Communes of France

The commune (French pronunciation: [kɔmyn]) 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 municipios in Spain. The United Kingdom's equivalent are civil parishes, although some areas, particularly urban areas, are unparished. 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 of France
CategoryMunicipality
LocationFrance
Found inDepartments
Number34,965 (List) (as of January 2021)
Populations1 (Rochefourchat) – 2,175,601 (Paris)
Areas0.04 km2 (Castelmoron-d'Albret) – 18,360 km2 (Maripasoula)
Government

Communes vary widely in size and area, from large sprawling cities with millions of inhabitants like Paris, to small hamlets with only a handful of inhabitants. Communes typically 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 ("lieu dit" or "bourg"), 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 including a mayor (maire) and a municipal council (conseil municipal). They have extensive autonomous powers to implement national policy.


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