"Cities or Countries of Art and History" is a label awarded by the Ministry of Culture to communities that engage in an active policy of quality of heritage, architecture and living environment throughout their territory. The labelling entitles to the allocation of a grant when the project promoters request it for the development of a resource centre and for sharing information on the evolution of the territory, its history and its cultural riches, heritage and architectural.

Presentation of the device

What is the label "Ville ou Pays d'art et d'histoire"?

Created in 1985, the label "City or Country of Art and History" is awarded to territories that are committed to relying on their cultural, heritage and architectural resources to develop their territory.

The term heritage must be understood in its broadest sense, since it concerns both the whole of the built heritage as well as the natural, industrial, maritime and technical heritages as well as the memory of the inhabitants. 

The Ministry of Culture accompanies the communities throughout their process of "City or Country of art and history". A convention, which can be renegotiated every ten years, is signed between the labelled territory and the State.   

It commits the community to: 

  • recruit an architecture and heritage facilitator in charge of the implementation of the convention
  • enhance heritage and promote architectural creation and quality
  • to develop a policy of the public: sensitization of the inhabitants and of all the professionals to their architectural and landscape environment, initiation of the young public to the architecture and the heritage, reception of the tourist public
  • to set up an Architecture and Heritage Interpretation Centre (CIAP) which didactically presents the architecture and heritage of the city or country. It is a real place to welcome visitors, resources and debate for the inhabitants and the actors of the territory.

Objectives of the approach

This label commits the communities to implement a active policy in terms of heritage development and architectural quality and has many advantages. It allows the labeled territories to gain visibility, to join the national network of Cities or Countries of Art and History and to benefit from the expertise of the Ministry of Culture in several areas, including:

  • the creation and architectural quality
  • conservation and restoration
  • cultural exhibitions and programs
  • 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.  

Local authorities with which the State has signed an agreement "City or Country of art and history" may also benefit from a financial aid for:

  • the salary of an architecture and heritage facilitator
  • the scenography study of the Centre d'interprétation de l'architecture et du patrimoine (CIAP)
  • charted communication documents
  • pedagogical actions 

Would you like to know more about the label Ville or Pays d'art et d'histoire? Go here:

Am I concerned by this approach?


Examples of projects previously supported

Country of art and history of Moulins Communacy

On January 7, 2021 was signed the new convention of the label Pays d'art et d'histoire which now includes 44 municipalities. The territory of the Pays d'art et d'histoire extends to the perimeter of the agglomeration community of Moulins Communauté, with 65,000 inhabitants in a territory of 1,336 km2. It combines three types of landscape: the Bocage in the west, the Sologne bourbonnaise in the east, connected by the Val d'Allier where flows one of the last wild rivers of Europe. The Pays d'art et d'histoire project is fully in line with the community’s strategy to open up the territory while making it more attractive.


On March 3, 2022, the label "Ville d'art et d'histoire" was officially renewed in the city of Troyes for the 2022-2032 decade. 15 cities and countries of art and history are labeled in the Grand Est on a total of 206 in France.


The new agreement of the label "Ville et pays d'art et d'histoire" was signed on June 29, 2021, to confirm the place of Reims among the territories labeled on the Great East. The City of Reims has been a City of Art and History since 1987 and has two UNESCO-listed sites.

A question?

If you have any questions about supporting local authorities who have signed the City or Country of Art and History Convention, you are invited to contact the decentralized service of the Ministry of Culture in your region: