You will need to update your address book. Five cities in France changed their names on Sunday January 1, 2023, after a long procedure. If their choice has been made effective with the new year, it has been recorded for several months and the publication of a decree by Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.

As Le Figaro explains, the procedure is long and begins at the level of the municipality to end at the top of the State. After a vote in the Municipal Council, the request is sent to the prefect of the department, the latter checking “compliance with the rules, in particular hyphens and accents”, explains to the daily Eric Delattre, lecturer in Management at the Lille University.

Verification made, the prefecture turned to the departmental archives service and then to the Departmental Council, in order to obtain their opinion. The change of name is then submitted to the deliberation of the General Directorate of Local Authorities. Finally, Matignon issues a decree which applies on January 1 of the following year. Be careful, the change of name cannot be the sole will of a municipality, because the latter must be based on evidence, such as archival documents when it comes to a heritage name.

Why do some municipalities want to change their name? Le Figaro evokes several possibilities, here they are:

Since 1943, 1,352 municipalities have changed names in France, according to Eric Delattre’s count, including 165 since 2000. Which are the last to have taken the plunge? Check it out below.