Franck Riester, Minister of Culture, on the proposal of the National Council of Cities and Countries of Art and History, decides to award the label City or country of art and history (VPAH) to five new territories: the city of Calais, the communities of communes of Villefranche-Beaujolais-Saône and Beaujolais-Pierres-Dorées, the city of Bonifacio, the city of Lunéville and the city of Toulouse, and to extend the label to a territory already labeled: the urban community Le Havre Seine metropolis.

The award of the label City or country of art and history is part of the action of the Ministry of Culture in favor of the awareness of all the public of the quality of the heritage, the architecture and the living environment. Enhancing the landscape and architecture of the XXe the Cities and Countries of Art and History Conventions signed by the communities which are thus engaged in a global approach of promotion of their territory to the inhabitants and tourists, and sustainable development. The network of Cities and Countries of Art and History actively participates in all the actions of valorization of architecture organized by the Ministry of Culture.

The story of Calais (Hauts-de-France) is linked to its strategic geographical positioning. The city intends, thanks to the label City of art and history, to reveal the riches of its territory in the eyes of its inhabitants, to facilitate the understanding of the diversity of its heritages, to encourage the participation of the inhabitants to enrich knowledge and to coordinate the actors involved in the field of heritage, architecture and mediation.

The city of Le Havre was awarded the label Ville d'art et d'histoire in 2001, which allowed the inhabitants to be resilient after the destruction caused by the Second World War. The extension of the label Country of art and history to the urban community Le Havre Seine Métropole (Normandy) to enhance the historical coherence of this territory and its identity while allowing access to heritage and culture for a distant public.

The community of communes Villefranche-Beaujolais-Saône and the community of communes Beaujolais-Pierres-Dorées (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes) receive the label Country of art and history. Subject to Lyon’s metropolitan influence, they will carry together a project of heritage enhancement that will notably allow the integration of new populations. Preserving the quality of the landscape is also a key issue in this territory’s project.

The award of the label City of art and history to the city of Bonifacio (Corsica) recognises the quality of the actions carried out in favour of knowledge and preservation of the city’s heritage in connection with several universities. The label must complement development tools such as the Grand Site Operation and the Remarkable Heritage Site to ensure a fair balance between tourism pressure and heritage preservation.

Luneville (Grand-Est) is rich in a built heritage representative of the XVIIIe century but also of the XIXe and XXe centuries. Famous for its castle, rebuilt since its fire, Lunéville also gave its name to an embroidery technique still taught. The label City of art and history will enable this city to build a cultural project based in particular on the transmission of know-how of very high quality.

The label City of art or history is allocated to the city of Toulouse (Occitania) which, since 1990, has undergone a major demographic and economic development. The valorization of its ancient heritage and its contemporary architecture will allow a better appropriation of the territory by its inhabitants, current and new, and an accompaniment of the dynamics of metropolitan development.

The National Council of VPAH, meeting on 17 April 2019, also announced the renewal of the conventions of the Cities of Art and History of Chambéry (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes), Arles (PACA), Grasse (PACA), Châlons-en-Champagne (Grand-Est) and the Pays d'art et d'histoire of Charolais-Brionnais (Burgundy-Franche-Comté) and Hautes Vallées de Savoie (Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes).

The Cities and Countries of Art and History now has 195 territories: 123 Cities of Art and History and 72 Countries of Art and History.