It’s not often an entire country makes a new year resolution, yet in effect that is what France has done.
From January 1st, the country’s 22 regions have been morphed into just 13 in the hope of reducing the cost of its notoriously complicated bureaucracy. The potential saving could be as high as €15bn (£12.2bn).
The two Normandy regions – Upper and Lower – have now merged to form just one region called Normandy. Perhaps more confusingly Burgundy of wine fame and its neighbour to its east Franche-Comté of cheese fame have merged to bcome Burgundy-Franche-Comté and Champagne-Ardenne is now part of Alsace and Lorraine.
Verdant Limousin has joined forces with Aquitaine and Poitou-Charente and its neighbour, Auvergne, is taken over by Rhône-Alpes.
Languedoc and Roussillon are joined by Midi-Pyrénées (each of whom, incidentally, have their own dialect), incorporating two major cities – Toulouse and Montpellier. Toulouse has become the regional capital.
Although the new borders have been drawn the names have not yet been decided. What Languedoc-Roussillon-Midi-Pyrénées and Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charente will be called after the deadline on July 2nd is anyone’s guess.
Regions whose borders have stayed intact include Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur, Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Ile-de-France, and Corsica.