How much are village mayors paid in France?

Theoretically mayors do not receive a salary but they do have an allowance, which can be generous

The office of mayor usually comes with an allowance, variable on the size of the commune
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Reader question: How are the salaries of local mayors worked out? Is it enough to live on?

Officially-speaking, no ‘salary’ comes with the position of mayor.

Article L. 2123-17 of the French General Code states “the duties of mayor, deputy mayor and councillor are free of charge”.

However, mayors are given une indemnité de fonction (an allowance linked to their position), which cannot exceed certain set levels.

This is linked to the size of the commune and so mayors of villages, which traditionally are defined as having fewer than 2,000 inhabitants, do not receive a large amount.

According to Senator Jean Puech, in a report published in 2007: “The allowances paid to local elected representatives… compensate for the expenses incurred by elected representatives and are a lump-sum payment in return for the constraints they have to bear, in particular as a result of the reduction in their professional activity.”

For mayors of larger towns this payment is generally sufficient to cover living costs, but for smaller communes it can fall below minimum wage.

Maximum allowances

As stated, there is a ‘maximum allowance’ that can be paid to mayors – for example, communes with a population of fewer than 500 can only pay their mayors a maximum of €1,041.91 per month according to the latest grid published this summer.

The mayor’s allowance is agreed by the council and comes from its budget.

However, according to the government department concerned with local councils, it should be set at the maximum, unless the council decides otherwise on the mayor’s request.

The table below shows the full maximum allowances for each commune size:

Number of inhabitants in the commune

Maximum remuneration for mayor

Less than 500

1 041,91 €

500 to 999

1 646,62 €

1,000 to 3,499

2 108,33 €

3,500 to 9,999

2 247,25 €

10,000 to 19,999

2 655,84 €

20,000 to 49,999

3 677,32 €

50,000 to 99,999

4 494,50 €

100,000 to 200,000

5 924,57 €

More than 200 000

5 924,57 €

Marseille and Lyon

2 962,28 €


7 865,38 €

Note: Marseille’s and Lyon’s mayors have a lower salary because each arrondissement within the city also has its own mayor. Whilst this is the case in Paris too a Parisian mayor's allowance is still the highest in France.

The minister for local government and rural affairs, Dominique Faure, recently stated: “The allowance paid is not enough for a certain number of mayors who are obliged to work in parallel. It's not easy being a mayor these days, and people are getting discouraged.”

A senatorial report showed that more than 1,000 mayors elected in 2020, out of some 35,000, had resigned part-way through their mandate.

Read more: Local French officials lose appetite for job despite public confidence

The minister said she is looking to implement a programme to “improve the conditions under which local elected representatives carry out their duties.”

This could include a higher level of payment but Ms Faure ruled out individualised compensation linked to the previous job that a mayor may be giving up (or spending less time doing) to fulfil their council role.

She has stated that she thinks compensation of mayors of populations of 3,500 to 100,000 in particular, should be reviewed as a priority.

This could result in mayors being paid an official salary for the first time at some future date.

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