Created in 1985, the label «Ville ou Pays d'art et d'histoire» is awarded by the Minister of Culture, after the opinion of the National Council of Cities and Countries of Art and History, to the communes or groups of communes that engage in a policy of awareness of the inhabitants, visitors and young audiences to the quality of the heritage, architecture and living environment. This label succeeds the appellation «Ville d'art» which disappeared in 2005. To date, the national network has 190 Cities and Countries of Art and History: 119 Cities of Art and History and 71 Countries of Art and History.
What is the label «Ville ou Pays d'art et d'histoire»?
What are the methods of awarding the «City or Country of art and history» label?
What are the advantages of the «Ville ou Pays d'art et d'histoire» label?
How to apply?
The label «Ville et Pays d'art et d'histoire» qualifies territories that, aware of the stakes represented by the appropriation of their architecture and heritage by the inhabitants, engage in an active approach of knowledge, conservation, mediation and support for the architectural quality and living environment.
It is submitted to theNational Institute of Industrial Property (INPI). The implementation of the label is based on a partnership between the State and local and regional authorities, formalized, after the award of the label, by the signing of an agreement renegotiable every ten years.
The label is awarded by the Minister of Culture on the advice of the National Council of Cities and Countries of Art and History.
Four main criteria prevail in the award of the VPah label:
- a real political commitment by the candidate communities to make culture, architecture and heritage a local development project.
- a relevant scope defined based on criteria of historical, geographical, demographic and cultural coherence;
- the means used by the candidate community to ensure knowledge, conservation, protection and enhancement of the landscape, architecture and heritage as well as the ability to respect over time the commitments related to the award of the label in material, financial and human terms;
- the explicit implementation of the VPah project in the local policies of the candidate communities.
The procedure for the appraisal of applications for the VPah label is divided into several stages: the definition of a scope, the writing of a brief, the writing of the application file and finally the registration of the application for a session of the National Council.
The candidate communities develop these different elements of application, which are the subject of the Regional Directorate of Cultural Affairs (DRAC) and the Directorate General of Heritage (DGP). The National Council of Cities and Countries of Art and History (CNVPah) gives an opinion to the Minister of Culture. When this opinion is favourable, an agreement is signed by the community and the DRAC for a period of 10 years.
The commitments of the Convention relate to:
- the recruitment of an architecture and heritage leader in charge of the implementation of the convention;
- valuing heritage and promoting architectural quality;
- the development of a public policy: sensitization of the inhabitants to their architectural and landscape environment, initiation of the young public to architecture and heritage, reception of the tourist public;
- the establishment of a Centre d'interprétation de l'architecture et du patrimoine (CIAP), which didactically presents the architecture and heritage of the city or country. It is a real place for visitors, resources and debate for residents and tourists.
The label is also a valorization mechanism, which comes with various advantages:
- Mention in communication documents distributed by the Ministry of Culture;
- Authorization to use the label and its logo on all communication and signage documents;
- Assistance for the publication of leaflets presenting the City or the Country of Art and History carried out in compliance with the VPah graphic charter and for the publication of a VPah guide within the framework of a tripartite partnership City or Country of Art and History/Editions du patrimoine/Direction general inheritance.
Advice and expertise
Possibility of receiving assistance from DRAC services in the areas of:
- conservation and restoration; cultural exhibitions and programmes;
- written, human and digital mediation;
- arts and cultural education;
- the reception of people with disabilities;
- the publishing.
- the professionalization of the sector by opening the right of access to the training provided by the departments of the Ministry of Culture: a training "taking up the post" and an annual training seminar for animators of architecture and heritage.
Networks and partnerships
Cities and Countries of Art and History are a national network. This network of exchanges, experiences and know-how benefits from national promotion through leaflets, posters and a communication on the website of the Ministry of Culture.
The regional network of VPah is run by the DRAC. The Directorate-General for Heritage organizes once a year an information and exchange meeting for all the animators of architecture and heritage.
The Ministry of Culture provides financial support to local authorities upon submission of a request for assistance to the project and defined annually subject to the vote of the State budget.
The request for labelling may be requested by a municipality or an inter-municipal cooperation institution.
The application letter is to be sent to the regional cultural affairs directorate the region in which the territory is located.
Legal and regulatory framework:
The «City or Country of Art and History» label in the regions
- Provence-alp es-Côte d'Azur