French mayors
Research by Brian Baker and Guy Kervella

ON THIS PAGE: French local government ||| Mayors of largest French cities |||

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World Mayors and politics
Voter turnout - an international comparison

Largest cities in the world and their mayors (2017)
• Largest cities with women mayors (2017)
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Belgian Mayors (2016)
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• French Mayors (2017)
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The 2016 World
Mayor Honours

1 Bart Somers, Mechelen, Belgium

2 Wolfgang G Müller, Lahr, Germany

3 Georgios Kaminis, Athens, Greece

4 Guisi Nicolini, Lampedusa, Italy

5 Richard Arnold, Schwäbisch Gmünd,

6 Mirjam van 't Veld, Amstelveen Netherlands

7 Spiros Galinos, Lesbos, Greece

8 Pavel Adamowicz, Gdansk, Poland

9 Damien Carême, Grande-Synthe, France

10 Henriette Reker, Cologne, Germany


Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris

Jean-Claude Gaudin, Mayor of Marseille

Eric Piolle, Mayor of Grenoble

Martine Aubry, Mayor of Lille

Olivier Bianchi, Mayor of Clermont Ferrand

French local government
5 October 2016: Mainland France consists of 36,569 municipalities (communes) in 22 regions. In addition there are 212 communes in French overseas territories. Council elections are held every six years. The last one was held in March 2014. The first task of a newly constituted council is to elect a mayor, whose term of office is six years. If a mayor is appointed to another post in government, a deputy performs his/her duties. A mayor’s responsibilities include: Civil registration, culture, economy, education, environment, public order, roads, social welfare, urban planning.

Despite enormous differences in population, each French commune have a mayor (maire) and a municipal council (conseil municipal) who jointly manage the commune from the mairie (city hall), with exactly the same powers no matter the size of the commune (with the city of Paris as the only exception, where the city police are in the hands of the central state, not in the hands of the mayor of Paris). This uniformity of status is a clear legacy of the French Revolution, which wanted to do away with the local idiosyncrasies and tremendous differences of status that existed in the kingdom of France. French law makes allowances for the vast differences in commune size in a number of areas of administrative law. The size of the municipal council, the method of electing the municipal council, the maximum allowable pay of the mayor and deputy mayors all depend on the population band into which a particular commune falls. FULL ARTICLE ON FRENCH GOVERNMENT

Mayors of the largest French cities
City, size
and website
(Mr, Ms)
Profile &
Aix en Provence
Popl: 142,000
Maryse Charton also known as
Maryse Joissains-Masini (Ms)
Elected 2001, re-elected 2008, 2014 Born 1942
Member of National Assembly
Former university lecturer and lawyer
President of Communaute d’Agglomeration Aix en Provence
Previously member of Regional Assembly
Party: LR (The Republicans)*

Popl: 132,000

Brigitte Fouré (Ms) Elected 2014 Born 1955; University Lecturer;
Party: Nouveau Centre
Popl: 150,000
Christophe Béchu; (Mr) Elected 2014 Born 1974; Businessman; President of Angers Loire Métropole Urban District;
Party: LR*
Popl: 107,000
Georges Mothron (Mr) Elected 2014. Previously elected 2001 – 2008 Born 1948
Former National Assembly member
Party: LR
Popl: 96,000
Cecile Helle (Ms) Elected 2014 Born 1969
Secured 46.8% beating off a strong National Front challenge
Party: PS* (Socialist Party)
Popl: 117,000
Jean-Louis Fousseret (Mr) Elected 2001. Re-elected 2008, 2014 Born 1946
Technocrat background
Former National Assembly member
President of Grand Besancon agglomeration since 2001
Party: PS*
Popl: 244,000
Alain Juppé; (Mr) Elected 1995-2004; 2006 and again in 2014 Born 1945; Science Po and INA graduate; Currently Minister for Foreign Affairs; Prime Minister 1995-97; Several times minister under Presidents Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy;
Party: LR*
Popl: 117,000
Pierre-Christophe Baguet (Mr) Elected 2008. Re-elected 2014 Born 1955
Member National Assembly
President Val de Seine agglomeration since 2008
Party: LR*
Popl: 139,000
François Cuillandre; (Mr) Elected 2001, 2008; Next elections 2014 Born 1955; Science Po and Law graduate; DOM-TOM Minister 1988; Law lecturer Brest University 1993; President of Brest Métropole Océane Urban District;
Party: PS*
Popl: 107,000
Joel Bruneau Elected 2014 Born 1963
Public official 2002 – 2012
Member National Assembly 2010 – 2014
President Caen la Mer agglomeration
Party: LR*
Clermont Ferrand
Popl: 141,000
Olivier Bianchi; (Mr) Elected 2014 Born 1970
President of Clermont Urban District;
Party: PS*
Popl: 153,000;
Francois Rebsamen Replaced Alain Millot in 2015.
Formerly Mayor 2001 – 2014
Born 1951
Member of Government of France 2014-2015
Member of Senate 2008 – 2014
Party: PS*
Popl: 160,000
Eric Piolle; (Mr) Elected 2014 Born 1973
Engineer. Sacked by Hewlett Packard in 2011 for refusing to lead a re-location process.
Regional Assembly member 2010 – 2014
Party: Green
Le Havre
Popl: 172,000
Édouard Philippe; (Mr) Elected 2010 and again in 2014 Born 1970;
Lawyer; President of Le Havre Urban District;
Party: LR*
Le Mans
Popl: 144,000
Jean-Claude Boulard (Mr) Elected 2001, 2008 and agian in 2014 Born 1953
Science Po, Law and ENA graduate; President of Le Mans Urban District;
Party: PS*
Popl: 231,000;
Martine Aubry; (Ms) Elected 2001, 2008 and again in 2014 Born 1950
Science Po and ENA graduate; Minister with various portfolios 1991-2000 (when Minister for Employment initiated the '35-hour working week reforms'); President of Lille Urban District;
Party: PS*
Popl: 126,000
Emile Roger Lombertie; (Mr) Elected 2014 Born 1951
Psychiatrist; Vice-President Limoges Métropole Urban Disrict;
Party: LR*
Popl: 501,000
Gérard Collomb; (Mr) Elected 2001, 2008 and again in 2014 Born 1947
Professeur agrégé of literature; Senator since 1999; President of Grand Lyon Urban District;
Party: PS*
Popl: 855,000;
Jean-Claude Gaudin (Mr) Elected 1995, 2001, 2008 and again in 2014 Born 1939
Professor of History and Geography; Senator; Town and Country Planning Minister 1995-1997;
Party: LR*
Popl: 119,000
Dominique Gros (Mr) Elected 2008
Re-elected 2014
Born 1943
Member of Moselle Departement Assembly since 1988
Former public official in environmental protection
Party: PS*
Popl: 272 00;
Philippe Saurel; (Mr) Elected 2014 Born 1957
Dentist; President Montpellier Urban District;
Party: DVG*
Popl: 104,000
Patrice Bessac (Mr) Elected 2014 Party: PCF* (French Communist Party)
Popl: 112,000
Jean Rottner (Mr) Elected 2010. Re-elected 2014 Medical physician
Worked as aide to former mayor Jean-Marie Bockel
Party: LR*
Popl: 104.000

Laurent Henart (Mr) Elected 2014 Born 1968
Former member of National Assembly
Party: UDI/Radical Party
Popl: 293,000;
Johanna Rolland; (Ms) Elected 2014 Born 1979;
Urban First female mayor of Nantes
President of Nantes Metropole since 2014
President of EuroCities 2014 – 2016
Degree in Urban Development Party: PS*
Popl: 342,000;
Christian Estrosi; (Mr) Elected 2008 and again in 2014 Born 1955;
Member of Parliament; President Nice-Côte d'Azur Urban District; Government Member 2005-10 with various portfolios (Industry, Urban & Country Plannning, etc);
Party: LR*
Popl: 151,000;
Jean-Paul Fournier (Mr) Elected 2001, 2008 and again in 2014 Born 1945;
Senator; President of Nîmes Métropole Urban District;
Party: LR*
Popl: 114,000
Olivier Carre (Mr) Replaced Serge Grouard in 2015 Born 1961
Member of National Assembly
Party: LR*
Popl: 2,230,000;
Anne Hidalgo (Ms) Elected 2014 Born 1959;
Deputy mayor under Bertrand Delanoë;
Party: PS*
Popl: 121,000
Jean-Marc Pujol (Mr) Elected 2009. Re-elected 2014 Born 1949
55% in second round
Party: LR*
Popl: 183,000
Arnaud Robinet; (Mr) Elected 2014 Born 1975;
PHD in biochemistry;
Party: LR*
Popl: 211,000;
Nathalie Appéré; (Ms) Elected 2014 Born 1975;
Member of National Assembly since 2012
First female mayor of Rennes
Politics degree
Party: PS*

Popl : 108,000

Yvon Robert; (Mr) Elected 2012 and again in 2014 Born: 1949
Goverenment posts under President François Mitterand;
Party: PS*
Popl: 109,000
Didier Paillard (Mr) Elected 2004. Re-elected 2008, 2014 Born 1954
Vice President of Plaine Commune
Until Montreuil-Sous-Bois population increase in 2015, M Paillard was the only Communist mayor of a city of over 100, 000 people
Party: PCF
Saint Etienne
Popl: 172,000;
Gaël Perdriau; (Mr) Elected 2014 Born 1973;
Party: LR*
Popl: 266,000;
Roland Ries; (Mr) Elected 2008, Re-elected 2014 Born 1945;
Member of Senate of France
President of Strasbourg Agglomeration since 2008
President of Cites Unies France 2014 – 2016.
Board member of SNCF
Party: PS*
Popl: 164,000;
Hubert Falco; (Mr) Elected 2001, 2008 and again in 2014 Born 1947
Businessman; Former Secretary of State with various portfolios (Defense, Town and Country Planning, OAPs etc…); President Toulon Provence Méditerranée ; Urban District; Senator;
Party: LR*
Popl: 458,000;
Jean-Luc Moudenc; (Mr) Elected in 2004-08 then again in 2014 Born 1960;
Party: LR*
Popl: 135,000;
Serge Babary; (Mr) Elected 2014 Born 1948;
Party: LR*
Popl: 147,000
Jean-Paul Bret (Mr) Elected 2001. Re-elected 2008, 2014 Born 1946
Vice President Region Urbaine de Lyon
Former member of the National Assembly
Party: PS*
PS: Parti Socialiste (Socialist Party)
LR: Les Républicains (The Republicans) = centre right party
PCF: Parti Communiste Français (French Communist Party)
UDI: Union des Démocrates et Indépendants (Union of Democrats and Independents) = centre/centre-right party
Radical Party: Parti Radical = centre party