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
Nîmes is a city in the Occitanie region of southern France. It is the capital of the Gard department. Nîmes is located between the Cévennes mountains; the estimated population of Nîmes is 151,001. Dubbed the most Roman city outside Italy, Nîmes has a rich history dating back to the Roman Empire when the city was a regional capital, home to 50,000–60,000 people. Several famous monuments are in Nîmes, such as the Maison Carrée; because of this, Nîmes is referred to as the French Rome. The city derives its name from that of a spring in the Roman village; the contemporary coat of arms of the city of Nîmes includes a crocodile chained to a palm tree with the inscription COL NEM, for Colonia Nemausus, meaning the "colony" or "settlement" of Nemausus, the local Celtic god of the Volcae Arecomici. Veterans of the Roman legions who had served Julius Caesar in his Nile campaigns, at the end of fifteen years of soldiering, were given plots of land to cultivate on the plain of Nîmes; the city was located on the Via Domitia, a Roman road constructed in 118 BC which connected Italy with Spain.
Its name appears in inscriptions in Gaulish as dede matrebo Namausikabo = "he has given to the mothers of Nîmes" and "toutios Namausatis" = "citizen of Nîmes". The site on which the built-up area of Nîmes has become established in the course of centuries is part of the edge of the alluvial plain of the Vistrenque River which butts up against low hills: to the northeast, Mont Duplan; the Neolithic site of Serre Paradis reveals the presence of semi-nomadic cultivators in the period 4000 to 3500 BC on the future site of Nîmes. The population of the site increased during the thousand-year period of the Bronze Age; the menhir of Courbessac stands near the airstrip. This limestone monolith of over two metres in height dates to about 2500 BC, must be considered the oldest monument of Nîmes; the Bronze Age has left traces of villages that were made out of huts and branches The Warrior of Grezan is considered to be the most ancient indigenous sculpture in southern Gaul. The hill named. During the third and 2nd centuries BC a surrounding wall was built, closed at the summit by a dry-stone tower, incorporated into the masonry of the Tour Magne.
The Wars of Gaul and the fall of Marseille allowed Nîmes to regain its autonomy under Rome. Nîmes became a Roman colony sometime before 28 BC, as witnessed by the earliest coins, which bear the abbreviation NEM. COL, "Colony of Nemausus"; some years a sanctuary and other constructions connected with the fountain were raised on the site. Nîmes was under Roman influence, though it was Augustus who made the city the capital of Narbonne province, gave it all its glory, it was known as the birthplace of the family of Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius. The city had an estimated population of 60,000 in the time of Augustus. Augustus gave the town a ring of ramparts reinforced by fourteen towers. An aqueduct was built to bring water from the hills to the north. Where this crossed the River Gard between Uzes and Remoulins, the spectacular Pont du Gard was built; this is 20 kilometres north east of the city. The Maison Carrée is one of the best preserved temples to be found anywhere in the territory of the former Roman Empire.
Nothing remains of some other monuments, the existence of, known from inscriptions or architectural fragments found in the course of excavations. It is known that the town had a civil basilica, a curia, a gymnasium and a circus; the amphitheatre dates from the end of the 2nd century AD and was one of the largest amphitheatres in the Empire. Emperor Constantine endowed the city with baths, it became the seat of the chief administrative officer of southern Gaul. The town was prosperous until the end of the 3rd century – during the 4th and 5th centuries, the nearby town of Arles enjoyed more prosperity. In the early 5th century the Praetorian Prefecture was moved from Trier in northeast Gaul to Arles; the Visigoths captured the city from the Romans in 473 AD. After the Roman period, in the days of invasion and decadence, the Christian Church established in Gaul since the 1st century AD, appeared to be the last refuge of classical civilization – it was remarkably organized and directed by a series of Gallo-Roman aristocrats.
However, when the Visigoths were accepted into the Roman Empire, Nîmes was included in their territory after the Frankish victory at the Battle of Vouillé. The urban landscape went through transformation with the Goths, but much of the heritage of the Roman era remained intact. By 725, the Muslim Umayyads had conquered the whole Visigothic territory of Septimania including Nîmes. In 736-737, Charles Martel and his brother led an expedition to Septimania and Provence, destroyed the city, including the amphitheatre, thereafter heading back north; the Muslim government came to an end in 752. In 754, an uprising took place against the Carolingian king, but was put down, count Radulf, a Frank, appointed as master of the city. After the events connected with the war, Nîmes was now only a shadow of the opulent Roman city it had once been; the local authorities installed themselves in the remains of the amphitheatre. Car
Mende is a commune and prefecture of the department of Lozère and of the region of Occitanie in southern France. Its inhabitants are called the Mendois; the city, including the first traces of dwellings date back to 200 BC, was named Mimata in reference to the mountains that surround it. Mende is located between Clermont-Ferrand and Montpellier, but on the axis of Lyon - Saint-Étienne - Albi - Toulouse; the other important nearby towns are Aurillac and Saint-Flour, Le Puy-en-Velay, Millau and Alès and Nîmes. Though Mende remains a sparsely populated city, it remains the most important of the Lozère Department. In addition, it is the city-centre of the unique urban area of this department, it is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mende. Mende is situated in the high valley of the Lot, in a mountainous area, in the Pays du Gévaudan, the Rieucros stream joins to it on its right bank; the city is overlooked by its black pine forest. Access is by the Côte de la Croix Neuve. On the right bank, residential areas extend over different causses, including the Causse d'Auge.
Located on the axis of Lyon-Toulouse, the city has long been a commercial crossroads between the Auvergne and the Languedoc. The commune is bordered by Chastel-Nouvel to the north, Badaroux to the east, Lanuéjols to the southeast and Saint-Bauzile to the south, Balsièges to the southwest, Barjac and Servières to the west. Mende is one of the "gateway cities" for the site of the Causses and Cévennes, of world heritage by UNESCO under the inscription "Les Causses and Cevennes, Mediterranean agro-pastoral cultural landscape". According to the ranking established by INSEE in 1999, Mende is an urban commune without suburbs at the centre of an urban area composed of several rural communes, the only one in the department of Lozère; the town of Mende is built within the area of the Grands Causses. The region of the Causses in Lozère is one of the four natural regions of Lozère, with the Margeride, the Aubrac and the Cévennes; the city is nestled in the middle of different Causses. However, over the 20th century, urbanisation began to extend beyond these limits.
Of the Causses, Mont Mimat is the most significant. The causse is overhung by the Cross of Saint Privat. A first wooden cross was planted in 1900 or 1907, it was replaced a few years on 8 July 1933, a Jubilee year, by a 12.5 metres -high iron cross. Until 1945, this cross was the place of large gatherings in honour of Mendois soldiers; this cross has been illuminated since the summer of 1965. The mount houses the chapel where Privat, the martyr of the Gévaudan, withdrew to. At its foot lies the area of Vabre where can be found the first remains of houses in the city. Opposite this is the Causse d'Auge and the Causse du Crouzet, the Margeride mountains beyond. To the west is Causse de Changefège, located between Mende and Barjac, which complements the borders of the city; the geology of the city of Mende is dependent on the surrounding causses and streams that pass through them. The Mont Mimat and the Causse de Changefège are composed of limestone of the "Grands Causses", thus presenting abrupt edges.
The other causses are composed of limestone of the "Petits Causses". The Lot Valley is composed of marl; the Valdonnez Valley, in the south of Mende, is full of blue marl, leaving one to presuppose that the marl of the town of Mende would be, in part, of the same origin. The various streams of the causses of the north of the city are lined by mica-schist; the city of Mende was built on the banks of the Lot. But the Lot is not the only presence of water in the city: Indeed, it has several sources, including those of Mont Mimat; the most significant of them is located in the Vabre district, close to the first houses. These sources have often been channeled and feed the underground water system of the city, visible on the surface through numerous fountains and the old wash house; the streets, such as the Rue du Torrent, attest to the passage of water from Mont Mimat. To the north, on the other side of the Lot, the sources are much more distant, but water is present in the stream known as Rieucros.
Mende is subject to an oceanic stream that comes from the Aubrac and Mediterranean and flows from the Cévennes. The department of Lozère, Mende in particular, benefit from insolation similar to that of Toulouse with 2,069 hours of sunshine per year; the city, away from the mountains that surround it, has a more protected climate than the highlands of Gévaudan: So, average temperatures oscillate between 13 °C and 18 °C. With respect to annual precipitation, data for the Lozère is between 600–1,800 millimetres, depending on the exposure of the regions, with up to 50 days of snow per year. Between 1971 and 2000, monthly rainfall ranged from 90 millimetres. In more detail, here are some statements in Mende records since 1985: Mende is located in the centre of the Lozère department and therefore centralises the roads; the city has rail and air access, but the Lot is not navigable as with all the rivers of the department. Mende is located on the Route Nationale 88, linking Toulouse; the road comes from Balsièges to t
Haute-Loire is a department in south-central France named after the Loire River. Haute-Loire is part of the current region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and is surrounded by the departments of Loire, Ardèche, Lozère, Puy-de-Dôme; the inhabitants of the department are called Altiligériens. The department covers the upper reaches of the Loire and consists of the Loire Valley and the surrounding mountains in the Massif Central, it is one of the original 83 departments of France created in 1790 during the French Revolution. Parts of the department are included in the Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park; the first known inhabitants of this region were hunter-gatherers and it was occupied by pastoralists, shepherds living in caves or simple huts. It came under the control of a Gaulish tribe called Vellavi and at the time of Julius Caesar's Gallic Wars, this area lay on the border of Gallia Narbonensis; the area became a Roman province in 121 BC under the name Gallia Transalpina. The name distinguished it from Cisalpine Gaul on the near side of the Alps to Rome.
In 40 BC, during the Second Triumvirate, Lepidus was given responsibility for Narbonese Gaul, while Mark Antony was given the balance of Gaul. The area was ravaged by barbarian invasions in the last years of the Roman Empire, Galla Narbonensis and surrounding areas were incorporated into the Visigothic Kingdom between 462 and 477 AD, permanently ending the political control of Rome. After the Gothic takeover, the Visigothic dominions were known as Septimania; the king of the Visigoths, Alaric I was killed at the Battle of Vouillé in 507, a battle won by Clovis I and Velay came under Frankish rule. On Clovis' death in 511, his kingdom was divided among his four sons, Velay was included in the part of the king of Austrasia part of the French kingdom; these subdivisions were united under the auspices of his longest surviving son Chlothar I, only to be split again under his four sons at his death. It was reunited once more under Chlothar II who became the sole ruler of the Frankish people in 613.
In about 928, the area became a fiefdom of the Count of Toulouse, came under the control of the Count of Poitiers. In 1137, Eleanor of Aquitaine succeeded to the Duchy of Aquitaine and her marriage to Henry, Duke of Normandy, who became Henry II of England, brought Auvergne under English rule. By the end of the thirteenth century the area was known as the Dauphiné d’Auvergne. Haute-Loire is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790, by order of the National Constituent Assembly; the new departments were to be uniformly administered and equal to one another in size and population. Haute-Loire was formed from parts of the former provinces of Auvergne and Lyonnais. Two thirds of the department, centred on Le Puy-en-Velay, used to be part of the former province of Languedoc and is known as Velay; the geographical distance from Toulouse had allowed this region to enjoy a great deal of autonomy. Haute-Loire is a department in south central France and is part of the region of Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes.
The capital and largest town in the department is Le Puy-en-Velay. To the north of Haute-Loire lie Puy-de-Dôme and Loire, to the east lies Ardèche, to the south lies Lozère and to the west lies Cantal; the river Loire rises in the southern part of the department and flows northwards, creating a wide valley. On either side of this lie ranges of mountains in the Massif Central; the north part of the department is part of the Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park, a protected area of traditionally-farmed agricultural land and woodland, covering a total area of 297,000 hectares. The department has four mountain ranges running south; these are the Haut-Vivarais and its continuation, the Boutières range, the Massif du Meygal, the Velay Mountains and the Margeride Mountains. The highest point of the department is the Mont Mézenc and its average elevation is 719 m; the two-thirds of the area is over 800 m and the lowest point is 393 m. Velay has been associated with the traditional region of Vivarais, now part of Ardèche.
The two regions share a common dialect, similar to that spoken in Provence, the reason being associated with the trade links between the two regions. Claude-Jean Allouez was born in Saint-Didier-en-Velay, he was a Jesuit missionary and explorer in North America, said to have converted ten thousand Native Americans. The town of Allouez, Wisconsin is named after him; the de Polignac family has its historic seat in the department, various descendants of General Lafayette were senators for this region in the nineteenth century. The black metal band Peste Noire comes from the city La Chaise-Dieu; the department is popular with tourists. Le Puy-en-Velay has a historic cathedral at which pilgrims gather before starting their journey to Santiago de Compostela; the cathedral has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998, as part of the "Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France". Another site of pilgrimage is at Saint Michel d'Aiguilhe, a twelfth century chapel on top of a rocky pinnacle approached by a flight of 268 steps.
Cantons of the Haute-Loire department Communes of the Haute-Loire department Arrondissements of the Haute-Loire department Prefecture website Regional council website Haute-Loire at Curlie Tourist website The Haut-Allier Website concerned with the western half of the Haute Loire which follows the unknown Allier valley and gorges Regordane Info Independent
The Massif Central is a highland region in the middle of Southern France, consisting of mountains and plateaus. It covers about 15% of mainland France. Subject to volcanism that has subsided in the last 10,000 years, these central mountains are separated from the Alps by a deep north–south cleft created by the Rhône River and known in French as the sillon rhodanien; the region was a barrier to transport within France until the opening of the A75 motorway, which not only made north–south travel easier, but opened up the massif itself. The Massif Central is an old massif, formed during the Variscan orogeny, consisting of granitic and metamorphic rocks, it was powerfully raised and made to look geologically younger in the eastern section by the uplift of the Alps during the Paleogene period and in the southern section by the uplift of the Pyrenees. The massif thus presents a asymmetrical elevation profile with highlands in the south and in the east dominating the valley of the Rhône and the plains of Languedoc and by contrast, the less elevated region of Limousin in the northwest.
These tectonic movements may be the origin of the volcanism in the massif. In fact, above the crystalline foundation, one can observe many volcanoes of many different types and ages: volcanic plateaus and small recent monogenic volcanoes; the entire region contains a large concentration of around 450 extinct volcanoes. The Chaîne des Puys, a range running north to south and less than 160 km2 long, contains 115 of them; the Auvergne Volcanoes regional natural park is in the massif. In the south, one remarkable region, made up of features called causses in French, consists of raised chalky plateaus cut by deep canyons; the most famous of these is the Gorges du Tarn. Mountain ranges, with notable individual mountains, are: Chaîne des Puys Puy de Dôme Puy de Pariou Puy de Lassolas Puy de la Vache Monts Dore Puy de Sancy Monts du Lyonnais Pilat massif Crêt de la Perdrix Mounts of Cantal Plomb du Cantal Puy Mary Forez Pierre-sur-Haute L'Aubrac Signal de Mailhebiau Monts de La Margeride Signal de Randon Monts du Vivarais Mont Mézenc Mont Gerbier de Jonc Cévennes Mont Lozère, the highest non-volcanic summit Mont Aigoual, near Le Vigan, Florac Monts de Lacaune Montgrand Monts de l'Espinouse Sommet de l'Espinouse Montagne Noire Pic de Nore Causse du Larzac Plateau de Millevaches Plateau de Lévézou Causse du Comtal Causse de Sauveterre Causse de Sévérac Causse Méjean Causse Noir Causse de Blandas The following departments are considered as part of the Massif Central: Allier, Ardèche, Aveyron, Corrèze, Gard, Haute-Loire, Haute-Vienne, Hérault, Lot, Lozère, Puy-de-Dôme, Rhône, Tarn.
The largest cities in the region are Clermont-Ferrand and Saint-Étienne. Geography of France Media related to Massif Central at Wikimedia Commons
Margeride is a mountainous region of France, situated in the Massif Central, inside the départements of Cantal, Haute-Loire and Lozère. In Cantal, its western boundary is the Truyère, its eastern boundary, in Haute-Loire, by the gorges of the river Allier. To the south, in Lozère, It is the Lot; the lithology of area is manly gneiss. The highest peaks are the Mont Mouchet at 1,465 metres. In the 18th century the Margeride was terrorised by the Beast of Gévaudan; the area was a stronghold of the French Resistance in the Second World War. It was from here that the Resistance worked to delay German reinforcements travelling north after the D-Day landings. Today the area contains a museum of ecology, a park with a herd of rare European Bison; the beast of Gévaudan was a French legend, that takes on the appearance of a large wolf like creature. This creature is fabled to be powerful and possessive like a demonic spirit. A normal man or woman can open their bodies up to be possessed by the beast of Gévaudan by drinking the water out of the footprint of a wolf, they must drink the water straight off the ground during a full moon....
Once the spirit of La Bête took possession of the persons body they would experience memory blanks, loss of time which they cannot account for, fuge states, confusion and hallucinations..supposedly La bête was born from a continued line of werewolves, where the male of each generation would have the wolf gene in their DNA and during a blood moon they would pass on the wolf power through a bite. La Bête was first fabled to be in the body of a man named Jeziah Lou-Silvré and his sister was the one who killed him with a single spear crafted from mountain ash and mistletoe; the spirit of La Bête is the most powerful legend in France and when someone drinks the water from the print of a wolf and becomes La Bête their person ceases to exist, their memories, their esscense is replaced by that of Jeziah Lou-Silvré and his spirit seeks vengeance on all hunters and descendants of his sister, the name Silvré can be translated to mean Silver, coincidentally the fabled element capable of killing a werewolf, however silver doesn't kill a wolf but weakens it...
La Bête went after the modern descendants of his family who had the names of Silver, Silvré, Silgente. Jeziahs' sister was known as the Maid of Gévaudan. at France for Visitors Margeride at the Lozère Tourist Board website
Subprefectures in France
In France, a subprefecture is the administrative center of a departmental arrondissement that does not contain the prefecture for its department. The term applies to the building that houses the administrative headquarters for an arrondissement; the civil servant in charge of a subprefecture is the subprefect, assisted by a general secretary. Between May 1982 and February 1988, subprefects were known instead by the title commissaire adjoint de la République. Where the administration of an arrondissement is carried out from a prefecture, the general secretary to the prefect carries out duties equivalent to those of the subprefect; the municipal arrondissements of Paris and Marseille are divisions of the city rather than the prefecture, so are not arrondissements in the same sense. List of subprefectures of France List of arrondissements of France