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
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
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
Adamswiller 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 Adamswillerois or Adamswilleroises Adamswiller is located some 20 km north by north-west of Phalsbourg and 20 km south-east of Sarralbe; the D9 road from Mackwiller passes south through the western part of the commune on the way to Durstel in the south. The D182 runs off the D9 in the commune to Rexingen in the south-west. There is the D239 road from the village going north-east to join the D919 road just outside the commune; the commune is farmland with a little forest in the east. The commune is renowned for its pink sandstone from the north-east of the commune, approved for the restoration of historical monuments; the Eichel river forms the north-western border of the commune and the Marstbach forms the western border. The commune lies within the Northern Vosges Regional Natural Park; the commune was part of the County of La Petite-Pierre. Between Adamswiller and Mackwiller there have been found ancient tombs which have been given the name Totdenberg due to the heights on which they were found.
1281: Adelmanswiler 1793: Adamsweiller 1801: AdamswilerIn German: Adamsweiler. List of Successive Mayors of Adamswiller Population change Sources: Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 The commune has a number of buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments: A Blacksmith's House at 27 Rue Principale The Town Hall / School at 44 Rue Principale A Farmhouse at 51 Rue Principale A Farmhouse at 55 Rue Principale The Au Cheval Noir restaurant at 59 Rue Principale The Weaver's House at 68 Rue Principale The Worker's House at 69 Rue Principale A Restaurant at 73 Rue Principale The Totenberg Tile Factory at RD 239 Houses and Farms A Public Bench at 12 Rue de la Gare is registered as an historical object. Other sites of interestThe Rauscher Quarry The Black Horse bistro The commune has several religious buildings and structures that are registered as historical monuments: A Monstrance Altar Bench at CD 239 A Lutheran Church at Rue Principale; the Church has several items which are registered as historical objects: The Furniture in the Church The Organ A Baptismal Ewer and Basin The Cemetery.
All movable items in the Cemetery are registered as historical objects. Communes of the Bas-Rhin department Communes of the Bas-Rhin department sorted by arrondissements and cantons Communities of Communes of the Bas-Rhin département Arrondissements of the Bas-Rhin département Cantons of the Bas-Rhin département Adamswiller on the old National Geographic Institute website Adamswiller on Lion1906 Adamswiller on Google Maps Adamswiller on Géoportail, National Geographic Institute website Adamsweiller on the 1750 Cassini Map Adamswiller on the INSEE website INSEE
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
Mulhouse is a city and commune in eastern France, close to the Swiss and German borders. With a population of 112,063 in 2013 and 284,739 inhabitants in the metropolitan area in 2012, it is the largest city in the Haut-Rhin département, the second largest in the Alsace region after Strasbourg. Mulhouse is the principal commune of the 33 making up the communauté d'agglomération Mulhouse Alsace Agglomération. Mulhouse is famous for its museums the Cité de l’Automobile and the Musée Français du Chemin de Fer the largest automobile and railway museums in the world. An industrial town nicknamed "the French Manchester", Mulhouse is the main seat of the Upper Alsace University, where is found the secretariat of the European Physical Society. Mulhouse is the chief city of an arrondissement of the Haut-Rhin département, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Legends mention the origin of Mulhouse in 58 BC, but the first written records of the town date from the twelfth century, it was part of the southern Alsatian county of Sundgau in the Holy Roman Empire.
From 1354 to 1515, Mulhouse was part of the Décapole, an association of ten Free Imperial Cities in Alsace. The city joined the Swiss Confederation as an associate in 1515 and was therefore not annexed by France in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 like the rest of the Sundgau. An enclave in Alsace, it was a free and independent Calvinist republic, known as Stadtrepublik Mülhausen, associated with the Swiss Confederation until, after a vote by its citizens on 4 January 1798, it became a part of France in the Treaty of Mulhouse signed on 28 January 1798, during the Directory period of the French Revolution. Starting in the middle of the eighteenth century, the Koechlin family pioneered cotton cloth manufacturing. André Koechlin built machinery and started making railroad equipment in 1842; the firm in 1839 employed 1,800 people. It was one of the six large French locomotive constructors until the merger with Elsässische Maschinenbau-Gesellschaft Grafenstaden in 1872, when the company became Société Alsacienne de Constructions Mécaniques.
After the Prussian victory in the Franco-Prussian War, Mulhouse was annexed to the German Empire as part of the territory of Alsace-Lorraine. The city was occupied by French troops on 8 August 1914 at the start of World War I, but they were forced to withdraw two days in the Battle of Mulhouse; the citizens of Alsace who unwisely celebrated the appearance of the French army were left to face German reprisals, with several citizens sentenced to death. After World War I ended in 1918, French troops entered Alsace. Germany ceded the region to France under the Treaty of Versailles. After the Battle of France in 1940, it was occupied by German forces until its return to French control at the end of World War II in May 1945; the town's development was stimulated first by the expansion of the textile industry and tanning, subsequently by chemical and Engineering industries from the mid 18th century. Mulhouse was for a long time called the French Manchester; the town has enduring links with Louisiana, from which it imported cotton, with the Levant.
The town's history explains why its centre is small. Two rivers run through both tributaries of the Rhine. Mulhouse is 100 kilometres away from Strasbourg and Zürich, it lies close enough to Basel and Freiburg, Germany to share the EuroAirPort international airport with these two cities. Mulhouse's climate is temperate oceanic, but its location further away from the ocean gives the city colder winters with some snow, hot and humid summers, in comparison with the rest of France. Medieval Mulhouse consists of a lower and an upper town; the lower town was the inner city district of merchants and craftsmen. It developed around the Place de la Réunion. Nowadays this area is pedestrianised; the upper town developed from the eighteenth century on. Several monastic orders were established there, notably the Franciscans, Poor Clares and Knights of Malta; the Nouveau Quartier is the best example of urban planning in Mulhouse, was developed from 1826 on, after the town walls had been torn down. It is focused around the Place de la République.
Its network of streets and its triangular shape are a good demonstration of the town's desire for a planned layout. The planning was undertaken by the architects G. Félix Fries; this inner city district was occupied by rich families and the owners of local industries, who tended to be liberal and republican in their opinions. The Rebberg district consists of grand houses inspired by the colonnaded residences of Louisiana cotton planters; this was the town's vineyard. The houses here were built as terraces in the English style, a result of the town's close relationship with Manchester, where the sons of industrialists were sent to study. Hôtel de Ville; the town hall was built in 1553 in the Rhenish Renaissance style. Montaigne described it as a "palais magnifique et tout doré" in 1580, it is known for its trompe l'œil paintings, its pictures of allegories representing the vices and virtues. Workers' qu
Aschbach 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 Aschbachoises. Aschbach is located some 13 km south by south-east of Wissembourg and 8 km east of Soultz-sous-Forêts. Access to the commune is by the D245 road from Stundwiller in the south passing through the village and continuing north to Seebach. With exception of a small band of forest on the western border the commune is farmland; the Seebach river forms the eastern border of the commune as it flows south to join the Seltzbach at Buhl. An unnamed stream rises in the centre of the commune and flows south-east through the village to join the Seebach on the south-eastern border. In the 14th century Aschbach was the property of the Diocese of Speyer. Under the Ancien Régime Aschbach and Oberroedern formed the Superior Court with their church at Stundwiller; these three villages were merged in 1974 but Aschbach was separated again in 1988. According to the cadastral plan of 1839 there were buildings built close together and other places which were marshlands.
The school was built in 1833, an oratory at a place called Kreutzfeld dates to 1864, the church was built in 1871. The village suffered terrible damage in the Second World War and reconstruction gave the village a new look with a larger and more open built-up area; the presbytery was built in 1950. List of Successive Mayors In 2010 the commune had 667 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 towns that have a sample survey every year. Population change Sources: Ldh/EHESS/Cassini until 1962, INSEE database from 1968 Aschbach has four registrations as historical monuments; these are: Parish Church of the Immaculate Conception Farmhouse at 19 Grand Rue House and Farms The Village The Church of the Immaculate Conception has many items which are registered as historical objects. These are: 2 Monstrances Monstrance Cross: Christ on the cross Painting: Saint Joseph with the child Jesus 10 Statues of Saints Pulpit, 2 Confessionals, Baptismal fonts 3 Altars, 3 Tabernacles, 3 Retables, church stall, half-height panelling Furniture in the Church Wayside cross: Christ on the cross at Hohlacker Inside the Church Communes of the Bas-Rhin department Aschbach, Bas-Rhin on Lion1906 Aschbach on the National Geographical Institute website Aschbach on Google Maps Aschbach on Géoportail, National Geographic Institute website Asbach on the 1750 Cassini Map Aschbach on the INSEE website INSEE