Île-de-France (province)
The province of Île-de-France (il də fʁɑ̃s) or Isle de France (as it was once written, as sometimes in English, especially in old publications) is an historical province of France
Provinces of France
The Kingdom of France was organised into provinces until March 4, 1790, when the establishment of the département system superseded provinces. The provinces of France were roughly equivalent to the historic counties of England...

, and the one at the centre of power during most of French history
History of France
The history of France goes back to the arrival of the earliest human being in what is now France. Members of the genus Homo entered the area hundreds of thousands years ago, while the first modern Homo sapiens, the Cro-Magnons, arrived around 40,000 years ago...

. The historical province is centred on Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

, the seat of the Crown of France, but it does correspond exactly to the present-day région Île-de-France
Île-de-France (région)
Île-de-France is the wealthiest and most populated of the twenty-two administrative regions of France, composed mostly of the Paris metropolitan area....

: some parts of the historical province now are incorporated in the present-day region of Picardy, whereas other parts of the present-day région Île-de-France
Île-de-France (région)
Île-de-France is the wealthiest and most populated of the twenty-two administrative regions of France, composed mostly of the Paris metropolitan area....

 are taken from the historical province of Champagne
Champagne, France
Champagne is a historic province in the northeast of France, now best known for the sparkling white wine that bears its name.Formerly ruled by the counts of Champagne, its western edge is about 100 miles east of Paris. The cities of Troyes, Reims, and Épernay are the commercial centers of the area...


The name Isle de France first appeared in 1387 when the term "France" began to designate territories of the Crown, replacing the pays de France ("pays" means "region/county" as well as "country"). Literally "Island of France", the name was derived from the area's situation with the rivers Seine, Marne, Oise and Beuvronne, which surround it like an island. The name may also inherit from the Frankish
Old Frankish
Old Frankish is an extinct West Germanic language, once spoken by the Franks. It is the parent language of the Franconian languages, of which Dutch and Afrikaans are the most known descendants...

 Lidle Franke / Lilde Franke, or, "little France". That is, because the "French"/Frankish kings were bilingual until the 12th or 13th century, the Frankish expression may have evolved when Francia ("Franko/n", "Franke", or "Franchonolant" in Frankish) no longer meant the entire Frankish Empire
Frankish Empire
Francia or Frankia, later also called the Frankish Empire , Frankish Kingdom , Frankish Realm or occasionally Frankland, was the territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks from the 3rd to the 10th century...

 but the smaller West Francia, and later the—even smaller—"Pays de France". The expression "Lidle Franke" / "Lilde Franke" may have persisted until the 13th century when locals quit pronouncing the "s" in "isle"; then "Lilde France" lildəfrãntsə would have been difficult to distinguish from l'Île-de-France (IPA: [lildəfrãnsə]).

The area around Paris was the original personal domain of the king of France, as opposed to areas ruled by feudal lords of whom he was the suzerain. This is reflected by divisions such as the Véxin Français and the Véxin Normand, the former being within the King of France's domain, the latter being within the Duke of Normandy
Duke of Normandy
The Duke of Normandy is the title of the reigning monarch of the British Crown Dependancies of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. The title traces its roots to the Duchy of Normandy . Whether the reigning sovereign is a male or female, they are always titled as the "Duke of...

's fief.

Historic subprovinces of the Île-de-France and their principal cities

The Île-de-Province was divided into several subprovinces (French: pays
In the later Western Roman Empire, following the reorganization of Diocletian, a pagus became the smallest administrative district of a province....

). They were not administrative areas, but historic and cultural areas going back to the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 and readily identified by their inhabitants. Here is a list of the pays which made up the Île-de-France province, with their principal cities:
  • Beauvaisis – Beauvais
    Beauvais is a city approximately by highway north of central Paris, in the northern French region of Picardie. It currently has a population of over 60,000 inhabitants.- History :...

  • Brie française – Brie-Comte-Robert
    Brie-Comte-Robert is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.Brie-Comte-Robert is on the edge of the plain of Brie and was formerly the capital of the Brie française....

  • Gâtinais français
    Gâtinais was a province of France, containing the area around the valley of the Loing, corresponding roughly to the northeastern part of the départment of Loiret, and the south of the present departments Seine-et-Marne. Under the Bourbons, the Gâtinais had already been divided between the...

     – Nemours
    Nemours is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France.-Geography:Nemours is located on the Loing and its canal, c...

  • Hurepoix
    Hurepoix is an area of Île de France, in south west of Paris, localised nowadays between départements of Yvelines, Hauts-de-Seine and Essonne, it was an old province of the French Kingdom...

     – Arpajon
    Arpajon is a commune in the Essonne department in Île-de-France in northern France.Seat of the canton, the commune is located south of Paris, accessible by the N20, and to in the north of Étampes...

    , Limours
    Limours is a commune the Essonne department in Île-de-France in northern France.Inhabitants of Limours are known as Limouriens.-References:** -External links:* * *...

  • Laonnois – Laon
    Laon is the capital city of the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France.-History:The hilly district of Laon, which rises a hundred metres above the otherwise flat Picardy plain, has always held strategic importance...

  • Mantois – Mantes-la-Jolie
    Mantes-la-Jolie is a commune based in the Yvelines department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France. It is located in the western suburbs of Paris from the center. Mantes-la-Jolie is a sub-prefecture department.-History:...

  • Noyonnais, Quart de Noyon – Noyon
    Noyon is a commune in the Oise department in northern France.It lies on the Oise Canal, 100 km north of Paris.-History:...

  • Parisis
    Parisis may refer to:*Pierre Louis Parisis, Roman Catholic bishop of the Bishopric of Langres from 1835 to 1851*Cormeilles-en-Parisis, commune in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris...

     (also known as Pays de France) – Paris
  • Soissonnois – Soissons
    Soissons is a commune in the Aisne department in Picardy in northern France, located on the Aisne River, about northeast of Paris. It is one of the most ancient towns of France, and is probably the ancient capital of the Suessiones...

  • Vexin français – Magny-en-Vexin
    Magny-en-Vexin is a commune in the Val-d'Oise department in Île-de-France in northern France.-References:** -External links:* * *...

  • Valois – Crépy-en-Valois
    Crépy-en-Valois is a large town in northern France. It is designated municipally as a commune within the département of Oise. It is located northeast of the center of Paris.-History:...

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