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
Avezan is a commune in the Gers department in southwestern France. Communes of the Gers department INSEE
Aussos is a commune in the Gers department in southwestern France. Communes of the Gers department INSEE
Arblade-le-Haut is a commune in the Gers department in southwestern France. Arblade-le-Haut is located in the arrondissement of Condom. Communes of the Gers department INSEE
Avensac is a commune in the Gers department in southwestern France. Communes of the Gers department INSEE
Barran is a commune in the Gers department in southwestern France. Barran is located on the river Baïse 15 km from the capital of Auch. Barran is a typical example of a bastide, those villages that were erected in Gascony in the late Middle Ages, it was founded by the end of the 13th century. It is well known in the region for the unusual helical shape of the tower of its church. Not in the village itself but still on the territory of the commune are several interesting places, like the castle of Mazères, the summer residency of the bishops of Auch and a military hospital during World War I. Close to the castle is the bridge of Mazères, built around the 16th century over the river Baïse. In the 19th century Barran was famous for its snails, from which special gums were made to prevent people from coughing. Before the migration movement from the countryside to the cities, Barran was quite populous, as was Gers, with up to 2,000 people on the eve of the First World War; the population began to fall but the trend has changed since the beginning of the'90s: nowadays around 700 people live in the commune, making it the 24th out of 476 communes by population.
All basic private and public services are to be found in the village. The proximity of Auch, the capital of the department, Toulouse, the regional capital, only 100 km to the east, as well as the current migration trend toward Southern Europe, should boost the further development of Barran. Communes of the Gers department INSEE
Auterive is a commune in the Gers department in southwestern France. Communes of the Gers department INSEE