Lyon is situated in the southeastern part of France, in the region of Rhône-Alpes. This region counts almost six million inhabitants, and covers an area roughly the size of the Netherlands. The Rhône-Alpes region includes eight départments, among which is the Départment Rhône, to which the city of Lyon belongs. This department counts some 1.5 million inhabitants. France is the first European nation for number of municipalities (36,000). In 1966, a law established the Communautés Urbaines (CUs) in order to remedy to the existing inadequacies in the administrative structures and the geographical reality of the agglomerations.