Proximity democracy is far from being limited to France. On the contrary, it is without doubt currently the most widespread participatory dynamic in Europe, in very different legal and political contexts. A wide variety of terms are used: ‘neighbourhood democracy’ in the United Kingdom, ‘bürgernahe Verwaltung’ (‘citizen-oriented administration’) in Germany, ‘pieni demokratia’ (‘small democracy’) in Finland, ‘wijkaanpak’ (neighbourhood approach) in the Netherlands and so on. Proximity is based on various procedures and, in particular, on neighbourhood-level management, committees and funding. Very often, urban regeneration policies have been test beds for experiments that promote citizen participation and participatory mechanisms have often been developed initially in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Everywhere, or almost everywhere, the micro-local level is fruitful ground for participatory experiments. Generally, participation is also seen as synonymous with a more intense level of communication between decision-makers and citizens. Why has this approach been so successful? To what extent does it affect participatory budgeting experiments and how do the latter affect proximity democracy? Is France a typical case or an exception in the matter? To answer these questions without going into a detailed description of all the proximity participation procedures in existence, which would exceed our remit, we will satisfy ourselves with briefly describing three experiments, all of which are categorised as proximity-related: Mons in Belgium, Utrecht in the Netherlands and Palmela in Portugal. 1