Council of Europe Cultural Routes Program (ICCE)



What is the “Cultural Paths of the Council of Europe” program?
What are the procedures for the “Council of Europe Cultural Routes” certification?
What are the advantages of the “Council of Europe Cultural Routes” certificate?
List of 30 routes through France
How to apply?

What is the “Cultural Paths of the Council of Europe” program?

France has always supported this innovative Council of Europe program initiated in 1987 by the then Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Catherine Lalumière. Thus, the Ways of Santiago de Compostela became the first to receive this label.

This program aims to demonstrate that the heritage and cultures of different European countries contribute to the common cultural heritage by offering journeys through space and time on different themes shared by many European countries.

These routes respond to the priorities of the French government policy in terms of heritage and cultural tourism: they offer pedestrian, bicycle and equestrian routes passing through many European regions and countries; They make it possible to explore a wide range of heritage, touristic and cultural interests according to the chosen themes: pilgrimage routes, historical or literary figures, tangible and intangible heritage, all kinds of arts, traditions, etc.

These routes make it possible to cooperate in many fields, from culture to heritage, education or tourism, and bring together different types of actors: professionals (SMEs-TPIs), institutions, associations, elected politicians, actors, tourism, economy, etc. Therefore, thanks to their networks, they constitute a real asset for the cultural, social, ecological and economic development of entire regions, even isolated areas.

These routes promote new forms of tourism (meaningful tourism, smart, sustainable or responsible tourism, etc.) and also aim to better distribute the flow of visitors to avoid overcrowding in certain areas. They make it possible to (re)discover our cultural and natural heritage, tangible and intangible throughout France, and offer many equestrian, pedestrian, sports, heritage and cultural activities to raise awareness among all audiences, especially the youngest.

What are the procedures for the “Council of Europe Cultural Routes” certification?

The certification application file must include business partners from at least 3 countries. A training academy is organized every year to support the project leaders. Once certified, each route undergoes an assessment every 3 years. The “European cultural route” certification is a guarantee of excellence, networks implement innovative activities and projects covering 5 action areas:

  • Research and development cooperation
  • Strengthening the memory of European heritage history
  • Education and cultural exchange for young Europeans
  • Contemporary culture and artistic practice
  • Tourism and sustainable development

What are the advantages of the “Council of Europe Cultural Routes” certificate?

The origin of this program was France, it has always supported it and wants to introduce this program to the public, institutions and professionals.

In 2019, an exhibition was held at the Ministry of Culture, within the scope of the French Presidency of the Council of Europe, with the participation of many personalities, inaugurated by Ms. Catherine Lalumière. A meeting of all routes passing through France was held in 2021 to create a dynamic in the French network.

2022 is an important year to promote this program in France:

  • Organized from May 31 to June 3, 2022 in Fontainebleau with the theme of “cultural tourism”, the annual training academy benefits from the French Presidential Label of the European Union;
  • A bilingual publication on Routes through France, which can be viewed and downloaded below, makes it possible to highlight the tremendous work carried out by the managers of these cultural routes and the heritage, touristic and cultural offerings in the regions they pass.
  • The routes are integrated into the framework of the “Destination France” Tourism Transformation Plan for the purpose of introducing them to the public, institutions and tourism professionals.

Work on designing an interactive digital map on the website of the Ministry of Culture continues.

Finally, events will soon be held at “crossroads”, symbolic points where many cultural paths meet. For example, in 2019, a few months after the tragic fire, the Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral was highlighted because it is located at the crossroads of 8 ICCE: European Jewish Heritage Trail, European Cultural Route Saint-Martin de Tours, Cluniac sites route, Route Napoléon, Route of the Impressionists, Liberation Road in Europe, Via Charlemagne and European Route d’Artagnan.

These Routes are extraordinary tools that allow citizens, professionals, private partners and institutions to come together around common European values ​​and discover our shared heritage.

List of 30 routes through France

1987 Roads of Santiago de Compostela
1993 Viking Route
1994 Via Francigena
2003 Route of the Phoenicians
2003 Railway in the Pyrenees
2004 European Route of Jewish Heritage
2005 Saint Martin of Tours Route
2005 Cluniac Sites in Europe
2005 Olive Tree Paths
2005 Via Regia
2007 TRANSROMANICA – Romanesque Ways of European Heritage
2009 Iter Vitis, ways to hang
Route of the 2010 Cistercian Monasteries
2010 European Cemeteries Route
2010 Ways of Prehistoric Rock Art
2010 European Route of Historical Spa Cities
2012 European Ceramic Route
2013 European Megalithic Culture Route
2013 In the footsteps of Huguenots and Vaudoi
2014 Art Nouveau Network
2014 Via Habsburg
2015 Target Napoleon
2015 In the footsteps of Robert Louis Stevenson
2016 Greater Region’s Fortified Cities Network
2018 Impressionism Paths in Europe
2018 Via Charlemagne
2019 Destination Le Corbusier: architectural walks
The road to liberation in Europe 2019
The European Route of 2019 Industrial Heritage
2021 European Route d’Artagnan
2021 Route Alvar Alto: 20th century architecture and design

How to apply?

Pursuant to Decision (CM/Res(2013)67), Cultural Routes and candidate networks are subject to an evaluation to obtain the “Cultural Route of the Council of Europe” certificate issued by the Governing Board composed of representatives of each. member state of the Council of Europe. Cultural Routes are certified and then regularly evaluated on the basis of compliance with criteria including:

  • include a theme that represents European values ​​and is common to at least three European countries;
  • to be the subject of transnational and multidisciplinary scientific research;
  • To develop European memory, history and heritage and contribute to the interpretation of Europe’s current diversity;
  • supporting cultural and educational exchanges for young people;
  • to develop exemplary and innovative projects in the field of cultural tourism and sustainable cultural development;
  • developing tourism products and services for different groups…

Documents must be submitted by 31st July at the latest.

More information on the website:


30 cultural routes of the Council of Europe in France

30 Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe

pdf – 47 MB


30 Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe

pdf – 47 MB