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Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur


Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Region of France
Flag of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Coat of arms of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Coat of arms
Country  France
Prefecture Marseille
 • President Michel Vauzelle (PS)
 • Total 31,400 km2 (12,100 sq mi)
Population (2012-01-01)
 • Total 4,935,576
 • Density 160/km2 (410/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code FR-U
GDP (2012)[1] Ranked 3rd
Total €142.4 billion (US$183.1 bn)
Per capita €28,861 (US$37,121)
NUTS Region FR8

Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (French pronunciation: ​; Provençal: Provença-Aups-Còsta d'Azur; Italian: Provenza-Alpi-Costa Azzurra) or PACA is one of the 27 regions of France.

It is made up of:

It encompasses six departments in south-eastern France, bounded to the east by the Italian border, to the south by the Mediterranean Sea and by the principality of Monaco, to the north by Rhône-Alpes, and to the west by Languedoc-Roussillon, with the Rhône river marking its westernmost border. The six departments are:

The region logo displays the coat of arms created in the 1990s and which combines the coats of arms of the old provinces making up Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.

Economically the region is the third most important in France just behind Île-de-France and Rhône-Alpes. Its GDP in 2012 was €142.4 billion ($US 183.1 billion) and per capita GDP was €28,861 ($US 37,121).


  • Demographics 1
    • Population 1.1
    • Immigration 1.2
    • Departments 1.3
  • Geography 2
  • Politics 3
    • Political tendencies 3.1
  • Economy 4
  • Major communities 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7



Marseille forms the majority of the population of this region with a city population of 850,636 and an urban population of 1,560,921 and a metropolitan population of 1,720,941. Marseille has the second largest city population in all of France behind Paris and the third largest metropolitan population just behind Paris and Lyon respectively.

Nice is host to the second largest population concentration in this region with a city population of 344,875, and an urban population of 1,005,230 which makes Nice the fifth largest city in France.


According to a study in 2009, nearly 40% of all newborns in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur in 2007 had at least one parent of an immigrant background- mostly Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Maghrebi. This is the second highest rate after Île-de-France (Greater Paris) at about 56%.[2] Since the 1960s, the region has been a major immigration centre into France, mostly due to mediterranean immigration, including countries like Portugal, Spain, Italy, Algeria and Morocco.


PACA is divided into 6 departments according to French administration, these are- Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhone, Var and Vaucluse.

Department Area Population Prefecture Sub-prefectures Density
04 Alpes-de-Haute-Provence 6,944 km2 (2,681 sq mi) 161,241 Digne-les-Bains Barcelonnette, Castellane et Forcalquier 23/km2 (60/sq mi)
05 Hautes-Alpes 5,549 km2 (2,142 sq mi) 139,554 Gap Briançon 24/km2 (62/sq mi)
06 Alpes-Maritimes 4,299 km2 (1,660 sq mi) 1,084,428 Nice Grasse 252/km2 (650/sq mi)
13 Bouches-du-Rhône 5,112 km2 (1,974 sq mi) 1,984,784 Marseille Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Istres 385/km2 (1,000/sq mi)
83 Var 5,973 km2 (2,306 sq mi) 1,021,669 Toulon Brignoles et Draguignan 196/km2 (510/sq mi)
84 Vaucluse 3,566 km2 (1,377 sq mi) 546,314 Avignon Apt et Carpentras 151/km2 (390/sq mi)


This region has a total area of 31,400 km2.

This region is very famous for it being host to the Côte d'Azur (French Riviera) which spans the famous cities of Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez.

It has a wide variety of lands from the Alps mountains to plains and coastal areas like Nice and Marseille which form the majority of the land here. Overall, the region is made up of 6 departments. The region has the Mediterranean coastline to which the majority of its population inhabits. It borders Italy to the east and the French department of Rhone-Alpes to the north and Languedoc-Rousillon to the west.

The rivers of Rhone, Var and Arc run through the region.


The Regional Council is the legislative body of the region. The President of the regional council is Michel Vauzelle of the Socialist Party (PS) since 1998.

Political tendencies

In the recent years the Union for a popular movement (Union pour un mouvement populaire) gained heavy support in the region and with the 2015 departmental elections, they control the region which was narrowly controlled by the Socialist Party (Parti Socialiste).

The French Communist Party had several strongholds since the 1920s including Aubagne, Draguignan, La Ciotat, Beausoleil, Martigues, Gardanne, Arles and some suburbs of Marseille. Though not enough to win the elections, the party usually represented 10% of the votes. Beginning with 2002 this declined to 4% and by 2012, had been under 2%

The main competition seen in the politics of this region is between the Union for a popular movement (Right) (UMP) and the Socialist Party (Left) (PS), both deferring in its opinions. According to the most recent elections, the political tendencies are as follows-

Élection / collectivités Union for a Popular Movement (centre-right) Socialist Party (centre-left)
Presidential Election (2012) (2nd tour) 57.62 % (Nicolas Sarkozy) (UMP) 42.38% (François Hollande) (PS)
Regional Councils 51 (UMP-NC-DVD-FN) 72 (PS-PRG-Verts-PCF-DVG)
General Councils 5 1
Deputies 27 15
Senators 13 9


The regional income per capita is close to national average. The income inequalities are however higher than in other regions: the region is ranked 4th in terms of % of population living above the poverty line. The region is ranked third in terms of GDP. Between 2007 and 2011, the region registered an average annual growth rate of 1.6% GDP (Eurostat), close to the national average annual growth rate of 1.5%. Representing 7.2% of the national GDP over the period, the region is an important economic powerhouse.

In 2013, the region concentrated 7.4% of national employment, with an employment rate of 89.2%. The region's employment has two main characteristics: A higher concentration of seniors than in the rest of France (respectively 27.1% and 24.1% in 2013); A high unemployment rate of 10.8% in 2013 (the national rate was 10.3%). With more than 80% of the regional employment in services in 2010, the regional economy is mostly oriented towards service activities, above the national average of 76.3%. The sector grew between 2000 and 2010 (3.1% on annual average vs. 2.1% in France). While 49% of the labour force is employed in public administration (similar to the national level), the region concentrates more on commercial activities than financial ones; principally because of tourism. 34% of the labour force is employed in retail and trade, against 32% at the national level. Moreover, the sector strongly contributes to growth of the added value (81.5% vs. 77.3% at the national level). The industrial sector, including construction, concentrates 17.1% of the regional employment (vs. 20.6% in France), and contributes to 9.3% of the gross added value, 3.2 points below the French level. Employment in the agricultural sector is lower than at the national level (2.4% against 3.1%). However, it has grown at a rate of 4.1% on annual average between 2000 and 2008, while the rest of the country saw its agricultural employment decline (-2.4%). According to the French national statistical institute (INSEE), the region is characterised by a strong presence of SMEs of less than 500 employees, which represent 91.2% of local enterprises (higher than the national average of 90.9%). Retail activities and tourism explain these figures.

The region's economy is dependent on tourism like most coastal places but also a majority of its economy is dependent on coastal activities.

Paca is the 3rd richest French region and ranks 19th at the European scale. It is going well mainly thanks to its attractivity in terms of tourism; it is indeed one of the favourite worldwide tourist destination welcoming about 34 million tourists every year. The service sector is predominant and provides a good many jobs. In 2009, the region is admittedly affected by the global economic crisis but to a small extent however. It gets out while the going is good and is (after the Paris area) the 2nd French region as regards the setting up of companies. Paca’s motto and key of success could be summed up in one word: innovation.

If tourism is the driving force of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, the region is also in the lead when it comes to innovative sectors, such as high technology, biotechnology, microelectronics... Education for its part is well developed with various universities, international schools, preparatory classes for specialist university courses, engineering, business schools... All these institutes of higher learning help to contribute to the human capital needed on the region to meet current technological challenges.

The region has a total GDP (2012) of €142.4 billion (US$183.1 bn), the third highest in France. It has a Per Capita GDP of €28,861 (US$37,121), slightly higher than the French average. According to a recent survey, a person living in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur has an average annual income of about €37,489 (US$45,755).

Major communities


The largest cities in the region are Marseille (administrative capital city of the region), Nice, Toulon, and Aix-en-Provence, each with a population exceeding 100,000 inhabitants at the 1999 census. Along with Marseille, Nice is the second most important city in the region with a city proper population of about 350,000 and an urban population exceeding 1 million.

Marseille with an urban area of 2 Million inhabitants, is the largest and capital city of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region. It is also the second most populated city in France, just behind Paris and the city with the third largest metropolitan population in France, behind Paris and Lyon respectively.

Along with Nice and Marseille the region is also made internationally popular with Cannes which although has a population of only 73,603 (2012) but is host the annual Cannes film festival which has highly popularized the region. Also, Arles was a world famous city as Vincent Van Gogh lived there and painted 300 paintings there at the time.

Toulon is a large military harbour on the Mediterranean coast, with the French naval base placed there. It is the capital of the Var department in the region.

Also, Aix-en-Provence has long been a university town, and to this day remains the most important educational centre in the region.

Below is a list of the most populated cities in the region along with their population (city proper) according to the most recent census.


  1. ^  
  2. ^ Bardakdjian-Michau J, Bahuau M, Hurtrel D, et al. (January 2009). "Neonatal screening for sickle cell disease in France". J. Clin. Pathol. 62 (1): 31–3.  

External links

  • Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur : soft singsong accents- Official French website (in English)
  • Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur at DMOZ
  • Conseil régional Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Official website
  • Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Guide
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