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
Andlau is a French commune in the Bas-Rhin department in the Alsace region of northeastern France. The village owes its origin to Andlau Abbey, founded in 880 by Richardis, the empress of Charles the Fat. Andlau has been a wine-growing traveler destination since its earliest days; the inhabitants of the commune are known as Andlaviens or AndlaviennesThe commune has been awarded two flowers by the National Council of Towns and Villages in Bloom in the Competition of cities and villages in Bloom. Andlau is located some 40 km south by 20 km north of Selestat, it is a small town in the Canton of Barr located in the valley of the Andlau river in the foothills of the Vosges Mountains. The surroundings of Andlau town are the Vosges, including a summit, the Stosskopf, which attains a height of 700 metres; the surrounding communes include Mittelbergheim to the north-east, Eichhoffen to the east, Bernardvillé to the south, Le Hohwald to the north-west and Barr. The commune has an area of 23.69 km² and its highest point is towards the northern tip of Niederberg and rises to 807 metres.
Access to the commune is by the D62 road from Exit 13 on the A35 autoroute which goes west to the town. There is the D425 from just north of Eichhoffen going west to the village continuing west to Le Hohwald. West of the town the commune is forested with an extensive network of forest roads. East of the town there is a small area of farmland; the Andlau River: a small river which rises in the Vosges Mountains near the Champ du Feu, a mountain situated at the eastern end of the Ban-de-la-Roche. It flows from west to east through Andlau, Saint-Pierre, Zellwiller, Hindisheim and Fegersheim empties into the Ill downstream of Ill commune. Further upstream the waters of the Valff and the Kirneck used to power 60 mills and other factories until the 19th century, its course is about 45 km. Andelaha Andelelaha Andeloïa Andeloha Andelow Andeloa Andelow Andelach Andlau is a distortion of the word Andelaha from Andelaw or Andlaw. Andelaha could come from the original name of the river of which there are traces in old maps drawn in the 15th and 16th centuries.
The Andlau River is 42.8 km long and flows from the Champ du Feu to the Ill and is the origin of the name of the town. On 30 July 1857 Andlau was called Andlau-au-Val to distinguish it from that of Andelot in Haute-Marne. At the beginning of the 20th century the name became Andlau; the village undoubtedly existed in Gallo-Roman times. The village developed around the abbey of nuns founded in 880 AD by Richarde de Souabe, daughter of the Count of Alsace, known as Erchangar. Sainte Richarde the wife of Emperor Charles the Fat, grandson of Louis the Pious; the abbey was placed in Saint-Sauveur following the rule of Saint Benedict and received the protection of the Pope. It was allowed to raise money until 1004, it subsequently received many privileges. The Emperor Charles IV, in confirming it in 1347, declared the abbey free of all charges and contributions and granted to the abbess Adelaide de Geroldseck, her successors, the title of Princess of the Empire; the exact date of its secularization is not known but it is believed that it took place between the 12th and 14th centuries.
In addition to the charter from Emperor Charles IV many other anterior and posterior diplomas were granted to the abbey to confirm the privileges it had obtained or to give it new ones. The recipients were required to demonstrate sixteen Quarters of nobility without misalliance and the most illustrious families of Alsace and Germany vied for the honour of admitting their girls, they were not subject to a vow and could, when they wished, return to their families and marry. This abbey received from its inception an illustration that contributed to its prosperity and its status, it is known that the Emperor Charles the Fat was too weak to govern the vast empire, reunited under him by the death of his two brothers left in the care of the Empress Richarde, his wife. She had to advise Bishop of Vercelli. Courtiers, jealous of the authority of the bishop and the confidence, accorded him by the Empress, long meditated his ruin and found a way to turn the heart of the weak monarch to jealousy which piety, the eminent qualities of his wife, twenty-five years of happy marriage were powerless to stop.
Liutward was expelled from the court and the repudiated Empress retired to the monastery of Andlau. The legend of Saint Richarde was that she suffered the ordeal of fire and, dressed in a shirt coated with wax, was set fire in four places, she was not burned by the flames which were miraculously extinguished. In any case it was in this monastery that the wife of Charles the Fat ended her days in prayer and good works, she found a source of consolation in letters in which she wrote with great distinction several beautiful poems which have been preserved until now where she writes of her resignation and the purity of her soul. She was buried in a side chapel of the Andlau church. A century and a half she was canonized by Pope Leo IX, in Alsace, his homeland, came to bless Andlau's new church built by the Abbess Mathilde, sister of Emperor Henry III; the first references to the house of Andlau are in the 12th century which makes this family one of the oldest lines in France. The Andlau line forms 0.5% of the French nobility and their origins date back to the late Middle Ages so are considered old nobility – distinguished nobility or ancient nobility.
The nobles of Andlau may have given their name to the town. According to some sources, the Andlau family
Benfeld is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Grand Est in northeastern France. It is situated on the river Ill. In the nearby hamlet Ehl there is an archaeological site with the remains of the Gallo-Roman city Ellelum or Helvetum; the handsome 1846 synagogue survived the Nazi occupation. Communes of the Bas-Rhin department INSEE commune file
Balbronn 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 Balbronnaises. Balbronn is located 8 km south-west of Wasselonne. Access to the commune is by the D75 road from Westhoffen in the north which passes through the village and continues west through the commune south-west to Oberhaslach; the D275 goes from the village south-east to Bergbieten. The commune is farmland but with large forests north of the D75 in the west of the commune. Le Schleithal river flows south through the forests in the west and continues south through the commune to join the Bruche at Dinsheim-sur-Bruche; the Niedermattgraben rises near the village and flows south-east to join the Kehlbach east of Bergbieten. In his chronicle, Hertzog describes Balbronn as a Staettlin; the church is old. Inside it is a headstone from 1574 containing the remains of Jean de Mittelhausen and his wife Barbe Hufel. In the forests in the west of Balbronn there was once a village called Elbersforst, in a large clearing in the forest where there is now the Auberge d'Elemerforst.
A plaque indicates. Stones from the old village can still be seen above the restaurant patio; these are the old foundations of several buildings of what was called Elbersforst. Since 2007 this medieval town has been the subject of archaeological excavations. Elbersforst was part of Westhoffen. 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 The commune has many buildings and sites that are registered as historical monuments: A Jewish House at 47-48 Rue Balbach Farmhouses A Chateau at Rue du Chateau The Town Hall/School at 63 Place de la Mairie A Protestant School at 170 Place du Pasteur-Albert-Kiefer A Merchant's House at 29 Rue des Tonneliers A Forester's House at Elmersforst The commune has several religious buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments: A Synagogue at Rue des Femmes A Protestant Presbytery 173 Rue du Fossé.
The Presbytery contains 2 communion ewers. A Protestant Church at Place du Pasteur-Albert-Kiefer The Parish Church of Saint-Catherine at Rue de Westhoffen The church contains many items that are registered as historical objects: The Furniture in the Church A Chalice with Paten and Spoon A Painting: Saint Catherine A Eucharistic Cabinet A Baptismal font The main Altar 3 Stained glass windows A Monumental Cross The Interdenominational Cemetery at Rue de Westhoffen The Church and Cemetery of Balbronn; the Cemetery contains a Cemetery Cross, registered as an historical object. Louis Albert Kiefer, pastor from 1873 to 1913, the date of his death, author of the book: Die geschichte balbronn, 1894. Communes of the Bas-Rhin department Balbronn on the old National Geographic website Regional Directorate of the Environment, Sustainable development, Lodgings website Balbronn official website Balbronn on Lion1906 Balbronn on Google Maps Balbronn on Géoportail, National Geographic Institute website Balbronn on the 1750 Cassini Map Balbronn on the INSEE website INSEE
Artolsheim is a commune in the Bas-Rhin department in Alsace in northeastern France. Artolsheim has the distinction of being further from the sea than any other place in France; the Gulf of Genoa and the mouth of the River Scheldt are both 430 kilometres away. Employment opportunities in the village are limited; the traditional economic focus of the region is Sélestat some fifteen kilometres to the west. The river crossing of Marckolsheim with its associated locks and hydro-electric power station offer employment opportunities: many low-paid seasonal jobs are provided by the Europa-Park'theme park'. Communes of the Bas-Rhin department INSEE commune file
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
Altwiller 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 Altwillerois or Altwilleroises Altwiller is located some 20 km south of Sarreguemines on the German border and some 50 km north-east of Nancy; the commune is accessed by the D23 road running east from Vibersviller to the village continuing east to Harskirchen. The D153 road runs through the southern portion of the commune as it runs from the D39 road in the south-west north-east to Harskirchen; the western and northern borders of the commune are the borders between the Bas-Rhin and Moselle departments. As well as Altwiller village there is the hamlet of Chateau Bonnefontaine in the south of the commune; the Canal des Houllietes de la Satre passes along the southern border of the commune. The Rose stream passes near the village flowing west from Moselle to the Albe river forming the northern border of the commune; the northern part of the commune is farmland while the southern part is forested.
Fragments of vases and other Gallo-Roman pieces have been found at Bonnefontaine. The site is located on the salt route. In addition to the two annexes of Neuweyershof and the Bonnefontaine domain the village had in its vicinity a hamlet called Honkesen-Huntzen which has now disappeared. Altwiller was deserted in the 15th century and rebuilt a little in 1559 by Huguenots from Lorraine, it was destroyed again in 1635 by the Croatians became the property of Sarrewerden of Nassau-Saarbrücken with the capital of the Bailiwick of Harskirchen. The village returned to France in 1793. List of Successive Mayors of Altwiller In 2009, the commune had 422 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 many buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments: The commune has several religious buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments: The Protestant Church.
There are several items in the church that are registered as historical objects: The Organ The Furniture in the Church A Communion Ewer A Baptismal Ewer The Protestant Presbytery The Lutheran Presbytery The Cemetery at RD 23. The movable items in the cemetery are registered as historical objects. Communes of the Bas-Rhin department Altwiller on the old National Geographic Institute website Altwiller on Lion1906 Altwiller on Google Maps Altwiller on Géoportail, National Geographic Institute website Aiweiller on the 1750 Cassini Map Altwiller on the INSEE website INSEE