Provinces of Ancient France
(Modern day Départements of France)
> Regional Capitals
>>> Alsace (#67 Bas-Rhin & #68 Haut-Rhin) > Strasbourg, being its capital, was located across the German border state of Baden to the east, Lorraine to the west, Franche-Comté to the south, some 500 km east of Paris. Ancient Alsace was divided into Upper Alsace and Lower Alsace – (a) The Upper Alsace was formed by uniting various regions of the Plains of Colmar, located north of Colmar, including Elsgaw (Delle), the ancient land of Huningue, the old counties of Ill, Sundgau, the latter also known as Belfort or Altkirch or Ferrette, plus the ancient districts and dukedoms of Kembs, Raffach and Ferrette, the valleys of Moutiers (Delemont), and Ober-Mundat, the latter located in today’s Colmar – (b) The Lower Alsace, included then the regions and villages of Nordgau, Hagueneu, Hatten, Thure, the city of Bischeim (Strasbourg), the ancient duchies of Kirchheim, Lutzelstein (Petite-Pierre), Wasgau also known then as Wissembourg- Alsace was divided at a later time period into two departments (regions) Bas-Rhin and Haut-Rhin, the latter was subsequently divided with one portion assigned to Germany, only the Territory of Belfort, remained with France. Alsace was formed in 870 as a province of Germany – In 1354, the city of Strasbourg would become a free entity – During the war of 1618-1648, known as the War of 30 Years, the region of Habsbourg was allocated to France – 1681, the region of Strasbourg would join France – 1871 – Germany would take over most of Alsace and a large portion of Lorraine with the exception of the territory of Belfort – 1918, Alsace would be allocated once more to France.
>>> Angoumois (#16 Charente & #24 Dordogne) > Angouleme, being its capital, was located south of Poitou, east of Saintonge, north of Périgord, west of Marche and Limousin, some 450 km southwest of Paris. Ancient Angoumois was the birthplace of the département of Charente and a small portion of the Dordogne. The region also known as Angouleme was united to the French Crown in 1308. For the next two hundred years various regional principalities took control of the region. In 1515, the region was reunited once more and on a permanent basis to France.
>>> Anjou (#49 Pays de la Loire) > Angers, being its capital, was located south of Maine, east of Bretagne, west of Touraine, north of Poitou, some 300 km southwest of Paris. The ancient province of Anjou would join France in 1205 – In 1360 King of France Louis the First would grant the region the status of Royal Domain – In 1481, the city of Angers would be declared by King Louis the Sixth, the capital of Maine & Loire, a portion of l’Indre & Loire, a portion of Mayenne and a portion of Sarthe – The region of Anjou is crisscrossed by numerous rivers such as the Loire, Sarthe, Mayenne – The various regions (now known as departments) were formed based on the flow of the above rivers: (a) Anjou Supérieur located north of the Loire river included the Anjou Valley, between the rivers of Authion and Loire, the region also included the counties of Bauge, Baune, Bouère (Chateau-Gontier), Ceans or Caens (La Flèche), Craonnais. (b) Anjou Inférieur, located south of the Loire river included the regions of Saumurois, Bourg (Montreuil-Bellay), Vaux (Gennes)- The province of Anjou would become the département of Maine-et-Loire (Maine & Loire), following the French Revolution.
>>> Artois (#62 Pas de Calais & #59 Nord) > Arras, being its capital, was located west of Flandre, north of Picardie, with its western region facing the North Atlantic, some 170 km north of Paris. The ancient land was formed in the 12th century, a region which was previously part of Flandre (Flanders). In 1223 the Crown of France would grant the region the title of French Domain. Over the next 450 years, regional principalities would challenge the various French Kings as to the ownership of the ancient province. Finally in 1678, the region was granted to France – Artois was unfortunately one of the major battlegrounds during World War One with such towns as Vimy, Souchez, Lorette and others. – The ancient province of Artois is now known as Pas-de-Calais, the latter was formed by regrouping the old dukedoms, counties and territories of Arras, Angles (Audruicq), Bourgeonval, Couture (Bertincourt), Enclaves d’Artois (Montreuil), Escrebien (Lens), Flavermont (Saint-Pol-sur-Ternoise), Saint-Pol, Arrouaise (Artois & Picardie), Carembault (Flandres & Artois).
>>> Aunis (#17 Charente-Maritime or Poitou-Charentes) > La Rochelle, being its capital, was located south of Poitou, west of Saintonge, north of Guyenne and its western region facing the Atlantic, some 450 km west of Paris. The ancient kingdom was united to France in 1271. From 1360 to 1371, England would occupy the region. The region would become the centre of Protestantism in Western France, among the latter the Calvinism and Huguenot movements would flourish in the region, especially around the capital city of La Rochelle. From the late 1500’s to 1763, more than 319 different Huguenot families would move to New France, most of them would use the port of La Rochelle as the departure point for America. The Calvinist movement of Western France to New France appears to be much smaller in number. The ancient provinces of Aunis and Saintomge, the latter with its capital Saintes, were united prior to the French Revolution into one entity with one regional government. The Aunis province was subdivided into two distinct regions: (a) Aunis (La Rochelle) and, (b) Petite Flandre (Lesser Flanders) of the département (region) of Charente, north of Rochefort. – The Saintonge province was divided into two lesser regions; (c) Saintonge Méridionale (Southern Saintonge) with its capital of Saintes and; (d) Saintonge Septentrionale (Northern Saintonge) with its capital of St-Jean-d’Angely, the latter a region which included the towns, dukedoms, territories of Brouagais, Archiazes (Archias), Ile (Arvert).- These two provinces would be united into one entity of Charente-Inférieure or also named Charente-Maritime.
>>> Auvergne (#63 Puy-de-Dome & #15 Cantal) > Clermont-Ferrand, being its capital, was located south of Bourbonnais, west of Lyonnais, north of Languedoc and Guyenne, east of Limousin and Marche, some 400 km south of Paris. The ancient land was realigned during the 14th century (1360) into a single dukedom. In 1527, the region would be annexed to France. The region is part and parcel of a district by the name of Massif Central, a massive plateau overlooking the Sioule Valley to the south; the Dordogne Supérieure to the west; and the regions of Livradois and Forez to the east. The region is part of the mountainous chains of des Puys, Doré and Cantal. The region was divided prior to the French Revolution into two administrative districts; (a) Lower Auvergne which encompassed (a) Lower Auvergne (Clermont-Ferrand); (b) Combrailles (Évaux); (c) Dauphiné (d’Auvergne); (d) Franc-Alleu (Marche); (e) Limagne (Billom); (f) Livradois (Ambert). Upper Auvergne included the districts of; (g) Haute Auvergne (Aurillac); (h) Artense (Champs-sur-Tarentaine); (i) Planèze (St-Four), (j) a small portion of Xaintrie (Pléaux) and, (k) Carlades (Vic-sur-Cère) – The Auvergne province was subdivided into two distinct regions (départements) in today’s France; Puy-de-Dome & Cantal
>>> Béarn (#64 Pyrénées Atlantiques) > Pau, being its capital, was located south and west of Gascogne, north of Spain, some 750 km, southwest of Paris. This southwestern region joined the ranks of provinces under King of France Henri the Fourth in 1589. The region was then divided into three districts; (a) Béarn (Pau) with its valleys of Aspe, Baretous, Ossau; (b) Soule (Mauleon), and (c) French Navarre or Lower Navarre, the latter which included the territories of Mixe, Cize, Baigorry, Arberou, Ostabarat. This ancient southern region would become the département of Basses-Pyrénées or also known as Pyrénées-Atlantiques in modern-day France.
>>> Beauce (#28 Eure et Loir - #45 Loiret & #41 Loir et Cher) > Chartrain, being its capital, was located south of Ile-de-France, north of Orléanais, east of Perche and Maine, some 100 km, southwest of Paris. This ancient kingdom was located between the city of Chartres and the forests of Orléans in a region commonly described as the Basin Parisien. – The ancient county was also referred to as Petite Beauce, a region situated in the southwest between the Loire and the Loir. The old province was divided into two regions; Chartrain and Gatines - In modern day France, the region is now part of Eure et Loire- Loiret & Loir et Cher.
>>> Berry (#18 Cher - #36 Indre) > Bourges, being its capital, was located south of Orléanais, east of Nivernais, northwest of Bourbonnais, north of Marche, east of Oitou and Touraine, some 220 km, south of Paris. The ancient land was also known as Berri, it is located between the Sologne region and the Massif Central district. This ancient region was then divided into two distinct territories; Haut Berry; which included (a) Berry (Bourge); (b) Champagne Berrichonne; (c) Dun; (4) Gout; (d) Henrichemont or Boisbelle; (e) Lignières; (f) Sancerrais; (g) Septaine; Bas Berry; which included (h) Bommières (Issoudun); (i) Boucherie; (j) and a portion of Brenne. This territory would become in modern-day France; Cher and Indre.
>>> Bourbonnais (#3 Allier) > Moulins, being its capital, was located south of Nivernais, southwest of Bourgogne, northwest of Lyonnais, north of Auvergne, east of Berry and Marche, some 300 km, south of Paris. This former European kingdom was taken-over by the Crown of France in 1527 away from the descendants of the House of Bourbon. This territory was made-up of (a) Marcillat (Montlucon); (b) Vichias (Vichy); (c) Billy (La Palisse); (d) Voussac; (e) Valet (Moulins-sur-Allier). In modern-day France, this entire region is known as Allier
>>> Bourgogne (#89 Yonne – #21 Côte d’Or – #71 Saöne et Loire & #01 Ain) > Dijon, being its capital, was located south of Champagne, west of Franche-Comté, northwest of Bresse, north of Lyonnais, northeast of Bourbonnais, east of Nivernais, some 300 km, southeast of Paris,The ancient European kingdom which no longer exist on most maps but still occupies a special place with most French citizens due to its rich and long historic past. The region is located next to the Massif Central and the département of Yonne. This ancient region was then divided into 15 districts; (a) Bourgogne (Dijon); (b) Auxerrois; (c) Auxois (Semur); (d) Auxonnais; (e) Autunois; (f) Bresse Challonnaise (Louhans); (g) Savoie (Bourg); (h) Bresse Savoyarde (Bourg); (i) Bugey (Belley); (j) Charolais; (k) Dombes (Trevoux); (l) Gex; (m) Maconnais; (n) Montagne (Chatillon-sur-Seine); (o) Ouche (between the regions of Tille, Vouge, Saöne, and Côte-d’Or) – The province of ancient Bourgogne was subdivided into 4 départements in today’s France; Yonne - Côte-d’Or - Saöne-et-Loire & Ain.
>>> Bretagne (#35 Ille et Villaine – #44 Loire Atlantique - #22 Côte d’Armor - #56 Morbihan & #29 Finistère) > Rennes, being its capital, was located along the Atlantic, west of Normandie, Maine and Ajou, north of Poitou, some 350 km east of Paris. The ancient kingdom traces its origin to the 5th century, at which time the Bretons from the Isle of Britain would have migrated in considerable numbers. In 845, the local residents would defeat an army led Charles de Chauve, thus creating an independent Bretagne. In 938, the Normands would be defeated by the Bretons, from which the kingdom of Bretagne was established. In 1532 Bretagne would join the ranks of provinces of France. The pre-French Revolution Bretagne was subdivided into two distinct regions; Haute-Bretagne (Upper Bretagne) which included the territories of; (a) Rennes; (b) Saint-Brieuc; (c) Alet (Saint-Malo) (d); Doi; (e) Retz or Rai (Nantes); (f) Cogles (Fougères); (g) Nonais (Chateau-Neuf en Bretagne); (h) Plelo (Chatelaudren); (i) Retz or Rai (Paimboeuf); Basse-Bretagne (Lower Bretagne) which included the territories of; (j) Cornouailles (Quimper-Corentin); (k) Coislin; (l) Grève (Saint-Michel-en-Grève); (m) Rhuys (Sarzeau); (n) Vannes; (15) Léonnais; (o) Ack (Brest); (p) Léon; (q) Trèquier. In modern day France, the ancient and colorful Bretagne was regrouped into 5 départements; Ille-et-Villaine - Loire-Inférieure (Loire-Atlantique) - Côte-du-Nord (Côte d’Armor) - Morbihan; & Finistère.
>>> Cévennes (#48 Lozère) > Mende - This ancient territory is located east of the Massif Central between the regions of Hérault and Ardèche. This region near Mont Lozère, is located some 800 km south west of Paris. The steep mountains and deep valleys are primarily settled by small ranchers and by small-farm owners. The region is lightly populated due to its mountainous contours and extreme dry periods during the summer months. The region was at one time a center of the Protestantism movement in France, also known as the Huguenots. From 1681 to 1685, the region was devastated by the Louvois Brigades, a Catholic group formed by the Crown of France under Louis XIV whose mission was the complete annihilation of Protestants in France. The region is today, part of Lozère, a region located south of Ardèche, west of Drôme, north of Aude and east of Aveyron.
>>> Champagne (#08 Ardennes - #10 Aube -#51 Marne & #52 Haute Marne) > Troyes, being its capital, was located on the northeast region of France along the borders with Belgium and Germany, to the south were Bourgogne and Orléannais, to the west Ile de France and to the southeast Lorraine. The capital of Troyes is located 160 km. southeast of Paris.This large province was first established as a territory in the 11th century. In 1234, the region was enlarged with the take-over of the dukedom of Navarre. In 1284, Champagne was unified with France under the leadership of Philippe the Fourth, King of France. – The pre-French Revolution Champagne province was subdivided into many territories; (a) Champagne (Troyes); (b) Rhemois (Reims); (c) Rethelois (Rethel) including Porcien; (d) Perthois (Vitry-le-Francois); (e) Vallage (Joinville); (f) Bassigny (Langres); (g) Senonais (Sens); (h) Sédan; (i) Tonnerois; (j) Chalonnais); (k) Barrois (Bar-sur-Aube); (l) Brie Champenoise (Meaux); (m) Arcy; (n) Dieulet; (o) Der; (p) Clermontois; (q) Aqyois. Following the French Revolution this ancient province was divided into 4 départements; Ardennes – Marne - Aube - Haute-Marne
>>> Comtat Vernaissin (#84 Vaucluse) > Avignon, being its capital, the ancient city is located north of Provence, south of Dauphiné, east of Languedoc, some 800 km southeast of Paris. This southern land is located in today’s Vaucluse on the Rhône river. The region was part and parcel of the lands owned by various Catholic Popes from 1309 to 1791. In 1348, Pope Clément the Sixth would purchase the area and the ownership remained with the Church of Rome until 1791. The territory would become part of France in 1791. The département of Vaucluse is part of the Provence – Alpes – Côte-d’Azur region of South-eastern France.
>>> Comté de Foix (#09 Ariège) > Foix, being its capital, was located northeast of Spain, northwest of Roussillon, southeast of Gascogne, southwest of Languedoc, some 750 km southwest of Paris. The County was first established in the 11th century. Located at 761 km south of Paris, this region with it’s capital Foix was annexed to France in 1607 by King of France Henri the Fourth. Prior to the French Revolution, this county was subdivided into three territories; (a) Foix (Foix); (b) Bas Comté (Pamiers); (c) Donnezan (Querigut). In today’s France, this region would become the département of Ariège.
>>> Comté de Nice (#06 Alpes-Maritimes) > Nice being its capital, was located 930 km southeast of Paris on the Côte d’Azur on the Mediterranean Sea.The city is surrounded by Monaco to the east, Cannes, Toulon, Marseille to the west. The County of Nice was fully assigned to France in 1860 by the King of Sardaigne. In 1246, the region was under the control of the Angevins of Provence. In 1388, it was controlled by the House of Savoie. From 1793, France would take-over all government functions of the region. The county of Nice in today’s France is now part of the Alpes-Maritimes on the Côte-d’Azur.
>>> Corse (2A Corse du Sud & 2B Haute-Corse) > Bastia, being its capital. Located on the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of the Côte d’Azur.The history of the Island of Corse dates back to 525 BC, at which time the Phoenicians had invaded and taken control of the island. In 238 BC, the Roman Empire would invade the island. In 1553, the island would become a protectorate of France. The French Government would grant the status of territory to Corse in 1982, at which time the first election under the French Constitution took place. It is known today as Corse-du-Sud & Haute Corse.
>>> Dauphiné (#38 Isère -#26 Drôme & #05 Hautes-Alpes) > Grenoble, being its capital, it is located south of Bresse, north of Provence, east of Languedoc, and southeast of Lyonnais. The capital of Grenoble is located 570 km southeast of Paris. The kingdom was one of the first independent kingdom to join France in 1349 under King of France Philippe the Sixth. It was officially granted the status of province in 1560. The region was then subdivided into two distinct districts; Haute-Dauphiné (Upper Dauphiné) which included the territories of; (a) Gresivaudan; (b) Buis les Baronnies; (c) Embrunois; (d) Gapencois, including Champsaur; (e) Royaney (Saint-Bonnet). Bas-Dauphiné (Lower Dauphiné) which included; (f) Viennois; (g) Tricastin or Tricastinais; (h) Valentinois; (i) Diois; (j) Vercors. This province would be divided into three départements in modern France; Isère – Drôme & Hautes-Alpes.
>>> Flandre Française Wallonne (#59 Nord) > Lille, being its capital, It is located on the northern border with Belgium to the east, northeast of Artois and Picardie, northwest of Champagne, some 220 km northeast of Paris. An ancient region located on the North Atlantic between the regions of Artois and Escault. In the 5th century, the Frankish Kingdom of Salians, a Germanic people who lived by the sea were the first known residents of Flandre. In 843, Flandre was allocated to Charles the First. In 1297, King of France Philippe the Fourth would officially annex the region to France. In 1790, the region of the French Flandre was accorded the status of département du Nord. The region then was divided into 9 territories; (a) Flandre; (b) Mélanthois; (c) Weppes; (d) Phalempin; (e) Puelle or Pevelle; (f) Hainault (Valenciennes); (g) Cambrésis (Cambrai); (h) Lys from the region of Aire up-to Armentières; (i) Yser. Flandre in modern France woud become the département of Nord.
>>> Franche-Comté (#25 Doubs - #70 Haute Saöne & #39 Jura) > Bésancon, being its capital, it is located south of Lorraine and Alsace, southeast of Champagne, east of Bourgogne, north of Bresse, at a distance of 400 km. southeast of Paris. The region was also known in the past as Haute-Bourgogne (Upper-Bourgogne). In 843, the region would be annexed by the House of Bourgogne. In 1678, the region was annexed to France by King of France Louis the Fourteenth. In ancient times, the region was subdivided into 12 territories; (a) Bésanconnais; (b) Amont (Gray); (c) Amous (Dole); (d) Aval (Saint-Claude de Salins); (e) Chanois (Faucogney); (f) Chaux (Lexeuil); (g) Joux and Jura; (h) Mijoux; (i) Moirans (Saint-Claude); (j) Nyon (Nyon and Gex); (k) Scodingue (Salins); (l) Jorans (Rioz); Vairais (Ornans). The county of Franche-Comté would become in modern-day France three départements; Doubs - Haute-Saöne & Jura.
>>> Gascogne (#31 Haute-Garonne - #32 Gers - #65 Hautes-Pyrénées - #46 Lot - #33 Gironde - #24 Dordogne - #47 Lot et Garonne - #81 Tarn - #12 Aveyron & #40 Landes) > Toulouse, was the capital, This southwestern region was located south of Guyenne, northeast of Béarn, west of Foix and Languedoc at about 680 km. southwest of Paris. The region was also known as Midi-Pyrénées or Haute-Garonne - The regions of Gascogne and of Guyenne were referred to as the region flanking the Garonne River, known as the Garonne River Basin – The Lower Guyenne, or Southern Guyenne or simply Gascogne, was made-up of (a) Armagnac, (b) Gascogne, (c) Astarac, (d) Rivière-Verdun, (e) Lomagne, (f) Chalosse, (g) Landes, (h) Labourd, (i) Soule, (j) Bigorre, (k) Comminges, (l) Conserans (Couserans), (m) Basque, (n) Condommois – The Gascogne and Guyenne provinces were regrouped into nine distinct départements (regions) in today’s France: Gironde (Bordeaux, its capital) - Dordogne (Périgueux, its capital) - Lot (Cahors, its capital) - Lot-et-Garonne (Agen, its capital) - Tarn-et-Garonne (Montauban, its capital) - Aveyron Rodez, its capital) - Landes (Mont-de-Marsan, its capital) - Gers (Auch, its capital) - Hautes Pyrénées and Haute-Garonne (Toulouse, its capital).
>>> Guyenne (#33 Gironde - #24 Dordogne - #46 Lot - #47 Lot et Garonne - #81 Tarn - #12 Aveyron - #40 Landes - #32 Gers - #65 Hautes-Pyrénées - #31 Haute Garonne) > Bordeaux, was the capital during various time frames of regions known in ancient times as Guyenne or Aquiyaine or Gironde. Located north of Gascogne, south of Périgord, west of Auvergne, northwest of Languedoc and south of Saintonge at a distance of about 560 km. southwest of Paris -This region is part and parcel of the Garonne River Basin which included its twin region of Gascogne. The Upper Guyenne region also known as the Northern Guyenne, or simply Guyenne, was made-up of (a) Bordelais or Guyenne (Médoc – Graves), (b) Bazadais, (c) Agenois, (d) Quercy, (e) Rouerque, (f) Périgord –The Guyenne and Gascogne provinces were regrouped into nine départements in today’s France: Gironde (Bordeaux its capital) - Dordogne (Périgueux, its capital) - Lot (Cahors, its capital) - Lot-et-Garonne (Agen, its capital) - Tarn-et-Garonne (Montauban, its capital) - Aveyron (Rodez, its capital) - Landes (Mont-de-Marsan, its capital) - Gers (Auch, its capital) - Hautes Pyrénées (Tarbes, its capital) - Haute-Garonne (Toulouse, its capital)
>>> Île-de-France (#75 Paris - #77 Seine et Marne - #78 Yvelines - #91 Essonne - #92 Hauts-de-Seine - #93 Seine Saint-Denis - #94 Val de Marne - #95 Val d’Oise) > Paris, being its capital, it was located south of Picardie, east of Normandie, Perche, Beauce, northeast of Orléannais, and west of Champagne. Ile de France was formed into a province of France in the 15th century.The name Ile-de-France denote an administrative region made-up of 8 départements; (a) Ile-de-France (Grand Parisi or the Diocese of Paris) plus Petit Parisi (an ancient diocese of Paris with Louvres, the latter was then the capital); (b) Beauvaisis; (c) Brie Francaise (Brie-Comté-Robert); (d) Gatinais (Nemours); (e) Hurepoix (Dourdan); (f) Laönnais – Noyonnais – Soissonnais – Valois (Crépy-en-Valois); (g) Vexin Francais (Pontoise); (h) Mantois – Princerais (Poissy). Ile-de-France would form eight départements in modern-day France; Paris – Essonne (Évry, its capital) – Hauts de Seine (Nanterre, its capital) – Seine et Marne (Melun, its capital) - Seine Saint-Denis (Bobigny, its capital) – Val de Marne (Créteil, its capital) - Val d’Oise (Pontoise, its capital) - Yvelines (Versaille, its capital).
>>> Languedoc (43 Haute Loire - #07 Ardèche - #48 Lozère - #30 Gard - #34 Hérault - #11 Aude - #81 Tarn - #31 Haute Garonne) > Toulouse, being its capital, it is located west of Provence and Dauphiné, southwest of Lyonnais, south of Auvergne and Guyenne, east Gascogne and north of Foix and Roussillon. The area is located at a distance of 680 km south of Paris. During the 13th century, the region would be annexed by the Kings of France to the Crown. In ancient France, Languedoc was composed of 11 different territories; (a) Toulousan; (b) Albigeois; (c) Lauraguais (Castelnaudary); (d)Carcassez (Carcassonne); (e) Razez (Limoux); (f) Beziers or Bezares; (g) Gevaudan (Mende); (h) Vivarais (Viviers); (i) Velay (Le Puy); (j) Lodevois; (k) Alais (Ales). – In modern day France, the province of Languedoc would contribute to the creation of 8 départements; Haute-Loire (Le Puy-en-Velay, its capital) – Ardèche (Privas, its capital) – Lozère (Mende, its capital) – Gard (Nimes, its capital) – Hérault (Montpellier, its capital) - Tarn (Albi, its capital - Haute-Garonne (Toulouse, its capital) – Aude (Carcassonne its capital)
>>> Limousin (#19 Corrèze & #87 Haute-Vienne) > Limoges, being its capital, an ancient land situated on the northwest portion of the Massif Central. The region is bordered to the north by Marche, to the east by Auvergne, to the south by Guyenne and Périgord, to the west by Angoumois. Its capital is situated at 374 km south of Paris. In ancient times, the region was the cultural and political center of the Anglo-Normand dynasty. In 1607, the old country was annexed to the Crown of France by King Henri the Fourth. The ancient province of Limousin was made-up of 2 regions and 6 counties; Haut-Limousin (Upper Limousin)’ (a) Dognon (Saint-Leonard); (b) Ligoure; Bas-Limousin (Lower Limousin); (c) Turenne; (d) Uzerche; (e) Xaintrie (Rilhac); (f) Yssandonnais. In modern day France, the ancient Anglo-Normand dynasty of Limousin would contribute to the creation of two départements; Haute-Vienne (Limoges, its capital) – Corrèze (Tulle, its capital).
>>> Lorraine (#54 Meurthe et Moselle) > Nancy, being its capital, it is located west of Alsace along the German border, northeast of Champagne, north of Franche-Comté, at a distance of the capital of Nancy of approximately 300 km east of Paris.The ancient kingdom was first organized into a political and cultural entity in 511, at which time it became part of the Austrasia regime (the ancient Frankish kingdom) with the city of Metz as its capital. In 870, following the signing of the treaty of Meersen, the kingdom was divided into the Kingdom of Lower Lothair, the latter named after King Lothair the First, the Carolingian Emperor and the Kingdom of Upper Lothair (Lorraine), the latter being the kingdon of Charles le Chauve. In 960 the regions of Metz, Toul and Verdun were annexed to the duchy of Lorraine. In 1552 Charles the Fifth, the latter also known as Charles Quint of France would annex the regions of Metz, Toul and Verdun. In 1766, King of France Louis the Fifteenth would grant the region the status of province. The ancient land of Lorraine was made-up of various dukedoms, among them we find; (a) Lorraine (Nancy); (b) Bar or Barrois (Bar-le-Duc); (c) Metz; (4) Toul; (d) Verdun; (e) Chaumontois (Nancy – Epinal); (f) Amance; (g) Boulay (Metz); (h) Saint-Die; (i) Blamontois; (j) Hesse (Clermont-en-Argonne); (k) Haye (Nancy); (l) Moselle (Epinal – Nancy); (m) Nitois or Nied (Saint-Avold); (n) Toullois; (o) Phalsbourg; (p) Portois (Nancy); (q) Salm; (r) Vaucouleurs; (s) Vaudement; (t) Woevre (Barrois); (u) Scarponnais (Pont-a-Mousson); (v) Vosges. Following the restitution of counties following World War Two, the regions of the Meuse and Meurthe, were regrouped into one département in today’s France; Meurthe-et-Moselle (Nancy, its capital).
>>> Lyonnais (#69 Rhône - #42 Loire) > Lyon, being its capital. This ancient province of the region of Rhône-Alpes, located between the Rhône and Saône rivers, some 460 km southeast of Paris, was bounded by Dauphiné to the southeast, Bresse to the east, Bourgogne to the north, Bourbonnais to the northwest, Auvergne to the west and Languedoc to the south. The region is known for its famous cathedrals, some of them were built in the 12th century. The region was formed in ancient France from various kingdoms and territories, among them; (a) Beaujolais au Nord (Beaujeu); (b) Lyonnais, (c) Franc-Lyonnais; (d) Gier; (e) Forez (Fleurs), plus other and smaller dukedoms. This region would be regrouped in modern-day France into two distinct départements; Rhône (Lyon, its capital) – Loire (Saint-Étienne, its capital).
>>> Maine (#72 Sarthe - #53 Mayenne) > Le Mans, being its capital, was located south of Normandie, southwest of Perche, west of Orléanais, northwest of Touraine, north of Anjou and east of Bretagne, its capital Le Mans is located about 210 km west of Paris. The region was first organized into various counties in 955. In 1481, the Duchy of Maine, which regrouped the previously enumerated independent counties, was annexed to the Crown of France. The geographical region of Maine, some 200 km west of Paris was made-up of Haut-Maine and Bas-Maine- Haut Maine was made-up of one region of; (a) Maine (Le Mans) - Bas Maine was made-up of the following regions; (b) Laval; (c) Champagne Macelle; (d) Charnie; (e) Désert; (f) Fertois; (g) Pal; (h) Perche (Mortagne); (i) Corbonnais; (j) Belemois; (k) Petit Perche or Perchet (Nogent-le-Rotrou); (l) Bas Perche or Perche Gouet (Montmirail); (m) Terres Francaises (Verneuil); (n) Thimerais (Chateauneuf-en-Thimerais). This province would contribute to the creation of two départements in today’s France; Sarthe (Le Mans, its capital) – Mayenne (Laval, its capital).
>>> Marche (#23 Creuse) > Guéret, being its capital, it is located south of Berry, southwest of Bourbonnais, west of Auvergne, north of Limousin, east of Angoumois and southeast of Poitou. Its capital of Guéret is situated at a distance of 330 km south of Paris. The region originated in 1527, in which year, it was annexed by the Crown of France. Located south of Paris, the territory was made-up of in ancient times of the regions; (a) Dunois; (b) Bermontois; (c) Raçon; (d) Franc-Alleu (Sémur) – The region in today’s France is made-up of one département; Creuse (Guéret, its capital).
>>> Nivernais (#58 Nièvre) > Nevers, being its capital, this ancient province of France is located east of Berry, west of Bourgogne, south of Champagne and north of Bourbonnais, some 250 km southeast of Paris. Its capital of Nevers, is located along the banks of the Loire river. This ancient province is first mentioned with the building of the Cathedral of Saint-Étienne in 1097 – The region was divided then into 8 territories or dukedoms; (a) Morvan (a portion of); (b) Amognes (Saint-Jean-de-Lichy); (c) Bazois (Chatillon-en-Bazois); (d) Glenon (region of the Loire river including Décize – Béard – Saint-Léger-des-Vignes); (e) Séjour (Toury-en-Séjour); (f) Vaux (Pougues); (g) Viry (Corbigny); (h) Montenoison – The Nivernais would contribute to one département in modern day France; Nièvre (Nevers, its capital)
>>> Normandie (#76 Seine Maritime - #27 Eure - #61 Orne - #14 Calvados - #50 Manche) > Rouen, being its capital, a region located on the Atlantic, west of Picardie, east of Bretagne, north of Perche, Maine, Ile de France. Its capital of Rouen is located at a distance of 125 km. northwest of Paris. The ancient kingdom had its known beginning with the conquest by the Frankish – Merovingians Kingdom in around 428. In the 9th century, the region was invaded by the Normans. In 911, the Viking King Rollon would invade the territory. In 1106, Normandie would become French again. In 1420, Britain would conquer the region. In 1436, France would re-establish its ownership. In 1468, King of France Louis the 11th would grant the region the status of province. – The new province would be divided into two regions: Haute-Normandie (Upper Normandie); Basse-Normandie (Lower Normandie). Haute-Normandie was made-up of; (a) Caux; (b) Roumois; (c) Vexin Normand (Gisors); (d) Bray; (e) Ouche; (f) Lieuvin – Basse-Normandie was made-up of; (g) Auge; (h) Caen; (i) Bessin; (j) Cotentin; (k) Avranchin; (l) Bocage Normand; (m) Marches. Normandie in modern day France would be subdivided into 5 départements; Seine-Inférieure or Seine-Maritime (Rouen, its capital) – Eure (Évreux, its capital) – Orne (Alençon, its capital) – Calvados (Caën, its capital) – Manche (Saint-Lô, its capital).
>>> Orléanais (#28 Eure-et-Loir - #41 Loir-et-Cher - #45 Loiret) > Orléans, being its capital. To the north of this province we can find Perche, Beauce, Ile de France, to the east Champagne, Bourgogne, Nivernais, to the south Berry, Touraine, to the west Maine. Its capital of Orléans is located at a distance of 115 km. south of Paris. Orléanais, had its beginning under the House of Orléans with its King Philippe the Sixth, about 1328. In 1429 Joan of Arc would defeat the British in Orléans. In 1626, the kingdom would join France. The province of Orléanais was first divided into 6 regions; (a) Orléanais including the lands of Sologne, Meung, Sullias; (b) Blaisois; (c) Vendomois; (d) Beauce, including the lands of Chartrain and Gatines; (d) Dunois (Chateaudun); (e) Gatinais (Montargis) – This province would become in modern day France, the départements of: Eure-et-Loir (Chartres, its capital) - Loir-et-Cher (Blois, its capital) – Loiret (Orléans, its capital).
>>> Picardie (#80 Somme) > Amiens, being its capital, this northern region province is bordered by Flandre and Artois to the north, Champagne to the east, Ile de France to the south and Normandie to the west. Its capital of Amiens is located 132 km north of Paris, it is first mentioned as being a colony of Spain and then conquered by Henry the Fourth in 1597. The province of Picardie is first mentioned as being invaded by Britain in 1185. The region would be annexed on a permanent basis to the Crown of France in 1477. The region was then divided into two districts; Haute-Picardie and Basse-Picardie.- Haute Picardie was made-up of (a) Amienois, (b) Santerre, (c) Vermandois, (d) Thierache. Basse Picardie was made-up of (e) Calais, (f) Boulonnais, (g) Ponthieu, (h) Vimeu. The province of Picardie would form only one département in modern day France: Somme (Amiens, its capital).
>>> Poitou (#86 Vienne - #79 Deux-Sèvres - #85 Vendée) > Poitiers, being its capital, this Atlantic region province is bordered by Bretagne to the west, Anjou and Touraine to the north, Berry, Marche to the east, Aunis, Saintonge, Angoumois to its south. Its capital city of Poitiers is located some 329 km southwest of Paris. The highest percentage of pioneers to the new colony of La Nouvelle France (New France) originated from this ancient province. The Duchy of Poitou is mentioned as early as the 9th century, for a brief period the region was under British rule. In 1369 King of France Charles the Fifth would re-conquer the region and establish the ancient land as a province of the Crown. It was then divided into Upper Poitou and Lower Poitou. The region of Haut Poitou included (a) Poitou Oriental (Poitiers), Bas Poitou included (b) Fontenay, (c) Gatine (Parthenais), (d) Loudunois, (e) Mirebalais (Mirebeau), (f) Niortais, (g) Thouarsais, (h) Taimondais, (i) Vendée, (j) Bocage Vendeen, (k) Luconnais, (l) Herm – Poitou would form three départements in modern day France; Vienne (Poitiers, its capital) - Deux-Sèvres (Niort, its capital) – Vendée (La Roche-sur-Yon, its capital).
>>> Provence (#04 Alpes de Haute Provence - #13 Bouches-du-Rhône - #83 Var) > Aix, being its capital, this southern province is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to its south; Dauphiné and Comtat Venaissain to its north; Languedoc to its west. Its capital city of Aix is first mentioned in the 6th century BC, as being a Greek Province. The Romans would conquer the region in the 2nd century BC. In 1481 it was annexed to the Crown of France. The region is associated closely with its neighbors, Comtat Venaissain (Avignon); Comté de Nice (Nice). The region was divided into (a) Aix. (b) Callianex, (c) Esterel or Sterel, (d) Frejus, (e) Castellane, (f) Digne, (g) Forcalquier, (h) Aries, (i) Apt, (j) Albion or Bion, (k) Grignan, (l) Camarque, (m) Crau. The ancient kingdom was divided into 3 départements in modern day France: Basses-Alpes or Alpes de-Haute-Provence - (Digne, its capital) - Var (Toulon, its capital) - Bouches du Rhône (Marseille, its capital).
>>> Roussillon (#66 Pyrénées Orientales) > Perpignan, being its capital, this southern province on the Mediterranean is bordered to its west by Foix and Languedoc to its north.The ancient province was transformed into one département in modern-day France: Pyrénées Orientales (Perpignan, its capital)
>>> Saintonge (#17 Charente-Maritime) > Saintes, being its capital was located on the Western portion of France, slightly southeast of the ancient province of Aunis (La Rochelle) to the west, Poitou to the north, Angoumois to the east and Guyenne to the south. Its capital of Saintes is located at a distance of 450 km west of Paris. The region was annexed to France in 1375 by King of France Charles the Fifth. As early as 1604, the city of La Rochelle would become the departure point of thousands of pioneers bound for Acadia and New France. La Rochelle was also during the same time-frame, the port of international commerce with the Americas. The ancient provinces of Saintonge and Aunis were united prior to the French Revolution into one entity with one regional government. The Aunis province was subdivided into two distinct regions; (a) Aunis (La Rochelle) and, (b) Petite Flandre (Lesser Flanders) of the département (region) of Charente, north of Rochefort. – The Saintonge province was divided into two lesser regions; (c) Saintonge Méridionale (Southern Saintonge) with its capital of Saintes and; (d) Saintonge Septentrionale (Northern Saintonge) with its capital of St-Jean-d’Angely, the latter a region which included the towns, dukedoms, territories of Brouagais, Archiazes (Archias), Ile (Arvert) – These two provinces would be united into one entity of Charente-Inférieure or also named Charente-Maritime (La Rochelle, its capital).
>>> Savoie (#73 Savoie - #74 Haute Savoie) > Chambery, being its capital, this region of Central Eastern France is bordered to the west by Iserre; Ain and Jura to its west; the Alpes region to its south and Italy and Switzerland to its east. Its capital of Chambery is located at a distance of 524 km southeast of Paris. The region is first mentioned about 122 BC at which time the region was invaded by the armies of the Roman Empire. During the 9th and 10th centuries, the region would become part of the Kingdom of Bourgogne. In 1792 the ancient kingdom is annexed to France. The region was then divided as per its distinct ancestral counties; (a) Chablais (Thonon), (b) Genevois (Annecy), (c) Savoie, (d) Faucigny (Bonneville), (e) Tarentaine (Moutiers), (f) Maurienne (Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne), (g) portion of Gugey, east of the Rhone. In modern-day France the region is known as Savoie (Chambery, its capital) - Haute-Savoie (Annecy, its capital).
>>> Touraine (#37 Indre-et-Loire) > Tours, being its capital, this West Cental Region is bordered to its north by Orléanais; Maine, Anjou and Poitou to its west; Berry to its east and south. The city of Tours, its capital was first mentioned in 397, as being the religious center of the ancient kingdom of Gaule. In 1259, the region was annexed to France. Its capital of Tours is located at a distance of 235 km southwest of Paris. The province was divided into 6 regions; (a) Iseure, (b) Verron or Vairon.(c) Chinonnais, (d) Barrou, (e) a portion of Brenne, (f) a portion of Gatines. This province would form only one département in modern day France of Indre-et-Loire (Tours, its capital)
Researched and compiled by: Jacques Gagné