Provinces of France

The Kingdom of France was organised into provinces until the National Constituent Assembly adopted a more uniform division into departments (départements) and districts in late 1789.[1] The provinces continued to exist administratively until 21 September 1791.[1]

Map of the provinces of France in their final form in 1789, shortly before they were abolished the following year.

The provinces of France were roughly equivalent to the historic counties of England. They came into their final form over the course of many hundreds of years, as many dozens of semi-independent fiefs and former independent countries came to be incorporated into the French royal domain. Because of the manner in which the provinces evolved, each had its own sets of feudal traditions, laws, taxation systems and courts; the system represented an impediment to effective administration of the entire country from Paris. During the early years of the French Revolution, in an attempt to centralise the administration of the whole country and to remove the influence of the French nobility over the country, the entirety of the province system was abolished and replaced by the system of departments in use today.

In some cases, several modern regions or departments share names with the historic provinces; their borders may cover roughly the same territory.