Avolsheim is a French commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the Grand Est region of north-eastern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Avolsheimoises; the commune has been awarded one flower by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom. Avolsheim is located some 22 km west by 18 km north of Obernai. Access to the commune is by the D422 from Odratzheim in the north which passes through the centre of the commune and the town and continues south to Molsheim; the D127 goes east from the town to Dachstein. Apart from the significant sized urban area the commune is mixed farmland; the Bruche river flows north through the east of the commune and abruptly turns right near the northern border of the commune before continuing east to join a branch of the Rhine at Strasbourg. The Mossig river flows from the north-west forming the northern border of the commune before joining the Bruche; the first written record of the name of a village in the current commune dates from the year 788 and is called Hunzolfesheim.
It was found in 1051 spelled Avelsheim Afelsheim in 1350 with a dialectal form Âfelse. In 1496 it was written Afeltzheim and in 1589 Avelssheim again but with two "s". Since the village has had its present name and its spelling has not changed; the prefix offe was the origin of the name Avolsheim and therefore means "Open Town". It is possible that this name was given to the village since it was devoid of walls, which in the Middle Ages was rare. There is an old local saying in dialect: Es steht offe wie Âfelse suggesting that at one time the steeple at Avolsheim, which remained so long in ruins so was "open to the sky", that this could have been the origin of its name; this argument, with the previous one, are confirmed by the popular phrase, Fescht wie Landau un Offe wie Âfelse meaning "A Fort like Landau or open like Avolsheim". Avolsheim is located on the Gallo-Roman road linking Molsheim to Saverne. Many objects dating from this period were excavated in 1930. In the 10th century the area had two distinct hamlets: Avelsheim one hand, corresponding to the current village, Tumpfieter, Dompieter, or Domphietenheim, a village consisting of a group of a few farms and a mill located at a church called the Dompeter.
The last mention of this hamlet was in the 16th century. It died as a village by the end of the same century. For some historians doubt remains: it may have disappeared in the 17th century, its destruction following the Siege of Dachstein by the armies of Turenne. According to the papal bull of Leo IX in 1051 Avolsheim, including the Mont Sainte-Odile Abbey, was part of the possessions of the bishopric of Strasbourg. Avolsheim was put in vassalage to the Counts of Ostoffen to von Murnhart in 1384, remained with von Beger until 1521. From 1534 until the Revolution, the area was a fief of the dignitaries of the diocese; the village has been linked to the sub-prefecture of Molsheim since the Revolution. Avolsheim was once on the Sélestat to Saverne railway line before the section from Molsheim to Saverne was removed in 1967 and replaced with a bicycle path. List of Successive Mayors In 2010 the commune had 728 inhabitants; 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 communes that have a sample survey every year. Population change Sources: Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 The commune has many buildings that are registered as historical monuments: A Vineyard Farmhouse at 3 Rue de la Boucherie A Vineyard Farmhouse at 4 Rue de Dompeter The Audéoud House or Maison des Soeurs at 1 place de l'Ecole A Stonemason's House at 2 place de l'Ecole A Vineyard Farmhouse at 4 Place de l'Eglise A Guardhouse at 16 Rue de la Paix A Vineyard Farmhouse at 2 Rue de la Paix A Boatman's House at 5 Rue de la Paix A former Presbytery now Town Hall at 8 Rue de la Paix A Fisherman's House at 9 Rue de la Paix A Stonemason's House at 2 bis Rue Saint-Ullrich A Farmhouse at 5 Route du Vin Houses and FarmsOther sites of interestThe Avolsheim Dam was built in 1682 on the Bruche Canal, built by Vauban; this canal was used to transport blocks of sandstone to Strasbourg from quarries at Soultz-les-Bains and Wolxheim which were necessary for the construction of the Citadel of Strasbourg.
This dam enabled the keeping of the water level high enough to supply the canal located a little further down. The commune has two religious buildings that are registered as historical monuments: The Chapel of Saint-Ullrich; the original building dates back to the end of the 10th century. In 1774 the chapel was transformed to become the new church adopting the facade, seen today; the chapel consists of an original Tetraconch, the oldest still existing in Alsace located along the ancient Roman road in the foothills of the Vosges. Taking the form of a clover leaf covered by a dome, the chapel is surmounted by an unusual octagonal tower. In 1774 a church was built next to the chapel to replace the Dompeter, too far away; the church was demolished in 1911 because the building was too small. The central dome and mural paintings were revealed in 1968; the chapel contains two items that are registered as historical objects: A Monumental Painting An Altar (18
Bassemberg is a French commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the Alsace region of north-eastern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Bassembergeoises; the commune has been awarded one flower by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom. Bassemberg is located 12 km north-west of Sélestat; the commune covers 178 hectares and is divided into two distinct areas separated by the valley of Giessen: On the north side is the southern slope of the Honel with an altitude of 475 m at Scheibenberg and 615 metres further west. Its steep slopes are covered with old cultivated forests. On the south-west side the commune encroaches on the right bank of the Giessen towards Comte-Ban. Regular and a few steep slopes rise from 280 to 330 metres above sea level and are suitable for agriculture; the village is 280 metres above sea level at the foot of the slope of the Honel. Its location close to Giessen does not protect it from flooding of the river.
Access to the commune is by the D39 road from Villé]] in the north-east which passes through the commune and continues to Fouchy. The D97 from Neuve-Église passes through the south of the commune and continues to Fouchy; the Giessen river forms part of the southern border as it flows to the east through the village and continues east to join the Ill north of Muttersholtz. The commune lies in the coal basin of the valley of Villé. In 1361 the area became Bassemberg by the 18th century; the name may have come from an old German name Badubald meaning "the brave". Other interpretations may apply "der basse" meaning "wild boar": in this case a mountain boar. Bassemberg appears as Bassemtrery on the 1750 Cassini Map and does not appear at all on the 1790 version; the village was built in the Middle Ages on the ancient road connecting Villé to Saint-Dié-des-Vosges. The locality is mentioned for the first time in 1361 while it was in the hands of Frédéric de Cuntzmann de Hattstatt from a powerful Alsatian noble family.
The village was formed around a mill and a bridge over the Scheer d'Urbeis. A statement from 1453 mentions a forest without mentioning vast grasslands around which for centuries serve as pretexts for many lawsuits with the neighbouring villages of Lalaye, Charbes and Villé. After the end of conflicts that devastated the region Bassemberg adopted a regulation containing no less than 29 articles; this was in order to regulate rural policing and specified rights to the forest, the vines, the shepherds, the horses, pigs, chickens and dogs. It was so precise that "any individual, married or not, who wants to keep household shall, as a good citizen, submit to legal obligations otherwise he must leave the village". In the 19th century Bassemberg had a small Jewish community which did not exist at the census of 1784 but had 21 people in 1850. A synagogue was established in 1832. Thereafter the small community moved to Villé; the First World War transformed the life of the village, on the route of the "Londonbahn" that ran from June 1917 until the armistice of 11 November 1918.
There was a train station and a building that served as an arms and equipment warehouse to be carried on the front line at Bassemberg. On 24 November 1918, a child from Bassemberg, Emile Waechter, 9 years old, was the victim of a fatal accident on the road while playing on a wagon with friends. During the First World War the village lost 13 inhabitants; the village lost 12 inhabitants during the Second World War. 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 communes that have a sample survey every year. Population change Sources: Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 Bassemberg developed along the road from Villé to Lalaye; the buildings followed the shape of the village street in an S shape. Their placement took into account the presence of the river; the buildings located on the floodplain have placed their storerooms on the ground floor with the living areas on the first floor.
The houses have adopted the layout of Vosges type farms. The buildings are parallel to the street and, successively starting from the front: a gable wall, an arched entrance to the cellar, an access door to the house, an arched door to the barn, a stable door; some buildings date back to the 18th century. They are modest sized buildings. Due to lack of space they were joined in groups of two or three. Milestones; the southern part of the ancient forest of Honcourt Abbey was bordered by milestones in 1757 which served as a border between Bassemberg and Saint-Martin. On the boundary between Villé and Bassemberg there are four milestones from 1769 with the emblem of Villé. Second Empire Bench. At the exit from Bassemberg towards Fouchy on the left of the D39 is a bench in good condition from the Second Empire, it is one of five benches that were preserved in 1854 in the Val de Villé. They were erected in honor of the Empress Eugénie de Montijo; the commune has a number of buildings and sites that are registered as historical monuments: The Town Hall and School Buildings A Farmhouse at 53 Rue Principale This farmhouse contains a Tympanum, registered as an historical object.
A Farmhouse at 60 Rue Principale A Farmhouse at 62 Rue Principale A House at
Grand Est Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, is an administrative region in eastern France. It superseded three former administrative regions—Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine—on 1 January 2016, as a result of territorial reform, passed by the French legislature in 2014. Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine was a provisional name, created by hyphenating the merged regions in alphabetical order. France's Conseil d'État approved Grand Est as the new name of the region on 28 September 2016, effective 30 September 2016; the administrative capital and largest city is Strasbourg. The provisional name of the region was Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, formed by combining the names of the three present regions—Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine—in alphabetical order with hyphens; the formula for the provisional name of the region was established by the territorial reform law and applied to all but one of the provisional names for new regions. The ACAL regional council, elected in December 2015, was given the task of choosing a name for the region and submitting it to the Conseil d'État—France's highest authority for administrative law—by 1 July 2016 for approval.
The provisional name of the region was retired on 30 September 2016, when the new name of the region, Grand Est, took effect. In Alsace and in Lorraine, the new region has been called ALCA, for Alsace-Lorraine-Champagne-Ardennes, on the internet. Like the name Région Hauts-de-France, the name Région Grand Est contains no reference whatsoever to the area's history or identity, but describes its geographical location within metropolitan France. In a poll conducted in November 2014 by France 3 in Champagne-Ardenne, Grand Est and Austrasie were the top two names among 25 candidates and 4,701 votes. Grand Est topped a poll the following month conducted by L'Est Républicain, receiving 42% of 3,324 votes; the names which received a moderate amount of discussion were: Grand Est français, a term used to refer to the northeast quarter of Metropolitan France, although this term refers to a geographic region larger than just ACAL. The term has been used and topped the polls mentioned above. Grand Est Europe, a variant of Grand Est that alludes to the region being a gateway to Europe both through trade and since Strasbourg is home to several European institutions.
However, the name was mocked for. Austrasie, which refers to an historical region spanning parts of present-day northeast France, the Benelux, northwest Germany. Quatre frontières. Grand Est is the sixth-largest of the regions of France. Grand Est borders four countries—Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland—along its northern and eastern sides, it is the only French region to border more than two countries. To the west and south, it borders the French regions Hauts-de-France, Île-de-France, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. Grand Est contains ten departments: Ardennes, Bas-Rhin, Haute-Marne, Haut-Rhin, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Moselle, Vosges; the main ranges in the region include the Vosges to the Ardennes to the north. The region is bordered on the east by the Rhine. Other major rivers which flow through the region include the Meuse, Marne, Saône. Lakes in the region include lac de Gérardmer, lac de Longemer, lac de Retournemer, lac des Corbeaux, Lac de Bouzey, lac de Madine, étang du Stock and lac de Pierre-Percée.
Grand Est climate depends of the proximity of the sea. In Champagne and Western Lorraine, the climate is oceanic, with mild summers, but Moselle and Alsace climates are humid continental, characterized by cold winters with frequent days below the freezing point, hot summers, with many days with temperatures up to 32°C. Grand Est is the result of territorial reform legislation passed in 2014 by the French Parliament to reduce the number of regions in Metropolitan France—the part of France in continental Europe—from 22 to 13. ACAL is the merger of three regions: Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine; the merger has been, still is opposed by some groups in Alsace, a large majority of Alsatians. The territorial reform law allows new regions to choose the seat of the regional councils, but made Strasbourg the seat of the Grand Est regional council—a move to appease the region's politicians; the region has an official population of 5,555,186. The regional council has limited administrative authority concerning the promotion of the region's economy and financing educational and cultural activities.
The regional council has no legislative authority. The seat of the regional council will be Strasbourg; the regional council, elected in December 2015, is controlled by The Republicans. The elected inaugural president of the Grand Est Regional Council is Philippe Richert, the President of the Alsace Regional Council; the current president is Jean Rottner. The region has five tram networks: Strasbourg tramway Reims tramway Nancy Guided Light Transit Mulhouse tramway Saarbahn The region has four airports: EuroAirport Basel M
Altenheim is a French commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the Grand Est region of north-eastern France. It should not be confused with the German town of the same name, Neuried, in the state of Baden-Württemberg; the inhabitants of the commune are known as Altenheimois or Altenheimoises Altenheim is located some 10 km east by south-east of Saverne and 30 km north-west of Strasbourg. It can be accessed from five directions: from Furchhausen in the west by road D230, from Dettwiller in the north by road D112, from Littenheim in the east by road D151, from Saessolsheim in the south-east by road D230, from Wolschheim in the south by road D112. All these roads intersect in the village; the commune consists of farmland other than the village. The only waterway in the commune is the Drusenbach crossing the south-western corner and two small tributaries of this stream in the north of the commune. On 21 January 1945, an American B-17 bomber,the "Princess Pat" was hit by flak returning from a mission to Heilbronn and landed on its belly near the D230 road between Altenheim and Furchhausen.
List of Successive Mayors of Altenheim In 2009, the commune had 226 inhabitants. The evolution of the number of inhabitants is known through the population censuses conducted in the town since 1793. From the 21st century, a census of municipalities 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 commune has a large number of buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments: A House A House A House A House A House A House A House A House A Napoleanic Banc-Reposoir The Village Houses The commune has several religious buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments: A Wayside Cross at R. D. 112 A Wayside Cross at R. D. 112 / R. D. 151 A Wayside Cross at R. D. 112 A Wayside Cross at R. D. 112 A Wayside Cross at R. D. 230 A Wayside Cross at R. D. 230 A Wayside Cross at R. D. 230 The Chapel of la-Fête-Dieu The Church of Saint Lambert.
The Church contains many items that are registered as historical objects: A Funeral Monument of Marie-rose Schmitt and family A Funeral Monument of Maria Diss and Jean-Michel Klein A Funeral Monument of Marie-Odile Debs A Funeral Monument A Chalice with Paten A Statue: Saint Lambert A Neo-Gothic Chalice A Cross: Christ on the Cross 2 Confessionals A Baptismal font A Tabernacle A Monumental Cross A Cemetery Cross Communes of the Bas-Rhin department Altenheim on the old IGN website Altenheim on Lion1906 Altenheim on Google Maps Altenheim on Géoportail, National Geographic Institute website Altenheim on the 1750 Cassini Map Altenheim on the INSEE website INSEE
Altorf is a French commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the Grand Est region of northeastern France. The inhabitants of the commune are known as Altorfois or AltorfoisesThe commune has been awarded one flower by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom. A part of the Canton of Molsheim and its arrondissement, Altorf is located about 15 kilometres west of Strasbourg; the A352 National Highway runs from east to west across the southern portion of the commune but has no exit. Access to the commune is by road D392 which runs parallel but north of the highway and connects with Highway exit 8 to the east of the commune and west to Dorlisheim. Another access road is the D127 which comes from Jaegerhof just over the northern border south to the village continuing south to Griesheim-pres-Molsheim. There are a number of small country roads covering the commune. Most of the commune is farmland with some forests in the north-eastern portion; the Bras de la Bruches flows through the commune from west to east, through the village east to join the Muelbach and flows east under the name Altorfer Arm until it joins La Bruche river north of Eintzheim Airport.
In the north-east another waterway forms the north-eastern border of the commune. The only other hamlet in the commune is that of Forstoff north-east of Altorf village, it was known as Altum Coenobium in 787. The origin of the commune name Altorf is from the form Alt-dorf; the old spelling was still visible before the Second World War. However the spelling Altorf through Altorfium / Atorfium it is more to come from the Latin root altum. Climate in this area has mild differences between highs and lows, there is adequate rainfall year-round; the Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Cfb". Altorf is located on the ancient Roman via romana or Bergstrasse which connected Strasbourg to the strategic pass of Donon; the funerary steles of the 3rd century attest to a Roman presence. The village's history became intertwined with that of its Benedictine abbey, founded in 960 by Hugues III of Eguisheim called l'Enroue, Count of Nordgau and his wife Countess Hewilde, his father, Count Eberhard IV was buried in the abbey in 972, sealing the connection between the family and Altorf.
The abbey had was built following a cenobite community of monks called the Altum Coenobium, reported in 787, where the name of the abbey and village came from. Pope Saint Leo IX, son of the powerful empire family of Eguisheim-Dabo came to Altorf in 1049 to honor his ancestors, he endowed it with relics. The reliquary in oriental style represents a bust in polychrome wood and with the words notitia altorfensis is one of the major parts of the Abbey. Cyriac of Malaga, who had cured epilepsy of the daughter of the Emperor Diocletian in the 4th century, became the patron saint of the village and he is celebrated on 8 August. Altorf was a place of pilgrimage for epileptics and people possessed with demons with many healings reported in the abbey archives in the 13th century; the chapel was consecrated in 974, under the leadership of Maïeul, Bishop of Cluny, Erchembald, Bishop of Strasbourg. As with the abbeys of Steige and Marmoutier, the Altorf Abbey was successful because of its many dependencies.
The churches of Barembach and Grendelbruch, although remote, were incorporated into the abbey by a papal bull of 1192 from Pope Celestin III which involved in particular the attachment of tithes. In particular its properties along the right bank of the Bruche extending from the course of the Rothaine into the plain of Alsace were attached to the bishopric of Strasbourg in 1226, extinguishing the line of Eguisheim. In addition, the emperors gave the abbey the right to issue currency, from the Ottonian revival at the end of the 10th century; the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa explicitly recognized this right with a charter in 1153. In the 13th century however, this privilege was transferred to Dachstein Molsheim; the cultural influence of the abbey led to the establishment of a university, subsequently transferred to Molsheim in the Carthusian heartland there to be moved aside to form the University of Strasbourg. Economic and cultural power caused the shedding blood in Altorf in 1262 when the village and monastery were burned by the Strasbourgers who were in revolt against Bishop Walter de Geroldseck.
In 1525 there was the peasant revolt. A century during the Thirty Years War which included Swedish and French forces. In 1606, Altorf Abbey joined the Union of Bursfeld which included a hundred Benedictine monasteries and was in 1624 formally called the Benedictine Congregation of Strasbourg; the Peasants' epic struggle, which had originated from the Holy Roman Empire in 1524, crystallized in Lower Alsace around Altorf and Boersch. The leaders of the movement were Erasmus Gerber and Georg Ittel from Molsheim and Rosheim, established themselves with a group of 1500 men at their headquarters in Altorf, from where the contagion spread throughout the province in a week with their troops raiding monasteries and mistreating Jews. Father Nartz reported these events in his mo
Bas-Rhin is a department in Alsace, a part of the Grand Est super-region of France. The name means "Lower Rhine", geographically speaking it belongs to the Upper Rhine region, it is the more populous and densely populated of the two departments of the traditional Alsace region, with 1,121,407 inhabitants in 2016. The prefecture and the General Council are based in Strasbourg; the INSEE and Post Code is 67. The inhabitants of the department are known as Bas-Rhinoises; the Rhine has always been of great historical and economic importance to the area, it forms the eastern border of Bas-Rhin. The area is home to some of the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. To the north of Bas-Rhin lies the Palatinate forest in the German State of Rhineland-Palatinate, the German State of Baden-Württemberg lies to the east. To the south lies the department of Haut-Rhin, the town of Colmar and southern Alsace, to the west the department of Moselle. On its south-western corner, Bas-Rhin joins the department of Vosges.
The Bas-Rhin has a continental-type climate, characterised by cold, dry winters and hot, stormy summers, due to the western protection provided by the Vosges. The average annual temperature is 7 °C on high ground; the annual maximum temperature is high. The average rainfall is 700 mm per year. Established according to data from the Infoclimat station at Strasbourg-Entzheim, over the period from 1961 to 1990; this is the last French department to have kept the term Bas meaning "Lower" in its name. Other departments using this prefix preferred to change their names - e.g.: Basses-Pyrenees in 1969 became Pyrénées-Atlantiques and Basses-Alpes in 1970 became the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. The same phenomenon was observed for the inférieur departments such as Charente-Inférieure, Seine-Inférieure, Loire-Inférieure. Bas-Rhin is one of the original 83 departments created on 4 March 1790, during the French Revolution. On 14 January 1790 the National Constituent Assembly decreed: "- That Alsace be divided into two departments with Strasbourg and Colmar as their capitals.
In 1871 Bas-Rhin was annexed by Germany and became Bezirk Unterelsass in Reichsland Elsaß-Lothringen. Strasbourg, the chef lieu of Bas-Rhin is the official seat of the European Parliament as well as of the Council of Europe; the demography of Bas-Rhin is characterized by high density and high population growth since the 1950s. In January 2014 Bas-Rhin had 1,112,815 inhabitants and was 18th by population at the national level. In fifteen years, from 1999 to 2014, its population grew by more than 86,000 people, or about 5,800 people per year, but this variation is differentiated among the 517 communes. The population density of Bas-Rhin is 234 inhabitants per square kilometre in 2014, more than twice the average in France, 112 in 2009; the first census was conducted in 1801 and this count, renewed every five years from 1821, provides precise information on the evolution of population in the department. With 540,213 inhabitants in 1831, the department represented 1.66% of the total French population, 32,569,000 inhabitants.
From 1831 to 1866, the department gained 48,757 people, an increase of 0.26% on average per year compared to the national average of 0.48% over the same period. Demographic change between the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 and the First World War was higher than the national average. Over this period, the population increased by 100,532 inhabitants, an increase of 16.74%, compared to 10% nationally. The population increased by 9.23% between the two world wars from 1921 to 1936 compared to a national growth of 6.9%. Like other French departments, Bas-Rhin experienced a population boom after the Second World War, higher than the national level; the rate of population growth between 1946 and 2007 was 83.83%
Communes of France
The commune is a level of administrative division in the French Republic. French communes are analogous to civil townships and incorporated municipalities in the United States and Canada, Gemeinden in Germany, comuni in Italy or ayuntamiento in Spain; the United Kingdom has no exact equivalent, as communes resemble districts in urban areas, but are closer to parishes in rural areas where districts are much larger. Communes are based on historical geographic communities or villages and are vested with significant powers to manage the populations and land of the geographic area covered; the communes are the fourth-level administrative divisions of France. Communes vary in size and area, from large sprawling cities with millions of inhabitants like Paris, to small hamlets with only a handful of inhabitants. Communes are based on pre-existing villages and facilitate local governance. All communes have names, but not all named geographic areas or groups of people residing together are communes, the difference residing in the lack of administrative powers.
Except for the municipal arrondissements of its largest cities, the communes are the lowest level of administrative division in France and are governed by elected officials with extensive autonomous powers to implement national policy. A commune is city, or other municipality. "Commune" in English has a historical bias, implies an association with socialist political movements or philosophies, collectivist lifestyles, or particular history. There is nothing intrinsically different between commune in French; the French word commune appeared in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, for a large gathering of people sharing a common life. As of January 2015, there were 36,681 communes in France, 36,552 of them in metropolitan France and 129 of them overseas; this is a higher total than that of any other European country, because French communes still reflect the division of France into villages or parishes at the time of the French Revolution. The whole territory of the French Republic is divided into communes.
This is unlike some other countries, such as the United States, where unincorporated areas directly governed by a county or a higher authority can be found. There are only a few exceptions: COM of Saint-Martin, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe région. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Martin became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. COM of Wallis and Futuna, which still is divided according to the three traditional chiefdoms. COM of Saint Barthélemy, it was a commune inside the Guadeloupe region. The commune structure was abolished when Saint-Barthélemy became an overseas collectivity on 22 February 2007. Furthermore, two regions without permanent habitation have no communes: TOM of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands Clipperton Island in the Pacific Ocean In metropolitan France, the average area of a commune in 2004 was 14.88 square kilometres. The median area of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was smaller, at 10.73 square kilometres. The median area is a better measure of the area of a typical French commune.
This median area is smaller than that of most European countries. In Italy, the median area of communes is 22 km2. Switzerland and the Länder of Rhineland-Palatinate, Schleswig-Holstein, Thuringia in Germany were the only places in Europe where the communes had a smaller median area than in France; the communes of France's overseas départements such as Réunion and French Guiana are large by French standards. They group into the same commune several villages or towns with sizeable distances among them. In Réunion, demographic expansion and sprawling urbanization have resulted in the administrative splitting of some communes; the median population of metropolitan France's communes at the 1999 census was 380 inhabitants. Again this is a small number, here France stands apart in Europe, with the lowest communes' median population of all the European countries; this small median population of French communes can be compared with Italy, where the median population of communes in 2001 was 2,343 inhabitants, Belgium, or Spain.
The median population given here should not hide the fact that there are pronounced differences in size between French communes. As mentioned in the introduction, a commune can be a city of 2 million inhabitants such as Paris, a town of 10,000 inhabitants, or just a hamlet of 10 inhabitants. What the median population tells us is that the vast majority of the French communes only have a few hundred inhabitants. In metropolitan France just over 50 percent of the 36,683 communes have fewer than 500 inhabitants a