The commune is the lowest administrative division in France. It represents all parts of a town or a village under the same name, for example Paris, Bordeaux or Rennes. As of January 1, 2008, there were 36,781 communes in France, 36,569 of them in metropolitan France and 212 of them in overseas France. This is much more than in any other European country. Every commune in France elects a mayor. The French word commune was first used in the 12th century, from Medieval Latin communia, meaning a small gathering of people sharing a common life, from Latin communis, things held in common.
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