The new rural paradigm requires important changes in how policies are conceived and implemented to include a cross-cutting and multi-level governance approach. Designing rural development policy for different communities or territories requires the pooling of knowledge held by a wide variety of public and private actors. Traditional hierarchical administrative structures are likely to be inadequate to administer these policies effectively and adjustments are thus needed along three key governance dimensions: horizontally at both the central and the local levels and vertically across levels of government (OECD, 2006, p. 17). Two principles characterise the new rural paradigm: a focus on places instead of sectors and a focus on investments instead of subsidies. Thus, the main purpose of this paper is to analyse the experience of the French public policy for development of rural spaces and cities – The Rural Excellence Poles. Relative to these poles, we verify the lack of the literature. However, the theme is very interesting because it is conceived within the new rural paradigm and the recent preoccupations with the rural territories.