Provinces of France
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The
Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french: link=no, Royaume de France) was a medieval and early modern monarchy in Western Europe. It was among the most powerful states in Europe and a great power from the ...
was organised into
province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...

province
s until the National Constituent Assembly adopted a more uniform division into
departments Department may refer to: * DepartmentalizationDepartmentalization (or departmentalisation) refers to the process of grouping activities into departments. Division of labour creates Expert, specialists who need :wikt:coordination, coordination. This ...
(''départements'') and
districts A district is a type of administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic na ...
in late 1789. The provinces continued to exist administratively until 21 September 1791. The provinces of France were roughly equivalent to the
historic counties of England The historic counties of England are areas that were established for administration by the Normans The Normans (Norman language, Norman: ''Normaunds''; french: Normands; la, Nortmanni/Normanni) were a population arising in the medieval Duch ...
. They came into their final form over the course of many hundreds of years, as many dozens of semi-independent
fief A fief (; la, feudum) was the central element of feudalism Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the histor ...
s and former independent countries came to be incorporated into the French royal domain. Because of the manner in which the provinces evolved, each had its own sets of
feudal Feudalism, also known as the feudal system, was the combination of the legal, economic, military, and cultural customs that flourished in Medieval Europe In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discov ...
traditions, laws, taxation systems and courts; the system represented an impediment to effective administration of the entire country from Paris. During the early years of the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consi ...

French Revolution
, in an attempt to centralise the administration of the whole country and to remove the influence of the
French nobility The French nobility (french: la noblesse française) was a privileged social class in France from the France in the Middle Ages, Middle Ages until its abolition on June 23, 1790 during the French Revolution. From 1808 to 1815 during the First F ...
over the country, the entirety of the province system was abolished and replaced by the system of departments in use today. In some cases, several modern
regions In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and planets. The first person to use the wor ...
or departments share names with the historic provinces; their borders may cover roughly the same territory.


List of former provinces of France

The list below shows the major provinces of France at the time of their dissolution during the French Revolution. Capital cities are shown in parentheses. Bold indicates a city that was also the seat of a judicial and quasi-legislative body called either a ''
parlement A ''parlement'' (), under the French Ancien Régime File:Prise de la Bastille.jpg, The ''Storming of the Bastille'' on 14 July 1789, later taken to mark the end of the ''Ancien Régime''; watercolour by Jean-Pierre Houël The Ancien Rég ...

parlement
'' (not to be confused with a
parliament In modern politics and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws and overseeing the ...
) or a ''conseil souverain'' (sovereign council). In some cases, this body met in a different city from the capital. #
Île-de-France , timezone1 = CET CET or cet may refer to: Places * Cet, Albania * Cet, standard astronomical abbreviation for the constellation Cetus * Colchester Town railway station (National Rail code CET), in Colchester, England Ar ...

Île-de-France
(
Paris Paris () is the Capital city, capital and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, most populous city of France, with an estimated population of 2,175,601 residents , in an area of more than . Since the 17th century, Paris ha ...

Paris
) #
Berry A berry is a small, pulpy, and often edible fruit In botany, a fruit is the seed-bearing structure in flowering plants (also known as angiosperms) formed from the ovary after flowering. Fruits are the means by which angiosperms dissem ...

Berry
(
Bourges Bourges () is a commune in central France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a country primarily located in Western Europe, consisting of metropolitan France and Overseas France, seve ...

Bourges
) #
Orléanais Orléanais () is a former province of France, around the cities of Orléans Orléans (;"Orleans"< ...

Orléanais
(
Orléans Orléans (;"Orleans"
(US) and
,
) #
Normandy Normandy (; french: link=no, Normandie ; nrf, Normaundie; from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, ...

Normandy
(
Rouen Rouen (, ; or ) is a city on the River Seine in northern France. It is the capital of the region of Normandy Normandy (; french: link=no, Normandie ; nrf, Normaundie; from Old French , plural of ''Normant'', originally from the word for ...

Rouen
) #
Languedoc Languedoc (; , ; oc, Lengadòc ) is a former province of France The Kingdom of France The Kingdom of France ( fro, Reaume de France, frm, Royaulme de France, french: link=no, Royaume de France) was a medieval and early modern monarchy ...

Languedoc
(
Toulouse Toulouse ( , ; oc, Tolosa ) is the Prefectures in France, prefecture of the Departments of France, French department of Haute-Garonne and of the larger Regions of France, region of Occitanie. The city is on the banks of the Garonne, River Garon ...

Toulouse
) #
Lyonnais The Lyonnais is a historical province of France which owes its name to the city of Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ; it, Lione, ) is the List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, third-largest city and second-largest ...

Lyonnais
(
Lyon Lyon or Lyons (, , ; frp, Liyon, ) is the third-largest city and second-largest urban area of France. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Rhône The Rhône ( , ; german: Rhone ; wae, Rotten ; it, Rodano ; frp, Rôno ; oc, ...

Lyon
) #
Dauphiné The Dauphiné (, ; ; oc, Daufinat or ; frp, Dôfenât or ; former English name: Dauphiny) is a Provinces of France, former province in Southeastern France, whose area roughly corresponded to that of the present Departments of France, departmen ...

Dauphiné
(
Grenoble Grenoble ( , ; , ''Grainóvol'', oc, Graçanòbol, ''Grasanòbol'') is the Prefectures in France, prefecture and List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, largest city of the Isère Departments of France, department in the Auverg ...

Grenoble
) #
Champagne Champagne (, ) is a French sparkling wine. The term ''Champagne'' can be used as a generic term for sparkling wine, but in the EU and some countries it is illegal to label any product ''Champagne'' unless it came from the Champagne wine region of ...
(
Troyes Troyes () is a commune and the capital of the department of Aube Aube () is a French department in the Grand Est region of north-eastern France. As with sixty departments in France, this department is named after a river: the Aube. Wit ...
) #
Aunis Aunis () is a historical Provinces of France, province of France, situated in the north-west of the department of Charente-Maritime. Its historic capital is La Rochelle, which took over from Châtelaillon-Plage, Castrum Allionis (Châtelaillon) th ...
(
La Rochelle La Rochelle (, , ; Poitevin-Saintongeais: ''La Rochéle''; oc, La Rochèla ) is a city on the south west coast of France and a seaport on the Bay of Biscay, a part of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the capital of the Charente-Maritime Departments of ...

La Rochelle
) #
Saintonge Saintonge may refer to: * County of Saintonge, a historical province of France on the Atlantic coast * Saintonge (region), a region of France corresponding to the historical province Places *Saint-Genis-de-Saintonge, a commune in the Charente-Mar ...
(Saintes, Charente-Maritime, Saintes) # Poitou (Poitiers) # Guyenne and Gascony (Bordeaux) # Burgundy (region), Burgundy (Dijon) # Picardy (Amiens) # Duchy of Anjou, Anjou (Angers) # Provence (Aix-en-Provence) # Angoumois (Angoulême) # Bourbonnais (Moulins, Allier, Moulins) # County of Marche, Marche (Guéret) # Brittany (Rennes) # Maine (province), Maine (Le Mans) # Touraine (Tours) # Limousin (province), Limousin (Limoges) # County of Foix, Foix (Foix) # Auvergne (province), Auvergne (Clermont-Ferrand) # Béarn (Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Pau) # Alsace (Strasbourg, ''conseils souverains'' in Colmar) # Artois (Arras, France, Arras) # Roussillon (Perpignan) # French Flanders, Flanders and French Hainaut, Hainaut (Lille, ''conseils souverains'' in Douai) # Franche-Comté (Besançon) # Lorraine and Barrois (Nancy, France, Nancy); Three Bishoprics, Trois-Évêchés (Three Bishoprics within Lorraine): Diocese of Metz, Metz, Diocese of Toul, Toul and Diocese of Verdun, Verdun # Corsica (Ajaccio, ''conseils souverains'' in Bastia) # Nivernais (Nevers) Areas that were not part of the Kingdom of France, though they are currently parts of Metropolitan France:


Arms

Partial display of historical provincial arms:


References


Further reading

* ''Les Provinces de la France'' by le Vicomte Olivier de Romanet, la Nouvelle Librairie Nationale, 1913. * ''Les Provinces au XVIIIe et leur division en départements de la France'' by Charles Berlet, Bloud, second edition, 1913.


See also

* Ancien Régime * Gallery of French coats of arms * Coat of arms * Heraldry * Royal Almanac {{DEFAULTSORT:Provinces Of France Former provinces of France, * Subdivisions of France