne (Île-de-France)||Paris||3||12,011|
|Pays de la Loire||Nantes||5||32,082|
|Algérie (Algeria)||Alger||3||399,991||Overseas region and departments|
|Antilles||Fort-de-France||2||2,884||Overseas region and departments. Includes Martinique, Guadeloupe, Saint-Martin, and Saint-Barthélemy|
|Guyane (French Guiana)||Cayenne||1||86,504||Overseas region and department|
|Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon||Saint-Pierre||1||242||Overseas region and department|
|La Réunion||Saint-Denis||1||2,512||Overseas region and department|
For the political and economical association of France with its noneuropean territories in Africa, Asia and Oceania see French Union.