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The French commune of Rouchefourchat has exactly one inhabitant.

I imagine that would make mayoral elections rather boring.

Joking aside, do such tiny municipalities even have a mayor or local government with any practical power or responsibilities? Or does, for all practical purposes, the communauté de communes take over this role? In case of Rochefourchat, the Communauté de communes du Diois unites 50 communes and has a total of 11688 inhabitants, which seems more practical for purposes of local administration and politics.

According to this undated list, there are (or were) 93 communes in France with less than twenty residents including 19 with less than ten residents, so although Rochefourchat is an extreme example¹, it is not alone in being tiny.


¹Discounting nine villages destroyed in World War I and retained as municipalities with zero inhabitants for symbolic/historical purposes.

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  • 1
    Wikipedia mentions that all communes have the same powers and administrative structure regardless of their size, but doesn't give much information as to what that involves.
    – Stuart F
    May 11 at 10:46
  • For what it's worth, the pure concept of tiny populations in rural areas at the smallest subdivision of local government isn't unique to France (e.g. among English civil parishes you have en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hood_Grange).
    – origimbo
    May 11 at 13:49
  • I imagine that this might make sense in terms of taxes, property rights, etc. However, there may be also a historical quirk to this. May 11 at 14:51
  • 1
    @origimbo True, but when looking at a table of the number of local authority units for EU/EEA countries, France does stick out. In parts of Germany, tiny municipalities also exist, but have no own administration. In other countries (Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark) small municipalities are forcibly merged with larger ones (where the limit may be as large as 10–20 thousand inhabitants).
    – gerrit
    May 11 at 15:32
  • A useful resource in french: Guide du maire (The guide of the mayor,more than 600 pages).
    – mouviciel
    May 13 at 11:16

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