Departments of France
In the administrative divisions of France, the department is one of the three levels of government below the national level, between the administrative regions and the commune. Ninety-six departments are in metropolitan France, five are overseas departments, which are classified as regions. Departments are further subdivided into 334 arrondissements, themselves divided into cantons; each department is administered by an elected body called a departmental council. From 1800 to April 2015, these were called general councils; each council has a president. Their main areas of responsibility include the management of a number of social and welfare allowances, of junior high school buildings and technical staff, local roads and school and rural buses, a contribution to municipal infrastructures. Local services of the state administration are traditionally organised at departmental level, where the prefect represents the government; the departments were created in 1790 as a rational replacement of Ancien Régime provinces with a view to strengthen national unity.
All of them were named after physical geographical features, rather than after historical or cultural territories which could have their own loyalties. The division of France into departments was a project identified with the French revolutionary leader the Abbé Sieyès, although it had been discussed and written about by many politicians and thinkers; the earliest known suggestion of it is from 1764 in the writings of d'Argenson. They have inspired similar divisions in some of them former French colonies. Most French departments are assigned a two-digit number, the "Official Geographical Code", allocated by the Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques. Overseas departments have a three-digit number; the number is used, for example, in the postal code, was until used for all vehicle registration plates. While residents use the numbers to refer to their own department or a neighbouring one, more distant departments are referred to by their names, as few people know the numbers of all the departments.
For example, inhabitants of Loiret might refer to their department as "the 45". In 2014, President François Hollande proposed to abolish departmental councils by 2020, which would have maintained the departments as administrative divisions, to transfer their powers to other levels of governance; this reform project has since been abandoned. The first French territorial departments were proposed in 1665 by Marc-René d'Argenson to serve as administrative areas purely for the Ponts et Chaussées infrastructure administration. Before the French Revolution, France gained territory through the annexation of a mosaic of independent entities. By the close of the Ancien Régime, it was organised into provinces. During the period of the Revolution, these were dissolved in order to weaken old loyalties; the modern departments, as all-purpose units of the government, were created on 4 March 1790 by the National Constituent Assembly to replace the provinces with what the Assembly deemed a more rational structure.
Their boundaries served two purposes: Boundaries were chosen to break up France's historical regions in an attempt to erase cultural differences and build a more homogeneous nation. Boundaries were set so that every settlement in the country was within a day's ride of the capital of a department; this was a security measure, intended to keep the entire national territory under close control. This measure was directly inspired by the Great Terror, during which the government had lost control of many rural areas far from any centre of government; the old nomenclature was avoided in naming the new departments. Most were named after other physical features. Paris was in the department of Seine. Savoy became the department of Mont-Blanc; the number of departments 83, had been increased to 130 by 1809 with the territorial gains of the Republic and of the First French Empire. Following Napoleon's defeats in 1814–1815, the Congress of Vienna returned France to its pre-war size and the number of departments was reduced to 86.
In 1860, France acquired the County of Nice and Savoy, which led to the creation of three new departments. Two were added from the new Savoyard territory, while the department of Alpes-Maritimes was created from Nice and a portion of the Var department; the 89 departments were given numbers based on the alphabetical order of their names. The department of Bas-Rhin and parts of Meurthe, Moselle and Haut-Rhin were ceded to the German Empire in 1871, following France's defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. A small part of Haut-Rhin became known as the Territoire de Belfort; when France regained the ceded departments after World War I, the Territoire de Belfort was not re-integrated into Haut-Rhin. In 1922, it became France's 90th department; the Lorraine departments were not changed back to their original boundaries, a new Moselle department was created in the regaine
Ardillières is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Ardilliérois or Ardilliéroises Ardillières is located some 25 km south-east of La Rochelle and 20 km east of Châtelaillon-Plage. Access to the commune is by the D111 road from Ciré-d'Aunis in the west passing through the commune and the village and continuing to the east; the D208 road goes north-east from the village to join the D939 at Le Cher. The D205E2 goes north-west from the village to Le Thou. Apart from the village there are the hamlets of Les Perrieres, Toucherit and Bois des Mottes; the commune is farmland apart from a few small patches of forest. The southern portion of the commune is covered with a network of canals which link to the Charras Canal which crosses the south of the commune from west to east. List of Successive Mayors; the evolution of the number of inhabitants is known from the population censuses conducted in the commune since 1793.
From the 21st century, a census of communes with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants is held every five years, unlike larger towns that have a sample survey every year. Population change Sources: Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 The population of the town is young; the ratio of persons above the age of 60 years is lower than the national average and the departmental average. Unlike national and departmental allocations, the male population of the town is greater than the female population. Percentage Distribution of Age Groups in Ardillières and Charente-Maritime Department in 2009 Sources: Evolution and Structure of the population of the Commune in 2009, INSEE. Evolution and Structure of the population of the Department in 2009, INSEE; the commune has several sites and buildings that are registered as historical monuments: The Château d'Ardillières. There are two round towers; the 17th century lodging is surrounded by farm buildings of the same period and recent constructions.
The medieval cellar is remarkable. The Pierre Levée Dolmen The Pierre-Fouquerée Dolmen Other sites of interestThe Charras Canal A Mill, it contains a Lintel, registered as an historical object. A Wind Farm Rural cottages; the Church has a Bronze Bell, registered as an historical object. Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville, Squire of Iberville and Ardillières, founder of the Louisiana colony in 1700 where he built the Fort of Biloxi. Communes of the Charente department Ardillières on the National Geographic Institute website Ardillières on Lion1906 Ardillières on Google Maps Ardillières on Géoportail, National Geographic Institute website Ardillières on the 1750 Cassini Map Ardillières on the INSEE website INSEE
Barzan is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of south-western France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Barzanaises; the commune is the site of a major Gallo-Roman site of Barzan structured excavations carried out since 1994. Aerial photographs and the first archaeological excavations have revealed the presence of a Gallo-Roman port city of great importance. Other remains are the subject of annual excavations, it seems certain that this Gallo-Roman town is the Novioregum indicated in the Antonine Itinerary. It could be the Portus Santonum described by Ptolemy. Barzan is located some 30 km south-west of Saintes and 15 km south-east of Royan in the former province of Saintonge. Access to the commune is by the D145 road from Meschers-sur-Gironde along the coast to the north-west which passes through the commune and continues south-east to Saint-Fort-sur-Gironde; the D114 goes north to Arces. Apart from the village there are the hamlets of Barzan Plage, Chez Grenon, Les Monards - a small port, Chez Garnier, Les Grandes Mottes Gachin, Les Maisons Neuves.
In the south-west the commune borders the Atlantic Ocean where there is a small beach resort built in the 1960s. The Riviere de Chauvignac flows south outside the eastern border to join the Ruisseau de Désir which forms the eastern border of the commune as it flows south to join the Riviere de Chauvignac to form the Monards Channel at Les Monards which connects to the sea; the commune is located in the heart of a region of limestone hills overlooking the Gironde estuary. The Littoral zone extends from the Bay of Chant-Dorat, west of the commune, to the Monards Channel in the south, consists of an alternation of muddy intertidal zones and Limestone cliffs which are eroded and are termed dead zones in the southern part of the commune; this term is explained by the gradual retreat of the shoreline and the partial silting of the estuary at this point leaving the cliffs, once battered by the waves, several hundred metres from the waters of the estuary, in the middle of the swampy areas. This type of landscape, found near Mortagne-sur-Gironde, marks the beginning of what is sometimes called the Charente Camargue.
In the north-west the Caillaud cliffs mark the border with the commune of Talmont-sur-Gironde. The commune has a forest covering the valley of Font Vielle; the landscape is marked by the cultivation of cereals, - wheat and maize - as well as vineyards: the vines that cover the hillsides are used in the production of cognac and for the production of Charentais Wine. The name Barzan comed from the Latin Barisiacum from the Gallo-Roman anthroponym Barisii with the Gallo-Roman suffix -acum indicating ownership transformed into the Latin suffix -anum. In the Middle Ages the village was called Barlan Balzan; when the village became a commune the name Barzan was used. Barzan appears as the same on the 1790 version; the commune was inhabited early, at least from Neolithic times, evidenced by the discovery of numerous traces in various parts of the commune near the hill of La Garde which overlooks the Gironde estuary. In 1877 Eutrope Jouan, a local historian, reported the uncovering of fragments of polished axes and arrowheads.
This discovery would be confirmed a century in 1970, by remnants of ceramics attributed to the Matignons and the Peu-Richardiens. Layers of ash and stone fireplaces were found nearby and the presence of a cemetery a few metres from the site showed proof of the presence of a habitat there in about 3500 years BC. In 1975 an aerial survey by Jacques Dassié confirmed the discoveries and showed the presence of fortifications around the camp: these being composed of ditches and chicane type entrances, an ingenious device dangerously exposing any potential attackers. Two other more recent prehistoric sites have been discovered in the commune dating from the Bronze Age: one near the Fa mill and one on the north-east side of the La Garde hill near the Piloquets locality; the latter was discovered in 1980 during vine planting when it was revealed including several bronze axes dated about 1800 BC which are on display at the Museum of Royan. Around the 7th century BC Saintonge was inhabited by people of Celtic origin: the Santones.
They first established their capital at Pons Saintes. The Santones built their main sanctuary on a hill overlooking the Gironde estuary, they founded the town, the embryo of the Roman city which emerged at this place a few centuries later. Recent aerial surveys have revealed traces of two other Celtic temples located on the La Garde hill. An excavation undertaken under the direction of Karine Robin from 1996 to 2002 helped to uncover Gallic and Hispanic ceramics dating from the 5th century BC which indicates the presence of a port at this time; the fact that Saintonge was located on one of the routes for the tin trade, a active trade between the British Isles and the Mediterranean Sea at that time, suggests the possibility of the transit of this essential raw material for the manufacture of bronze through the port of this ancient city and explains the relative prosperity of the city before the establishment of the Roman domination. The province of the Santons was invaded by the Romans in 58 BC.
This was the beginning of a golden age for its capital, Mediolanum Santonum which became the first capital of the Roman province of Gallia Aquitania. The city of Novioregum was then
Allas-Bocage is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Allasiens or Allasiennes Allas-Bocage is located some 5 km north-east of Mirambeau and 40 km south by south-west of Cognac, it can be accessed by the minor D151 road running off the D730 in the south-west and continuing north-east through the commune to the village north to Jonzac. The D153 road goes from Nieul-le-Virouil in the north-west through the commune north of the village and continues to join the D19 highway in the east; the D50 road from Nieul-le-Virouil passes through the western part of the commune going south to Soubran. There are three hamlets in the commune apart from the village: Le Pain, Le Maine-Neuf, Berceleu; the commune is farmland with forests along the eastern border. The Tarnac river forms the western border of the commune and an unnamed stream forms much of the southern border of the commune flowing west to join the Ruisseau de Fanioux to form the Tarnac river.
The Etang d'Allas is an elongated lake which forms the north-eastern border of the commune and the stream that flows out of the lake forms the northern border before joining the Maine in the north. List of Successive Mayors The population of the commune is old; the ratio of persons above the age of 60 years was higher than the national rate while being less than the departmental average. As with the national and departmental ratios, the female population of the commune is higher than the male population; the rate is higher than the national rate. The distribution of the population of the commune by age groups was, in 2009, as follows: Percentage Distribution of Age Groups in Allas-Bocage and Charente-Maritime Department in 2009 Sources: Evolution and Structure of the population of the Commune in 2009, INSEE. Evolution and Structure of the population of the Department in 2009, INSEE; the Church of Saint Martin is a Romanesque building, registered as an historical monument. It contains four items listed as historical monuments since 5 December 1908: A Tombstone A Bronze bell in the small bell tower.
A Stoup carved on three sides with angels, the sun, a gable. A Baptismal font Communes of the Charente-Maritime department Cantons of the Charente-Maritime department Arrondissements of the Charente-Maritime department Allas-Bocage on the old IGN website Allas-Bocage on Lion1906 Allas-Bocage on Google Maps Allas-Bocage on Géoportail, National Geographic Institute website Allas Boccage on the 1750 Cassini Map Allas-Bocage on the INSEE website INSEE
Allas-Champagne is a French commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Allasiens or Allasiennes Allas-Champagne is located in the south of the department of Charente-Maritime in the former province of Saintonge some 10 km north-east of Jonzac and 5 km south-east of Archiac, it can be accessed by road D250 which comes east from the D699 linking Jonzac and Archiac through the village and continuing east as the D250E1 to Brie-sous-Archiac. There is the D149 which comes from Archiac in the north passing thorough the heart of the commune and the village and continuing south to join the D2 road west of Meux. Apart from the village there are three hamlets in the commune: Godais, Chez Gondre, La Valade; the commune consists of farmland with the exception of a few small patches of forest in the south. The Trefle river flows west through the south of the commune forming part of the southern border before continuing westwards to join the Seugne near Saint-Grégoire-d'Ardennes.
A small unnamed stream rises in the north of the commune and flows west south to join the Trefle. List of Successive Mayors The population of the commune is old; the ratio of persons above the age of 60 years is higher than the national rate while being less than the departmental rate. Unlike national and departmental averages the male population of the town is greater than the female population. Percentage Distribution of Age Groups in Allas-Champagne and Charente-Maritime Department in 2009 Sources: Evolution and Structure of the population of the Commune in 2009, INSEE. Evolution and Structure of the population of the Department in 2009, INSEE. A public kindergarten is located in the centre of the village; the Church of Saint-Didier from the 12th century. Jonzac Fontaines-d'Ozillac Clion-sur-Seugne Pons Montendre Cognac Angoulême Aerodrome of Royan-Médis Communes of the Charente-Maritime department Allas-Champagne on the National Geographic Institute website Allas-Champagne on Lion1906 Allas-Champagne on Google Maps Allas-Champagne on Géoportail, National Geographic Institute website Allas-Champagne on the 1750 Cassini Map Allas-Champagne on the INSEE website INSEE
Beauvais-sur-Matha is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region in southwestern France. Communes of the Charente-Maritime department INSEE
Annepont is a commune in the Charente-Maritime department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of southwestern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Annepontois or Annepontoises Annepont is located some 15 km south-west of Saint-Jean-d'Angely and 13 km north of Saintes; the A10 autoroute has no exit in or near the commune. Access to the commune is by the D127 from Taillebourg to the south-west passing through the village and continuing north to Mazeray; the D230 road goes east from the village to Juico. The D231 passes through the south of the commune forming part of the southern border and continues to Écoyeux to the south-east; the commune has extensive forests in the east covering some 40% of the land area with the rest of the commune farmland. The Ruisseau de la Blanchardiere rises in the east of the commune and flows west joining with numerous other streams. Toponymists do not mention an old form for this place name so that the etymology of Annepont remains hypothetical. Albert Dauzat saw a compound of the elements Anna, a Germanic personal name, followed by the Gallo-Roman Ponte meaning "bridge".
Ernest Nègre agreed on the nature of the second element -pont but interpreted the first in a radically different way: it is the local term asne meaning "humpbacked" - i.e. "humpbacked bridge". N. B.: There is a Germanic personal name Anna, unrelated to the Hebrew personal name Hanna. This anthroponym is an hypocoristic Germanic anthroponym beginning with the element Arn-; the final a rather indicates a Saxon origin. This hypothesis is supported by the existence of a number of place names in the region so the first element could be a Saxon anthroponym. In addition, archaeological excavations confirm the presence of Saxons in the region; this far south a compound structure is expected rather than the Romanesque *Pontanne but Annepont is more reminiscent of a toponymic type of northern France marked by Germanic influence and made from a Germanic anthroponym as for Radepont, Hubertpont, etc. The solution advocated by Ernest Nègre, if possible phonetically, is more hypothetical inasmuch as an ancient form of the type *Asnepont is required.
List of Successive Mayors The population of the commune is old. The proportion of persons above the age of 60 years is higher than the national rate while being less than the departmental rate. Like the national and departmental allocations, the female population of the commune is higher than the male population; the rate is of the same order of magnitude as the national rate. Percentage Distribution of Age Groups in Annepont and Charente-Maritime Department in 2009 Sources: Evolution and Structure of the population of the Commune in 2009, INSEE. Evolution and Structure of the population of the Department in 2009, INSEE; the Logis of Maine-Moreau, located in the Annepont countryside, is registered as an historical monument. The Church of Saint-André is registered as an historical monument; the Romanesque church is located on a promontory and distinguished by a gate without a tympanum surrounded by Corinthian capitals and its ornamented chevet beautifully executed. Old houses surrounding the building give a special character to the whole.
Taillebourg 2.7 km Saint-Savinien 6 km Saint-Hilaire-de-Villefranche, Brizambourg 6.3 km Saintes 10.6 km Saint-Jean-d'Angely 13.6 km Rochefort-St-Agnant 28.9 km Cognac 31 km Royan-Medis Aerodrome 36.6 km Communes of the Charente-Maritime department Annepont on the National Geographic Institute website Annepont on Lion1906 Annepont on the 1750 Cassini Map Annepont on the INSEE website INSEE