'Great East': France decides on name of new region

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'Great East': France decides on name of new region
Photo: AFP

Voters in the east of the country has settled on "Great East" as the name of their new region.


“Grand Est” won 75% of the vote, beating out the other contenders: "Nouvelle-Austrasie", "Rhin-Champagne", and "Acalie". 

The name Grand-Est was only included in the public vote at the last minute after it emerged many were not happy with the other three options.

The public ballot which ended on April 1st saw nearly 300,000 inhabitants casting their votes to have a say in the new name of their home region. 

The president of the region, Philippe Richert, announced the new name on Monday morning. 

“To preserve identities,” said Richert, “the region will keep its communication titled “Conseil régional d’Alsace, Champagne-Ardenne, Lorraine.”

But it’s not quite official just yet.

The name will be put to the vote by the Regional Assembly during their next meeting on April 29th. France’s highest administrative body, the Conseil d’Etat, will then make its decision to approve the name (or not) on October 1st, 2016. 

On January 1st of this year, 22 regions became 13, leading to identity crises all round. Up until now, the regions have simply been referred to by the names of the original regions, usually in alphabetical order.

But with as many as three regions becoming one, this proved be a bit of a mouthful.

Last month the name "Hauts de France" was chosen for the Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie region in the far north but some of the new regions like Bourgogne-Franche-Comté are staying the same.

The name changes have often led to ridicule with one person pointing out on Monday that with Hauts de Fance that could translate as Upper France and Great East, that a region in central France should be called Middle Earth after the land in fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings.


The complicated process has lead to suggestions that a far more simpler solution could be found, like naming regions after French cheeses from the area.









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