An arrondissement is an administrative division in France, most of the nations which were its former colonies in Africa and some other French-speaking nations, as well as in Belgium and the Netherlands.



The 100 French departments are divided into 342 arrondissements, which may be translated into English as districts. The capital of an arrondissement is called a subprefecture. When an arrondissement contains the prefecture (capital) of the department, that prefecture is the capital of the arrondissement, acting both as a prefecture and as a subprefecture. Arrondissements are further divided into cantons and communes.

Municipal arrondissement

A municipal arrondissement (French: arrondissement municipal, pronounced ), is a subdivision of the commune, used in the three largest cities: Paris, Lyon and Marseille. It functions as an even lower administrative division, with its own mayor. Although usually referred to simply as an "arrondissements", they should not be confused with departmental arrondissements, which are groupings of communes within one département. The official translation into English is 'District'


Belgium is a federalized country which geographically consists of three regions, of which only Flanders (the Flemish region) and Wallonia are subdivided into five provinces each; the Brussels Capital Region is neither a province nor is it part of one.

In Belgium, there are administrative, judicial and electoral arrondissements. These may or may not relate to identical geographical areas.


Subdivisions of the canton of Bern include arrondissements administratifs since 2010.


In the Netherlands an arrondissement is a judicial jurisdiction, comprising a number of communes.


In the province of Quebec, the cities of Montreal, Quebec City, Saguenay, Longueuil, Sherbrooke, and the municipality of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge are divided into arrondissements, called boroughs in English.


Each of Haiti's ten departments is sub-divided into arrondissements.

Nations of Africa

Most nations in Africa which had been colonised by the French have retained the arrondissment administrative structure. These are normally subunits of a Department, and may either contain or be coequal with Communes (towns). In Mali the arrondissment is a subunit of a Cercle, while in some places arrondissements are essentially subdistricts of large cities.

  • Each of Senegal's departments are subdivided into arrondissments. Dakar is further subdivided into arrondissements; see Arrondissements of Senegal.
  • Between 1962 and 2002, each of Niger's departments were subdivided into arrondissments; see Arrondissements of Niger: Since 2002 they have been renamed Departments (with the former Departments renamed Regions).
  • Each of Mali's Cercles are subdivided into arrondissments; see Cercles of Mali for maps of arrondissments by Cercle.
  • Each of Benin's departments are subdivided into communes, which are in turn subdivided into arrondissments: they sit above villages in Benin's structure; see Communes of Benin for maps of communes by Department.
  • Each of Cameroon's departments are subdivided into arrondissments: they sit above subdistricts and communes in Cameroon's structure; see Departments of Cameroon for maps of arrondissments by Department.
  • Since 2002, Chad retains arrondissments only in the city of N'Djamena, which is divided into 10 municipal arrondissements.
  • Djibouti retains arrondissments only in the city of Djibouti City, which is divided into six arrondissements.
  • Morocco's Cercles are subdivided into communes rurales, municipalities, communes urbaines, and arrondissements, depending on the classification of the community.
  • The Republic of the Congo, retains arrondissments only in the city of Brazzaville, which is divided into seven arrondissements. See Administrative divisions of the Republic of the Congo.