The government announced its third offshore tender last April.
The deadline for pre-qualification is 28 February, after which energy regulator CRE has a month to assess the applications, based on financial and technical criteria.
Selected candidates will then take part in a "competitive dialogue" with the energy ministry, starting in April and lasting four to six months, to refine the tender terms and the offtake contract to be signed with utility EDF.
Discussions will include the final selection criteria, although the government said bids would be evaluated on the basis of price, optimal use of the area and environmental aspects.
At the same time, candidates will receive results of the "de-risking studies" being carried out by the state, including wind resource, geophysical and environmental aspects.
While some of the studies will not be completed until 2018, and they will probably not save much time overall, the data "will help candidates prepare their bids and evaluate risk", said Matthieu Monnier, head of offshore wind at French wind energy association FEE.
The government expects the plant to be operational in 2022, athough this seems unlikely given the delays experienced at previously awarded projects.