Urban communities in France
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This article is part of the series on
Administrative divisions of France

(incl. overseas regions)

(incl. overseas departments)

Urban communities
Agglomeration communities
Commune communities
Syndicates of New Agglomeration

Associated communes
Municipal arrondissements

Others in Overseas France

Overseas collectivities
Sui generis collectivity
Overseas country
Overseas territory
Clipperton Island

In France, urban communities (French: communauté urbaine) are the most integrated form of intercommunality in France. An urban community is composed of a city (commune) and its independent suburbs (independent communes).

The first urban communities were created by the French Parliament on December 31, 1966. Originally there were only four, found in the metropolitan areas of Bordeaux, Lille, Lyon and Strasbourg. Later, others were created in other metropolitan areas. The purpose of the urban communities was to achieve cooperation and joint administration between large cities and their independent suburbs. This step often followed failed attempts to merge the communes within a metropolitan area. The status of the urban communities was modified by the Chevènement Law of 1999.

Unlike agglomeration communities and commune communities, communes cannot leave an urban community freely.

As of January 1, 2009, there are 16 urban communities in France (all in metropolitan France), with a combined population of 7.47 million inhabitants (as of Jan. 2006 census, in 2009 limits).[1] All of the urban areas in France with more than half a million inhabitants are urban communities, except for Paris. The Île-de-France, which is one of the regions of France, effectively provides a combined administrative unit covering the Paris urban area. Some urban communities are relatively small; smaller than many agglomeration communities.

The Urban communities are administrated by a council called "conseil communautaire" (council of community), composed by a proportional representation of members of municipal councils of member towns. The council is headed by an executive composed by a president and vice-presidents elected by the council. The president may be in often cases the mayor of the main city, or the most populated city. The mayors of the others cities are often also vice-presidents of the executive, the deputies-mayors are often members of the council, also composed by members of the towns councils.

List of the 16 urban communities

(ranked by population as January 2006 census, in 2009 limits)[1]

  1. Urban Community of Lyon (Grand Lyon, or COURLY) – 1,253,179 inhabitants
  2. Urban Community of Lille Métropole – 1,107,861
  3. Urban Community of Marseille Provence Métropole – 1,023,972
  4. Urban Community of Bordeaux (CUB) – 702,522
  5. Urban community of Greater Toulouse – 651,584
  6. Urban Community of Nantes (Nantes Métropole) – 579,131
  7. Urban community of Nice Côte d'Azur – 512,160
  8. Urban Community of Strasbourg (CUS) – 467,376
  9. Urban Community of Greater Nancy (Grand Nancy) – 258,526
  10. Urban Community of Brest (Brest Métropole Océane) – 210,117
  11. Urban Community of Dunkerque (Dunkerque Grand Littoral) – 200,417
  12. Urban Community of Le Mans Métropole – 184,958
  13. Urban Community of Arras – 91,438
  14. Urban Community of Creusot Montceau – 90,406
  15. Urban Community of Cherbourg – 85,588
  16. Urban Community of Alençon – 49,634


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