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Published:  3 Mar 2023

Four cities short-listed for European capital of culture 2028 in France

Bourges, Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier and Rouen have been short-listed for the title of European Capital of Culture 2028 in France.

2028 European Capitals of Culture - shortlisted cities in France

A panel of independent experts recommended the shortlist following a 4-day meeting in Paris. In 2028, France will host the European Capital of Culture for the fifth time, after Paris in 1989, Avignon in 2000, Lille in 2004 and Marseille in 2013.

France invited applications from interested cities in December 2021. Nine cities submitted applications by the deadline of 2nd January 2023: Amiens, Bastia, Bourges, Clermont-Ferrand, Montpellier, Nice, Reims, Rouen and Saint-Denis.

Being shortlisted for the title can result in significant cultural, economic and social benefits for the cities concerned, providing that their bid is part of a longer-term culture-led development strategy.

Once the relevant French authorities formally endorse the panel's recommendation, the cities will have until the autumn 2023 to complete their applications. The panel will then meet again in December this year to recommend the French city to become European Capital of Culture 2028.

In the same year, there will be two other European Capitals of Culture, one in the Czech Republic and one in a city from an EFTA/EEA country, candidate country or potential candidate participating in the EU Creative Europe programme.

How cities become European Capitals of Culture

The selection procedure has 2 rounds:

  1. a pre-selection round, following which a shortlist of candidate cities is drawn up
  2. a final selection round approximately nine months later. The selected city is then officially designated by the Member State concerned.

A panel of 12 independent experts examine the applications. The European Union institutions and bodies appoint 10 experts and the other 2, by the relevant national authorities.

The cities should prepare a cultural programme with a strong European dimension having a lasting impact. The programme must also foster the participation of the city's stakeholders as well as its various neighbourhoods and seek to attract visitors from the whole country and Europe. Finally, the candidates must also show they have the support from the relevant public local authorities and the capacity to deliver the project.


Born in 1985 from an idea of the then Greek Minister of Culture Melina Mercouri and her French counterpart Jack Lang, the European Capitals of Culture have grown into one of the most ambitious cultural projects in Europe and one of the best known – and most appreciated – activities of the EU. Their objectives are to promote the diversity of cultures in Europe, to highlight the common features they share and to foster the contribution of culture to the long-term development of cities.

Tagged in:  Creative Europe
Published:  3 Mar 2023