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This article is part of the series on
Administrative divisions of France

(incl. overseas regions)

(incl. overseas departments)

Urban communities
Agglomeration communities
Commune communities
Syndicates of New Agglomeration

Associated communes
Municipal arrondissements

Others in Overseas France

Overseas collectivities
Sui generis collectivity
Overseas country
Overseas territory
Clipperton Island

The 101 French departments are divided into 342 arrondissements,[1] which may be translated into English as districts.[2]

The capital of an arrondissement/district is called a subprefecture. When an arrondissement contains the prefecture (capital) of the department, that prefecture is the capital of the arrondissement, acting both as a prefecture and as a subprefecture.

Arrondissements are further divided into cantons and communes.

Role and administration

The administration of an arrondissement is assigned to a subprefect (French: [sous-préfet] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)) who assists the departmental prefect ([préfet] error: {{lang}}: text has italic markup (help)).

Unlike French regions, departments and communes, arrondissements do not have the status of legal entity in public law. In addition, unlike those other administrative divisions, they are not run by elected officials, but by political appointees, officials appointed by the French president.


The concept of arrondissements was proposed several times as an administrative reform during the Ancien Régime, notably by the intendant of the généralité of Brittany, Caze de La Bove, in his Mémoire concernant les subdélégués de l'intendance de Bretagne in 1775.

The arrondissements were created after the French Revolution by the Loi du 28 pluviôse in the year VIII of the Republican Calendar (17 February 1800) and replaced "districts". In certain periods in French history, they have served a role in legislative elections, especially during the Third Republic. In 1926, 106 arrondissements were suppressed by the government.[3][4] While it claimed it was to achieve fiscal savings, some political analysts considered the results electoral manipulation. Some of these suppressed arrondissements were restored in 1942.


Most departments have only three or four arrondissements. The departments of Paris and of the Territory of Belfort have only one, while the Moselle department has nine. Mayotte has none.


  1. Number of arrondissements per region on the official French Statistics organization INSEE
  2. André de Laubadère, Jean-Claude Vénézia, Yves Gaudemet, Traité de droit administratif, 12th edition, LGDJ, 1992, vol. 1, nr 168-169
  3. Nicolas Verdier, La réforme des arrondissements de 1926 : un choix d'intervention entre espace et territoire, online
  4. List of the arrondissements suppressed in 1926

See also

ar:دوائر إدارية فرنسية an:Destritos de Francia be:Акруга, Францыя be-x-old:Акруга (Францыя) ca:Districte francès ceb:Arrondissement cs:Francouzský arrondissement cy:Arrondissements Ffrainc es:Distritos de Francia eo:Arondismentoj de Francio eu:Barruti (Frantzia) fr:Arrondissement français fy:Arrondissemint (Frankryk) gl:Distritos de Francia hr:Okruzi Francuske id:Daftar arondisemen di Perancis it:Arrondissement francesi he:רובעי צרפת ku:Arrondissements lb:Arrondissement (Frankräich) mk:Окрузи во Франција nl:Arrondissement (Frankrijk) ja:フランスの郡 no:Frankrikes arrondissement nn:Arrondissement i Frankrike oc:Arrondiment francés pt:Arrondissements da França ro:Arondismentele Franței ru:Округа Франции simple:Arrondissements of France sk:Obvod (Francúzsko) fi:Ranskan arrondissementit sv:Frankrikes arrondissement uk:Округ (Франція) vi:Huyện của Pháp zh:区 (法国)