European Capital of Culture: the match Bourges against Clermont-Ferrand


Of course, we are thinking of the first musical meeting that opens the season of festivals and musical meetings. Spring of BurgosCreated in 1977, it sets the standard in terms of creation, programming and emerging artists.

Another strong cultural symbol, the House of Culturenow rebuilt near the first Art Deco house inaugurated by Minister André Malraux in 1963.

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In 58 years, the history of the Maison de la Culture de Bourges has seen some twists

Bourges also has a strong cultural creation emerging from different neighborhoods.


A good game happens good preparation. Clermont took care of this point, since Olivier Bianchi mentioned a candidacy in 2014.

the project is old and has always been active before the eyes and ears of the general public first (with the program Efervezcas) then with institutions and cultural actors.

This long-term strategy gave way to the final sprint with an important lobbying since March, both on the Brussels side and in this vast territory of the Massif Central. And meet from May 19 to 22, place de Jaude, in Clermont, for the great meeting The Summit of Summits.

Do you know the European Capitals of Culture?

defensive weaknesses


The main weakness of a city like Bourges, with 64,541 inhabitants, lies in your size. And whoever says size obviously says financing. Even if the project brings together institutional actors, it is still limited by money and dedicated funding.

Impossible not to mention the rail service Bourges which is tricky or at least long regardless of where you start.

And despite the notoriety of its festival, Bourges can still appear very little known.


If we have to find fault with Clermont’s candidacy, let’s start with this difficulty in coming to Clermont, in any case because of train.

Among the other weaknesses, let’s note what is a challenge but also a difficulty: find the support of the populations of such a vast territory, the Massif Central. But the teams on site are constantly working to forge links.

An “intelligent” opening to the Massif Central of Clermont’s candidacy

To which, perhaps, there is also a difficulty in believing in their own qualities. A kind of Inferiority complex. Sometimes it is difficult to tell ourselves that we are the best and that we are going to win.

Two emblematic events of the two candidate cities: the Printemps de Bourges, on the left, the Clermont Europavox festival, on the right. Photos Pierrick Delobelle and Rémi Dugne

team members


The application initially has the support of four communities:

  • the city of burgos
  • the community of the Bourges Plus agglomeration
  • the departmental council of Cher
  • Centre-Loire Valley Region

Along with them, several other communities have joined the adventure of carrying the voice of the Cher prefecture. Municipalities of the department such as Saint-Amand-Montrond, Vierzon or Sancerre but also others more or less distant: Avignon, Châteauroux, Issoudun, Nevers or Tours.

Nevers supports Bourges in his candidacy

The Terres du Haut Berry community of municipalities has also embraced the cause of Bourges. To boost Bourges’ candidacy, we can also count on the glaciologist Lydie Lescarmontier and the Italian cultural economist Pie Luigi Sacco.


Support extends far beyond the city limits as the entire Massif Central is on board if. This desire to federate as widely as possible seems like a good idea -beyond better recognition by Europe- since the call has been heard and responded to in many territories.

Cécile Coulon elected president of “Clermont-Ferrand – Massif central 2028”

The idea is to sign agreements with a fortnight of places in the Massif Central: it is an exhibition by Soulages, in Rodez, with the label “Clermont-Massif Central, European Capital of Culture”, or a bet by the Book Fair of Brive, the contemporary art center of Meymac, the Cité du design of Saint-Étienne, the Aubusson Tapestries.

mayor’s eye


Mayor of Burgos Yann Galut (several on the left), highlights “the exceptional heritage” of the Cher prefecture, which he puts in parallel with “the strong amateur cultural life” in the different districts.

He also knows that mid-sized cities now attract inhabitants tired of living in metropolises. But, above all, he believes that culture is “a tremendous lever to reactivate the territory economically and socially.” Therefore, he hopes that the capital of Berry will make a difference against giants like Clermont-Ferrand.

Le Parisien makes Bourges the second city in France where it is good to telework


olivier bianchi considers that the candidacy is good “because it is old, that is seen in the main European cultural networks”. European creation is also present through “institutions” such as the short film festival, La Comédie de Clermont or the Europavox festival.

Europe will be vigilant – not to say intransigent – on four major issues in terms of cultural and territorial policies:

  • Clermont’s candidacy will have to accommodate all citizens
  • the issue of ecological transition is central
  • relationship with europe
  • reject the “Olympic Games effect”, anticipating the “capital year” later

Our editorial offices in Bourges and Clermont-Ferrand

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