In rural areas a canton consists of several municipalities (frz. communes), while the larger cities themselves are divided into several cantons. Altogether it gives4039 cantons in France (conditions: 2004).
the most important function of the cantons is today that as electoral districts for the choice of the general councils of the Départements. In the context of the cantonal elections in each canton a general council (French more conseiller général) is selected. The general councils of allCantons of a Départements form together the general council (frz. conseil général) - the “parliament” - the Départements. Due to their function as electoral districts the cantons are quite often again cut, in order to adapt it to a changed population distribution.
beside it is the canton a territorial subdivision of the public administration in the context of the Dekonzentration of the central administration as well as often also a territorial subdivision of the decentralized administration of the regional administrative body section. Autonomy units like the regions, Départements and municipalities are the cantons however not. As simple administrative subdivision the canton one comesown juridical personality not too. The principal place of a canton is often seat of (branch offices of) lower state or section authorities. In each rural canton at least a Gendarmeriebrigade is stationed.
In detail see under Départements.