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
2nd arrondissement of Paris
The 2nd arrondissement of Paris is one of the 20 arrondissements of the capital city of France. In spoken French, this arrondissement is colloquially referred to as deuxième. Known as Bourse, this arrondissement is located on the right bank of the River Seine; the 2nd arrondissement, together with the adjacent 8th and 9th arrondissements, hosts an important business district, centred on the Paris Opéra, which houses the city's most dense concentration of business activities. The arrondissement contains the former Paris Bourse and a large number of banking headquarters, as well as a textile district, known as the Sentier, the Opéra-Comique's theatre, the Salle Favart; the 2nd arrondissement is the home of the largest movie theater in Paris. The 2nd arrondissement is the home of most of Paris's surviving 19th-century glazed commercial arcades. At the beginning of the 19th century, most of the streets of Paris were dark and lacked sidewalks. A few entrepreneurs copied the success of the Passage des Panoramas and its well-lit and paved pedestrian passageways.
By the middle of the 19th century, there were about two dozen of these commercial malls, but most of them disappeared as the Paris authorities paved the main streets and added sidewalks, as well as gas street lighting. The commercial survivors are – in addition to the Passage des Panoramas – the Galerie Vivienne, the Passage Choiseul, the Galerie Colbert, the Passage des Princes, the Passage du Grand Cerf, the Passage du Caire, the Passage Lemoine, the Passage Jouffroy, the Passage Basfour, the Passage du Bourg-L'abbé, the Passage du Ponceau; the 2nd arrondissement is Paris's smallest arrondissement, with a land area of just 0.992 km2 The 2nd arrondissement reached its peak of settlement in the years before 1861, although it has only existed in its current shape since the re-organization of Paris in 1860. As of the last census, the population was 19,585, while the number of jobs provided there was 61,672 – this despite a land area of only 0.992 km2, making it the arrondissement with the densest concentration of commercial activity in the capital, with an average of 62,695 jobs per km2.
¹The peak of population occurred before 1861, but thearrondissement was created in 1860, so we do not have figures before 1861. The French newspaper L'Obs has its head office in the arrondissement. Bourbon has its head office in the arrondissement. All Nippon Airways has its Paris Office in the arrondissement. China Airlines has its France office in the arrondissement. Aigle Azur's registered office is in the arrondissement. In terms of state-operated schools, the second arrondissement has three nursery schools, five primary schools, one high school; the nursery schools are École Maternelle Dussoubs, École Maternelle Saint Denis, École Maternelle Vivienne. The primary schools are École Élémentaire Beauregard, École Élémentaire Dussoubs, École Élémentaire Etienne Marcel, École Élémentaire Jussienne, École Élémentaire Louvois. Collège César Franck is the sole state-operated high school in the arrondissement.École Élémentaire Privée Saint-Sauveur is the sole private primary school institution in the second arrondissement.
Private secondary school institutions include École du 2nd Degré Général Privée Rene Reaumur, École Générale et Technologique Privée Lafayette, École du 2nd degré professionnel privée CTRE PRI ENS SOINS ESTHETIQUES, École du 2nd degré professionnel privée EC INTERNATIONALE DE COIFFURE, École du 2nd degré professionnel privée ECOLE DE BIJOUTERIE-JOAILLERIE, École technologique privée ITECOM INST TECHN COMMUNIC. Bibliothèque nationale de France historical building Galerie Colbert Opéra-Comique Paris stock exchange Passage des Panoramas Théâtre des Bouffes Parisiens Théâtre des Variétés Théâtre-Musée des Capucines, a perfume museum Tour Jean sans Peur, the last vestige of the Hôtel de Bourgogne Salle Feydeau Salle de la Bourse Théâtre de l'Hôtel de Bourgogne Rue de la Banque Place de la Bourse Boulevard de Bonne-Nouvelle Boulevard des Capucines Rue des Capucines Rue de Cléry Rue Étienne-Marcel Rue du Faubourg-Montmartre Boulevard des Italiens Rue du Louvre Rue Monsigny Boulevard Montmartre Rue Montmartre Rue Montorgueil Rue Notre-Dame des Victoires Avenue de l'Opéra Rue de la Paix Rue des Petits-Champs Boulevard Poissonnière Rue du Quatre-Septembre Rue Réaumur Rue de Richelieu Boulevard Saint-Denis Rue Saint-Denis Rue Saint-Sauveur Boulevard Sébastopol Rue de Turbigo Place des Victoires Le Guide du routard 2006: Paris.
54 Promenades en Famille. A Paris et en Île-de-France. 2nd arrondissement travel guide from Wikivoyage
Bois de Boulogne
The Bois de Boulogne is a large public park located along the western edge of the 16th arrondissement of Paris, near the suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt and Neuilly-sur-Seine. The land was ceded to the city of Paris by the Emperor Napoleon III to be turned into a public park in 1852, it is the second-largest park in Paris smaller than the Bois de Vincennes on the eastern side of the city. It covers an area of 845 hectares, about two and a half times the area of Central Park in New York and less than that of Richmond Park in London. Within the boundaries of the Bois de Boulogne are an English landscape garden with several lakes and a cascade; the Bois de Boulogne is a remnant of the ancient oak forest of Rouvray, which included the present-day forests of Montmorency, Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Meudon. Dagobert, the King of the Franks, hunted bears and other game in the forest, his grandson, Childeric II, gave the forest to the monks of the Abbey of Saint-Denis, who founded several monastic communities there.
Philip Augustus bought back the main part of the forest from the monks to create a royal hunting reserve. In 1256, Isabelle de France, sister of Saint-Louis, founded the Abbey of Longchamp at the site of the present hippodrome; the Bois received its present name from a chapel, Notre Dame de Boulogne la Petite, built in the forest at the command of Philip IV of France. In 1308, Philip made a pilgrimage to Boulogne-sur-Mer, on the French coast, to see a statue of the Virgin Mary, reputed to inspire miracles, he decided to build a church with a copy of the statue in a village in the forest not far from Paris, in order to attract pilgrims. The chapel was built after Philip's death between 1319 and 1330, in what is now Boulogne-Billancourt. During the Hundred Years' War, the forest became a sanctuary for robbers and sometimes a battleground. In 1416-17, the soldiers of John the Fearless, the Duke of Burgundy, burned part of the forest in their successful campaign to capture Paris. Under Louis XI, the trees were replanted, two roads were opened through the forest.
In 1526, King Francis I of France began a royal residence, the Château de Madrid, in the forest in what is now Neuilly and used it for hunting and festivities. It took its name from a similar palace in Madrid, where Francis had been held prisoner for several months; the Chateau was used by monarchs, fell into ruins in the 18th century, was demolished after the French Revolution. Despite its royal status, the forest remained dangerous for travelers. During the reigns of Henry II and Henry III, the forest was enclosed within a wall with eight gates. Henry IV planted 15,000 mulberry trees, with the hope of beginning a local silk industry; when Henry annulled his marriage to Marguerite de Valois, she went to live in the Château de la Muette, on the edge of the forest. In the early 18th century and important women retired to the convent of the Abbey of Longchamp, located where the hippodrome now stands. A famous opera singer of the period, Madmoiselle Le Maure, retired there in 1727 but continued to give recitals inside the Abbey during Holy Week.
These concerts drew large crowds and irritated the Archibishop of Paris, who closed the Abbey to the public. Louis XVI and his family used the forest as a hunting pleasure garden. In 1777, the Comte d'Artois, Louis XVI's brother, built a charming miniature palace, the Château de Bagatelle, in the Bois in just 64 days, on a wager from his sister-in-law, Marie Antoinette. Louis XVI opened the walled park to the public for the first time. On 21 November 1783, Pilâtre de Rozier and the Marquis d'Arlandes took off from the Chateau de la Muette in a hot air balloon made by the Montgolfier brothers. Previous flights had been tethered to the ground; the balloon rose to a height of 910 meters, was in the air for 25 minutes, covered nine kilometers. Following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte in 1814, 40,000 soldiers of the British and Russian armies camped in the forest. Thousands of trees were cut down to build shelters and for firewood. From 1815 until the French Second Republic, the Bois was empty, an assortment of bleak ruined meadows and tree stumps where the British and Russians had camped and dismal stagnant ponds.
The Bois de Boulogne was the idea of Napoleon III, shortly after he staged a coup d'état and elevated himself from the President of the French Republic to Emperor of the French in 1852. When Napoleon III became Emperor, Paris had only four public parks - the Tuileries Gardens, the Luxembourg Garden, the Palais-Royal, the Jardin des Plantes - all in the center of the city. There were no public parks in the growing east and west of the city. During his exile in London, he had been impressed by Hyde Park, by its lakes and streams and its popularity with Londoners of all social classes. Therefore, he decided to build two large public parks on the eastern and western edges of the city where both the rich and ordinary people coul
A calanque is a narrow, steep-walled inlet, developed in limestone, dolomite, or other carbonate strata and found along the Mediterranean coast. A calanque is a steep-sided valley formed within karstic regions either by fluvial erosion or the collapse of the roof of a cave, subsequently submerged by a rise in sea level; the best known examples of this formation can be found in the Massif des Calanques in the Bouches-du-Rhône département of France. This range extends for 20 km in length and four kilometres in width along the coast between Marseille and Cassis, culminating in Marseilleveyre and Mont Puget. Similar calanques can be found on the French riviera near Estérel and on the island of Corsica; the highest point along the calanques are located at Mount Puget and in the mountains of Marseilleveyre. Similarities are seen between calanques, rias, the river mouths formed along the coast of Brittany in Northern France; the limestone calanques of the Massif des Calanques lie within the created Parc National des Calanques and include the Calanque de Sormiou, the Calanque de Morgiou, the Calanque d'En-Vau, the Calanque de Port-Pin and the Calanque de Sugiton.
There are additional calanques in the parc, further east along the coast, incised into Cap Canaille. These calanques formed in different rock strata in layers of cemented pebble conglomerate. Calanques are present in the Italian Apennines, in locations such as the Accona Desert and in the Calanchi natural preserve of Atri. Modern day calanques along the Mediterranean Sea are steep-sided valleys that the Holocene marine transgression submerged to form cliff-edged inlets; these valleys were either incised by rivers or created by cave collapse as karstic dry valleys when sea level was lower than present. Along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, some of the valleys, which were flooded to form calanques, these might date back to the Messinian salinity crisis between 5.96 and 5.32 million years ago. During this period of time, the Mediterranean Sea became isolated from the Atlantic Ocean and its sea level dropped at least 1,500 m below the level of the Atlantic Ocean; as a result, not only did evaporites accumulate on the abyssal plains of the Mediterranean Sea, but rivers flowing into it deepened their valleys by hundreds of metres.
For example, the Rhône River cut a canyon as deep as 576 m into Cretaceous carbonate strata near its confluence with its tributary the Ardèche. Fluvial erosion by smaller streams and rivers created numerous other deep, steep-sided valleys in response to the lowered sea level at this time. At this time, steep-walled, dry karstic valleys were formed by the collapse of caves that developed in limestone and other carbonate rocks in response to the lowered sea level of the Mediterranean Sea. During the Pleistocene, these valleys were further enlarged and modified by fluvial and other processes during interglacial drops of sea level within the 100-metre range. During these periods of interglacial low sea level, additional steep-sided valleys, which were flooded to create calanques, along the Mediterranean coastline were formed by fluvial and karst processes. Today, they can be seen as deep, narrow valleys that are submerged by the sea and are made up of limestone or granite; the calanques have a particular ecosystem, as soil is non-existent there, the limestone cliffs instead contain numerous cracks into which the roots of plants are anchored.
The biota is diverse, with over 900 plant species, including a number of endemics like the Marseille Tragacanth and Sabline de Marseille: members of the Papilionaceae family, which can only be found in the hills of Marseille. In places where cliffs are less vertical, the vegetation is a classical Mediterranean maquis consisting of densely growing evergreen shrubs such as sage and myrtle, it is similar to heath in many aspects, but with taller shrubs 2–4 m high as opposed to 0.2–1 m for heath. Like anywhere on Mediterranean coast, Calanques' climate is arid, with moisture during much of the year coming only from evaporation of the sea; this xericity associated with the salt spray conditions the subsistence of an adapted vegetation. The calanques shelter rabbits, large crows and Bonelli's eagles, as well as many reptiles and wild boars; the calanques between Marseille and Cassis are popular amongst tourists and locals alike, offering several vantage points allowing spectacular panoramas. A great number of hikers frequent the area, following numerous pre-marked trails.
The cliffs are used as training spots for rock climbers. However, this excessive use has posed problems of potential damage to this delicate microhabitat. Most of the calanques are closed to the public during the summer due to the risks of forest fire that happen during the dry season; the best time to visit calanques is March through May, when temperatures are cool and, unlike autumn and winter, rain is rare. As no fresh water sources are available in the calanques, visitors are advised to carry large supplies of water during the summer heat, to prevent dehydration. Boat tours are available starting either from Marseille, Cassis or La Ciotat, which can provide for some spectacular sightseeing. In April 2012, most of the calanques were decla
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
16th arrondissement of Paris
The 16th arrondissement of Paris is one of the 20 arrondissements of the capital city of France. In spoken French, this arrondissement is referred to as seizième; the arrondissement includes part of the Arc de Triomphe, a concentration of museums between the Place du Trocadéro and the Place d'Iéna, complemented in 2014 by the Fondation Louis Vuitton. With its ornate 19th-century buildings, large avenues, prestigious schools and various parks, the arrondissement has long been known as one of French high society's favourite places of residence to such an extent that the phrase le 16e has been associated with great wealth in French popular culture. Indeed, the 16th arrondissement of Paris is France's third richest district for average household income, following the 7th, Neuilly-sur-Seine, both adjacent; the 16th arrondissement hosts several large sporting venues, including: the Parc des Princes, the stadium where Paris Saint-Germain football club plays its home matches. The Bois de Boulogne, the second-largest public park in Paris, is located in this arrondissement.
The land area of this arrondissement is 16.305 km2 more than half of which consists of the Bois de Boulogne park. Excluding the Bois de Boulogne, its land area is 7.846 km2. It is the largest arrondissement in Paris in terms of land area; the 16th arrondissement population peaked in 1962. At the last census, the population was 169,372; the 16th arrondissement contains a great deal of business activity. The 16th arrondissement is thought to be one of the richest parts of Paris, features some of the most expensive real estate in France including the famous Auteuil "villas", heirs to 19th century high society country houses, they are exclusive gated communities with huge houses surrounded by gardens, rare in Paris, it is the only arrondissement in Paris to be divided into two separate postal codes. The southern part of the arrondissement carries a postal code of 75016, while the northern part has the code of 75116. Four Fortune Global 500 have their head offices in this arrondissement: PSA Peugeot Citroën, Kering and Veolia.
In addition Lagardère and Technip have their headquarters in this arrondissement. At one time Aérospatiale had its head office in the arrondissement. In one of the opening scenes of the 1965 James Bond film Thunderball, character Emilio Largo is seen arriving at the headquarters of The International Brotherhood for the Assistance of Stateless Persons; this scene was shot on Avenue d'Eylau in the 16th arrondissement. The controversial 1972 film Last Tango in Paris, starring Marlon Brando and Maria Schneider, was filmed at various locations in the 16th arrondissement, with the apartment the characters stayed in being located in Passy. A notorious serial murder case, which generated an international media circus, centered in the 16th arrondissement during the Nazi occupation of France during World War II; the focal point of the case was French doctor Marcel Petiot, who in 1941 bought a house at 21 Rue le Sueur in "the heart of Paris's fashionable 16th arrondissement". On 11 March 1944, Petiot's neighbors complained to police of a foul stench in the area and of large amounts of smoke billowing from a chimney of the house.
Fearing a chimney fire, the police summoned firemen, who entered the house and found a roaring fire in a coal stove in the basement. In the fire, scattered in the basement, were human remains. Following an investigation, during which time Petiot attempted to evade capture, "the monster of rue Le Sueur" was arrested and went on trial on 19 March 1946, facing 135 criminal charges, he was sentenced to death. On 25 May, Petiot was beheaded, after a stay of several days due to a problem in the release mechanism of the guillotine. Here is a list of domestic French sixth-form colleges/high schools in the arrondissement Lycée Saint-Jean de Passy Lycée Saint-Louis-de-Gonzague Lycée Janson de Sailly Lycée Claude Bernard Lycée Jean-Baptiste-Say Lycée Gerson Lycée Molière Lycée La Fontaine Lycée Octave-Feuillet Lycée Notre-Dame des Oiseaux École Pascale Institut de l'Assomption Institut de La Tour Lycée René-Cassin École normale israélite orientale Établissement Gerson Cours privé Beauséjour École d'esthétique Yves Rocher Ipécom Paris Lycée Moria-Diane Benvenuti Lycée Notre-Dame des Oiseaux Lycée Passy-Saint-Honoré Lycée Sainte-ThérèseInternational schools: Russian Embassy School of Paris, on the grounds of the Russian Embassy in Paris.
Colegio Español Fecerico García Lorca, a Spanish international primary school owned by the Spanish government The Spanish secondary school, Liceo Español Luis Buñuel, is located in Neuilly sur Seine. The two campuses of the International School of Paris Kingsworth International School The Université Paris-Dauphine is in the arrondissement, as well as Paris Institute of Technology, part of Paris Descartes University, one of Paris biggest public universities; the renowned "classes préparatoires" establishment Intégrale: Institut d'enseignement supérieur privé have one of their campuses in the arrondissement. The École de langue japonaise de Paris, a supplementary Japanese education programme, is held at the École Maternelle et Primaire Saint Francois d'Eylau in the 16th arrondissement; the school has its offices at the Associatio
Seine was a department of France encompassing Paris and its immediate suburbs. Its capital was Paris and its official number was 75; the Seine department was abolished in its territory divided among four new departments. From 1929 to its abolition in 1968, the department consisted of the city of Paris and 80 suburban communes surrounding Paris, it had an area of 480 km², 22% of that area being the city of Paris, 78% being independent suburbs. It was divided into three arrondissements: Paris and Saint-Denis; the Seine department was created on March 1790, as the Paris department. In 1795, it was renamed the Seine department after the Seine River flowing through it. At the first census of the French Republic in 1801, the Seine department had 631,585 inhabitants and was the second most populous department of the vast Napoleonic Empire, more populous than the dense departments of what is now Belgium and the Netherlands. With the growth of Paris and its suburbs over the next 150 years, the population of the Seine department increased tremendously.
By 1968 it contained 5,700,754 residents. It was judged that the Seine department was now too large to be governed and so on January 1, 1968, it was split into four smaller departments: Paris, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne; the break-up of the Seine department involved the following changes: The city of Paris was turned into a department in its own right, with no other communes inside this department. The official number 75, used for the Seine department was given to the new Paris department. To the south and southeast of the city, 29 communes of the Seine department were grouped with 18 communes of the Seine-et-Oise department to form the new Val-de-Marne department; the official number 94 was assigned to this department, a number used for the Territoires du Sud territory in the Saharan part of French Algeria. To the west of Paris, 27 communes of the Seine department were grouped with nine communes of Seine-et-Oise to form the new Hauts-de-Seine department; the official number 92 was assigned to this department, a number used for the department of Oran in French Algeria.
To the north and north-east the 24 remaining communes of the Seine department were grouped with 16 communes of the Seine-et-Oise department to form the new Seine-Saint-Denis department. The official number 93 was assigned to this department, a number used for the department of Constantine in French Algeria. Taken together, Hauts-de-Seine, Val-de-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, known in France as the petite couronne, plus the city of Paris, are larger than the former Seine department; the Métropole du Grand Paris is an administrative structure created in 2016, which comprises Paris and the three departments of the Petite Couronne, plus seven additional communes in the Grande Couronne. At the 2006 census, the population of the communes that had comprised the Seine department was 5,496,468; the population of the department peaked in 1968 at 5,700,754. It lost inhabitants until 1999 as residents relocated to the more distant suburbs of the metropolitan area of Paris, but since 1999 it has regained some inhabitants, with a population increase of 292,650 inhabitants between 1999 and 2006.
This new population growth after a long period of decline is comparable to what is observed in the central areas of other large Western metropolises such as Inner London. Of the new departments created in 1968, Paris was the most populous in 2006 with 2,181,371 inhabitants; the Paris department is the second-most populous of France behind that of Nord. Former departments of France