Freiburg im Breisgau
Freiburg im Breisgau is a city in Baden-Württemberg, with a population of about 220,000. In the south-west of the country, it straddles the Dreisam river, at the foot of the Schlossberg; the city has acted as the hub of the Breisgau region on the western edge of the Black Forest in the Upper Rhine Plain. A famous old German university town, archiepiscopal seat, Freiburg was incorporated in the early twelfth century and developed into a major commercial and ecclesiastical center of the upper Rhine region; the city is known for its medieval minster and Renaissance university, as well as for its high standard of living and advanced environmental practices. The city is situated in the heart of the major Baden wine-growing region and serves as the primary tourist entry point to the scenic beauty of the Black Forest. According to meteorological statistics, the city is the sunniest and warmest in Germany, held the all-time German temperature record of 40.2 °C from 2003 to 2015. Freiburg was founded by Duke Berthold III of Zähringen in 1120 as a free market town.
Frei means "free", Burg, like the modern English word "borough", was used in those days for an incorporated city or town one with some degree of autonomy. The German word Burg means "a fortified town", as in Hamburg. Thus, it is that the name of this place means a "fortified town of free citizens"; this town was strategically located at a junction of trade routes between the Mediterranean Sea and the North Sea regions, the Rhine and Danube rivers. In 1200, Freiburg's population numbered 6,000 people. At about that time, under the rule of Bertold V, the last duke of Zähringen, the city began construction of its Freiburg Münster cathedral on the site of an older parish church. Begun in the Romanesque style, it was continued and completed 1513 for the most part as a Gothic edifice. In 1218, when Bertold V died Egino V von Urach, the count of Urach assumed the title of Freiburg's count as Egino I von Freiburg; the city council wrote down its established rights in a document. At the end of the thirteenth century there was a feud between the citizens of Freiburg and their lord, Count Egino II of Freiburg.
Egino II raised taxes and sought to limit the citizens' freedom, after which the Freiburgers used catapults to destroy the count's castle atop the Schloßberg, a hill that overlooks the city center. The furious count called on his brother-in-law the Bishop of Strasbourg, Konradius von Lichtenberg, for help; the bishop responded by marching with his army to Freiburg. According to an old Freiburg legend, a butcher named Hauri stabbed the Bishop of Strasbourg to death on 29 July 1299, it was a Pyrrhic victory, since henceforth the citizens of Freiburg had to pay an annual expiation of 300 marks in silver to the count of Freiburg until 1368. In 1366 the counts of Freiburg made another failed attempt to occupy the city during a night raid; the citizens were fed up with their lords, in 1368 Freiburg purchased its independence from them. The city turned itself over to the protection of the Habsburgs, who allowed the city to retain a large measure of freedom. Most of the nobles of the city died in the battle of Sempach.
The patrician family Schnewlin took control of the city. The guilds became more powerful than the patricians by 1389; the silver mines in Mount Schauinsland provided an important source of capital for Freiburg. This silver made Freiburg one of the richest cities in Europe, in 1327 Freiburg minted its own coin, the Rappenpfennig. In 1377 the cities of Freiburg, Basel and Breisach entered into a monetary alliance known as the Genossenschaft des Rappenpfennigs; this alliance facilitated commerce among the cities and lasted until the end of the sixteenth century. There were 8,000-9,000 people living in Freiburg between the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, 30 churches and monasteries. At the end of the fourteenth century the veins of silver were dwindling, by 1460 only 6,000 people still lived within Freiburg's city walls. A university city, Freiburg evolved from its focus on mining to become a cultural centre for the arts and sciences, it was a commercial center. The end of the Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance was a time of both advances and tragedy for Freiburg.
In 1457, Albrecht VI, Regent of Further Austria, established Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, one of Germany's oldest universities. In 1498, Emperor Maximilian I held a Reichstag in Freiburg. In 1520, the city ratified a set of legal reforms considered the most progressive of the time; the aim was to find a balance between old Roman Law. The reforms were well received the sections dealing with civil process law and the city's constitution. In 1520, Freiburg decided not to take part in the Reformation and became an important centre for Catholicism on the Upper Rhine. Erasmus moved here. In 1536, a strong and persistent belief in witchcraft led to the city's first witch-hunt; the need to find a scapegoat for calamities such as the Black Plague, which claimed 2,000 area residents in 1564, led to an escalation in witch-hunting that reached its peak in 1599. A plaque on the old city wall marks the spot; the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries were turbulent times for Freiburg. At the beginning of the Thirty Years' War there were 10,000-14,000 citizens in Freiburg.
Épinal. Inhabitants are known as Spinaliens; the commune has a land area of 59.24 square kilometres. It is situated on the Moselle River, 60 kilometres south of Nancy; the old town centre features the Place des Vosges, the Chapitre district, Saint-Maurice's Basilica, medieval castle remains and the Roman House. It is known for its parks and gardens, as well as a large communal forest with arboretum. There are major fortifications and maintained until the early 20th century. There is a legend, among the populace of Épinal, that Napoleon's ghost strolls the wall ramparts on 9 September of each year at 05:00, it was on this day and at this time that, in 1811, Napoleon gave his first and last oration to the city of Épinal, wherein he addressed the challenges posed by northern expansion. There is an American military cemetery on the outskirts of the town where United States service members killed in World War II are buried. Isabelle Cogitore, historian Jean-Baptiste Jacopin, general of the armies of the 1st Republic and the First French Empire.
Jean-Charles Pellerin, cartoonist and French printer, famous for the popular images he printed from 1800. Simon Lefebvre, general of the armies of the 1st Republic and the First French Empire. Henri Hogard, geologist Jean-François Cerquand, discoverer of the monument de La Turbie. Paul Chevreux and historian of Vosges. Émile Durkheim, founder of sociology Louis-Ernest Mougenot-Méline, architect Louis Lapicque, specialist of the nervous system and known for his discovery of the chronaxie. Marcel Mauss, father of French modern ethnography and nephew of Émile Durkheim. Marc Boegner, writer and pastor, president of the Fédération protestante de France and the World Council of Churches, a member of the Académie française. Henry Daniel-Rops and historian André Jacquemin and engraver, member of the Académie des Beaux-arts de l’Institut de France. Jean-Marie Cavada journalist and politician. Louis Guillon, French politician, député of the Third Republic. Léo Valentin, French soldier and adventurer, nicknamed "l'homme-oiseau".
Marceline Loridan-Ivens, film director Odile Redon, specialist of the Middle Ages Philippe Séguin, Mayor of Épinal, French politician, President of the Court of Auditors under the Fifth Republic. Bernard-Nicolas Aubertin, bishop of Tours. Ségolène Royal, completed her high school in Charmes, before joining the Lycée Saint-Joseph of Épinal in 1968. Laetitia Masson and film director Laurent Mariotte and food writer. Valérie Donzelli and film director Jeanne Cressanges, essayist Nicolas Matthieu, winner of the Prix Erckmann-Chatrian in 2014. Jean-Sébastien Petitdemange and radio and television host. Maria Pourchet, winner of the Prix Erckmann-Chatrian in 2013. Marie-Antoinette Gout, Righteous Among the Nations Gauthier Klauss, canoeist. Matthieu Péché, canoeist Aurore Mongel, swimmer Damien Nazon, rider Fabrice Lepaul, football player Guillaume Cecutti, football player Jean-Patrick Nazon, rider Julien Bontemps, windsurfer Maxime Mermoz, rugby player Patrice Vicq, football player Nacer Bouhanni, rider Rayane Bouhanni, brother of the former a rider Grégory Gaultier, 2015 squash world champion Estelle Vuillemin, mountain biker Épinal is best known for the "Images d'Épinal" –, now a common expression in French language – the popular prints created by a local company, the Imagerie d'Épinal known as the Imagerie Pellerin.
These stencil-colored woodcuts of military subjects, Napoleonic history, storybook characters and other folk themes were distributed throughout the 19th century. The company still exists today, still uses its hand-operated presses to produce the antique images. Other local industries include textiles, morocco leather, precision instruments, bicycles. There is a school of textile weaving. Épinal is contained within Vosges' 1st constituency for elections to the National Assembly. SAS Épinal is based in the commune. Épinal participates in town twinning to foster good international relations. Its current partners include: Communes of the Vosges department INSEE Official site La place forte d'Épinal 1870 – 1914 "Épinal". Encyclopædia Britannica. 9. 1911. P. 694. Épinal-Tribu Information about Épinal Épinal-info City council website HoloGuides: Épinal – photos
Transport express régional
Transport express régional is the brand name used by the SNCF, the French national railway company, to denote rail service run by the regional councils of France their organised transport authorities. The network serves twenty French regions; every day, over 800,000 passengers are carried on 5,700 TER-branded trains. TER is an integral part of SNCF Proximités, a branch of the SNCF dealing with urban and regional passenger rail, along with Transilien, Intercités, Chemins de fer de Corse and Effia. SNCF established the TER system in 1984 to provide a framework for the management of regional passenger services. Since the end of the 1990s, it has been coordinated with the regional councils, who sign an agreement with SNCF on the designated routes, the number of connections, the fares and the service levels. TER services are subsidised by French taxpayers. On average, 72% of the cost is borne by the State and the regional councils, with the travellers paying only about 28% of the cost; this cost tends to increase over time because the regional councils have expanded the number of services.
The low profitability of the TER system is due to the way that the services are used by the travelling public, with commuter traffic in the morning and evening but significant under-utilisation during the rest of the day. In addition, passenger numbers are not high. TER trains consist of single or multiple-unit diesel, electric or dual-mode rail cars, as well as some Corail carriages used on intercity routes. Seven régions have been experimenting with the transfer of administration of the regional rail network since 1997: Alsace, the Centre-Val de Loire, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Rhône-Alpes and the Pays-de-la-Loire, since January 1999, Limousin. In 1998, the traffic increased to an average of 4.9% in these seven régions compared with 3.2% in other regions. A few other regions are in turn signing on conventions intermédiaires in order to prepare for the increasing decentralization of the network: in particular, Haute-Normandie in September 1997, Midi-Pyrénées and Burgundy November 1997, Picardy in January 1998, Lorraine in February 1998.
31 March 1994: The publication of the report Régions, SNCF: vers un renouveau du service public by the Haenel commission. 4 February 1995: The law of management and development of territory organized the transfer of responsibility of collective transportation in the interest of administrative regions. 19 December 1996: Signing of the first convention with the region of Rhône-Alpes. Several figures released by the regions: These figures do not take into account infrastructure expenses; the SNCF have designated ten TER services as trains touristiques. They are: The Chemins de fer de Corse: trains operated from Bastia and L'Île-Rousse to Ajaccio The Train des Merveilles: trains operated in the hills of Nice between the metropolis and Tende The Train des Gorges de l'Allier: trains operated between Langeac and Langogne; the Ligne de Saint Gervais – Vallorcine The Ligne de Cerdagne/train jaune: trains operated from Villefranche-de-Conflent and Latour-de-Carol-Enveitg The Autorail Espérance: gastronimical train between Bergerac and Sarlat The Chemin de fer du Blanc-Argent: services between Valençay and Salbris The Train des Alpes: trains operated between Marseille and Briançon and between Gap and Grenoble The Ligne des Hirondelles: between Dole and Saint-Claude The Ligne de la Côte Bleue: suburban services operated from Marseille to Miramas or Avignon TGV via the Blue Coast creeks.
SNCF TER - official website
A tram-train is a light-rail public transport system where trams run through from an urban tramway network to main-line railway lines which are shared with conventional trains. This combines the tram's flexibility and accessibility with a train's greater speed, bridges the distance between main railway stations and a city centre. There is a train-tram, a train modified to run on tramlines; the tram-train and train-tram are interchangeable, although a train-tram is based on a train design modified to run as a tram and a tram-train is based on a tram design modified to run on a train line. The tram-train concept was pioneered with the Karlsruhe model in Germany, has since been adopted in Mulhouse in France and in Kassel and Saarbrücken in Germany; the tram-train is a type of interurban, i.e. they link separate towns or cities. According to George W. Hilton and John F. Due's definition. Most tram-trains are standard gauge. Exceptions include Alicante Nordhausen, which are metre gauge. Tram-train vehicles are dual-equipped to suit the needs of both tram and train operating modes, with support for multiple electrification voltages if required and safety equipment such as train stops and other railway signalling equipment.
The Karlsruhe and Saarbrücken systems use "PZB" or "Indusi" automatic train protection, so that if the driver passes a signal at stop the emergency brakes are applied. The idea is not new. In 1924, in Hobart, sharing of tracks between trams and trains was proposed; the difference between modern tram-trains and the older interurbans and radial railways is that tram-trains are built to meet mainline railway standards, rather than ignoring them. An exception is the United States' River Line in New Jersey which runs along freight tracks with time separation: passenger trains run by day, freight by night. Ōtsu: Keihan Keishin Line Kolkata: Calcutta Tramways Company Gmunden: Traunsee Tram Vienna: Badner Bahn Lyon: Rhônexpress Mulhouse: Mulhouse tramway Nantes: Tram-train Nantes Île-de-France: Tramway Line 4 Tramway Line 11 Express Chemnitz: Chemnitz Tramway – 750 V DC Karlsruhe: Stadtbahn Karlsruhe – 750 V DC/15 kV AC Kassel: Kassel RegioTram 600 V DC/15 kV AC and 600 V DC/on-board Diesel generator Nordhausen: Trams in Nordhausen – 600 V DC/on-board Diesel generator Saarbrücken: Saarbahn Zwickau: Trams in Zwickau – on-board Diesel generator Cagliari: Cagliari light rail Sassari: Metrosassari Alicante: Alicante Tram Cádiz: Tranvía Metropolitano de la Bahía de Cádiz Sheffield - Rotherham: Sheffield Supertram Austin, Texas: Capital MetroRail – commuter rail that shares more commonality with tram-train operation, with downtown street running and usage of mainline track.
Uses diesel multiple units. New Jersey: River Line – diesel multiple units using main line tracks between Trenton, New Jersey and Camden, New Jersey in a time-sharing agreement with the freight companies. Salt Lake City: TRAX uses former Denver and Rio Grande tracks as well as street trackage to service Salt Lake City. Between the hours of midnight and six in the morning, Union Pacific freight trains use much of the trackage, up to just past 2500 S to service a number of industries along the line. Oceanside: – Escondido: Sprinter uses track used by BNSF for freight at night in the Escondido branch and share track with Coaster Metrolink and Amtrak San Diego: The MTS blue line is used at night for freight for the SD&IV The October 6th Tram system, Egypt Haifa–Nazareth, Israel Kolkata, India Keelung–Taipei, Taiwan. Aarhus Letbane, Denmark Braunschweig, Germany Bratislava, Slovakia Erlangen, Germany – an extension of Straßenbahn Nürnberg not planned to use mainline rail tracks but proposed to do so in the future.
The planned line to Herzogenaurach replicates a former mainline rail line Grenoble, France Groningen, Netherlands île de France, France. The system is called Tram Express by the transport authority STIF: 1 line exists and 2 lines are scheduled; the light train rolling stock will only roll on national rail network in western line a short section of 3.6 km is an urban tram section of the 19 km line. The southern line is a 20 km line, 10 km will be tram section and the 10 km another will roll on national rail network. Karlsruhe, Germany Kiel, Germany Kyiv, Ukraine Košice, Slovakia León, Spain Liberec — Jablonec nad Nisou, Czech Republic Linköping, Sweden Lyon, France Manresa, Spain Metro Mondego, Portugal Midland Metro extensions in the West Midlands conurbation, England Porto Metro Lines B and C, Portugal RijnGouweLijn, Netherlands Metro de Sevilla. Seville has one metro line and one tram line that are not connected, but the long-term intention is to link the metro and tram systems. Strasbourg, France Szeged, Hungary.
The stretch between Szeged and Hódmezővásárhely is under construction, with a planned completion date of 2020. TramCamp, Camp de Tarragona, Spain Wrocław, Poland — 600 V DC/3 kV DC Riga, Latvia Tampere, Finland Turku, Finland A two-year tram-train pilot project is being undertaken between Sheffield and Rotherham. In the initial phase, from October 2017, Stadler Citylink tram-train vehicles (British Rail designation Class
St Theobald's Church, Thann
The Collégiale Saint-Thiébaut in Thann, Haut-Rhin is one of the most ornate Gothic churches in the whole Upper Rhenish region. Of its 76 meters high spire, it is said that "The spire of Strasbourg is the highest, the spire of Freiburg is the broadest but the spire of Thann is the prettiest." In spite of its name, the church is dedicated to Saint-Ubald, of which it keeps a finger as a relic. It is listed as a Monument historique since 1841 by the French Ministry of Culture; the building was erected between 1332 and 1516. It was damaged during World War II. With a height of 16 m and a width of 8 m, the main portal of the western façade is one of the most outstanding features of the church; the main tympanum, depicting 21 scenes of the life of Saint-Mary is framed by a quintuple row of sculpted archivolts, each representing several dozens of other biblical scenes, while the smaller tympana below are framed by a double row of archivolts depicting biblical scenes. The portal is further decorated on all sides by larger than life statues of saints displaying their attributes or acting out scenes.
The whole represents one of the most ornate and elaborate examples of a "Poor Man's Bible" to be seen. The north side of the church presents a remarkable, if somewhat smaller portal, less ornate as for its sculptures but architecturally more elaborate; the outside walls of the church are decorated all around by a total of 87 statues of saints. Another striking feature of the church is the multicolored tile roof, not unlikely to the neighbouring St. Martin church's in Colmar; the inside of the church is as richly ornate as the outside. The choir is the most decorated part: stained glass windows, stalls, 12 statues of Apostles, Baroque paintings. Other parts of the church display statues, remains of frescoes, a baptismal font from the 16th century, a pulpit of 1629 and several Gothic revival statues and altars; the church's organ's pipes and mechanism had to be replaced in 2001, but Saint-Thiébaut still keeps its magnificent Gothic revival organ case of 1888. Central nave: 23 m long, 11 m wide, 22 m high Choir: 22 m long, 22 m high Southern lateral nave: 5 m wide, 10 m high Height of the choir windows: 15 m René Kirner: La Collégiale Saint-Thiébaut de Thann, Imprimerie Lescuyer Lyon, 1st trimester 1990 Media related to Collégiale Saint-Thiébaut de Thann at Wikimedia Commons St Theobald's Church, Thann at Structurae
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
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