France focuses on slow development

French National Network

ORVIETO, Italy, 03 Jua 2022 - March 2012 was the beginning of the great adventure of our French Cittaslow Network. After Segonzac (Charente), Labastide d’Armagnac (Landes), Mirande (Gers-Gascony) became the third Cittaslow in France allowing the creation of the national network.

Ten years later, the French Cittaslow network is composed of 12 towns as Créon, Loix en Ré, Saint Antonin Noble Val, Valmondois, Samatan, Simorre, Cazaubon, Labouheyre and Lectoure joined the group. Today, many French towns ask the French Cittaslow Network about the label and wish to know what to do to obtain it and share the philosophy. At the moment, the town near Bordeaux, Le Haillan, is preparing its application form.

Life and exchanges in the French network are very rich all year long. Every city is doing the best to improve citizens environment and activities.

• Promotion of local products with “Armagnac en Fête” in Labastide ; Cittaslow markets in Mirande ; a special day dedicated to the culinary heritage with the participation of great Parisian chefs in Cazaubon ; Bio markets of local products in Lectoure, in Saint Antonin Noble Val ...

• Tree planting for newborns each year in Labastide and in Mirande.
In Mirande, an orchard of about twenty fruit trees (cherry trees, apple trees, pear trees, plum trees) will be created on a site that will later be converted into a relaxation area and picnic. Each newborn of the year, whose parents join the project, becomes the sponsor of a tree and will have his name engraved on a metal plate with the Mirande coat of arms, which is designed and realized by one of the agents of the city technical staff.

• Environment : some examples of actions.

Setting up eco-citizen gardens, inter-generational vegetable gardens, maze od wild and horticultural flowers with insects hotel in Mirande ;

Possibility of vegetating the city with the assistance of the municipality in Créon ;

Shared gardens, plantations in step of doors, water pumps available in the village, a gardening field (7000m2) to supply school canteens with fresh products in Simorre ;

Planting aromatic plants instead of annuals in Cazaubon ;

Greening operation of the city centre in Lectoure.

• Energy :
All the towns of the French Cittaslow Network are very much involved in

facilitating energy savings in terms of lighting, heating, vehicles....
A photovolataic farm with sheep to clean the site can be found in Mirande. Mirande is a positive energy city which produces 95% of its power consumption.

• Art de vivre and conviviality :
A rich panel of festivals (Oreille en place in Labastide, Country Music, Kiosq’n’Rock and “Terrasses en Fête” in Mirande, Ouvre la Voix in Créon, Sous couverture in Saint Antonin, Musique en Ré à Loix, Festi-Drôles for children in Simorre, Sam’Africa in Samatan, Festival de Dessins d’Humour in Labouheyre, l’Eté photographique in Lectoure...Music helps inhabitants to meet, to exchange.

Festi Drôle à Simorre

• Services :
Free bus transport for the elder to go to the Monday market in Mirande every week ;

Tourism and development of the architectural and natural heritage :
- Labastide has just obtained the prestigious label “Petites Cités de Caractère”; Moreover, the municipality strives to promote significant projects in order to enhance the quality of life of the population and the reception of visitors according to the spirit, the principles and the values of the Cittaslow movement. To this end an overall long-term investment Plan has been adopted last year (2020) with emphasis on renovation of heritage public infrastructure and priority actions to welcome visitors and tourists.

- Labouheyre is part of a Regional Natural Park, a mark awarded by the French administration. The Regional Natural Parks are created to protect and enhance large inhabited rural areas. Can be classified as “Regional Natural Park” a predominantly rural area with high quality landscapes, natural environments and cultural heritage. A regional nature park is organized around a concerted project of sustainable development, based on the protection and enhancement of its natural and cultural heritage.

- Simorre and Mirande are involved in a Regional Natural Park too.

-  Labastide d'Armaganc enjoys the benefit of a "Green Lane " (la Voie verte). This is an eco-touristic trail restricted to pedestrians and cyclists, recently converted from the old railway line abandoned in the early sixties. The “Green Lane” provides some 50 Km of safe cycling and walking. It is a section of the overall Scandiberian EUROVELO # 3 route expected to link Trondheim (Norway) to Santiago de Compostela (Spain) over 5122 Km.

- In Labastide, the Chapel of Géou, constructed in the XI° century on the ruins of a gallo-roman settlement of the IV° century, is situated 2.3 km far from the historical town. The Chapel houses an interesting museum exhibiting old bicycles, shirts, documents and other related items offered by international cycling champions and local supporters.

• Projects : some examples in the French Cittaslow Network

Samatan: the "Growing up outdoors in the Savès" project was launched in October 2020 by the Communauté de Communes du Savès with the active support of the French Ministry of Education, Jeunesse et Sport, and the Caisse d'allocations familiales.

Children are rarely in touch with nature and exercise less than the averagetime recommended (3 hours per day minimum). Families and teachers had a lack of knowledge of outdoor facilities and places that they could use or visit.

There is too little offered in terms of outdoor activities for families and teachers. In addition to Samatan research, the Covid-19 pandemic created both the need to find more space for children at school and access to the outdoors.

A specific budget was created for this project. Special equipments had to be bought such as boots, water bottles, rainproof ponchos, planting material, etc...8 activities are arranged, 4 managed (motor skills workshops using outdoor equipment), 4 free activities (sand pit play, water play, circus skills, skate, balance, rings...). Additional activities include music class with a local musician where the children can write and perform their own music.

The benefits are that our chidren can access the 21st century skills sets that they will need such as : creativity, collaboration, critical thinking, communication....whilst improving their physical and mental health giving them the tools to manage stress and anxiety, boosting their ego, reinforce knowledge ...

The project hasn’t only benefited children but also the community. Schools are the beating heart of a community. They are a place where parents meet, children meet, and friendships are made. Schools provide a place for families to make connections with their community.

Loix en Ré: Loix is a village of 748 inhabitants nestled in the heart of a peninsula attached to the Ile de Ré. The population has always struggled to open up infrastructure, but above all to develop the values of acceptance and solidarity that are essential to its survival. The project of the house in sharing is based on this tradition of reception and solidarity.

In the heart of the village, adjacent to the market square, the municipality decided to build a house with two vocations :

temporary accommodation and the diversity of the target groups (persons in need of temporary accommodation for economic, social, seasonal reasons, trainees, apprentices...).

a reception and animation centre, a place of life for all populations (permanent residents, secondary residents, transients...). Saving and rationalizing built surfaces is an environmental necessity that makes sense on an island where space is inherently limited.

his project envisages the pooling of living spaces (kitchen, dining room, laundry, bicycle garage, garden...) while preserving the privacy of the occupants. These common spaces should help solidarity, exchanges, avoiding isolation.
A base of 8 accommodations, modular if needed from a single room to a T3, is provided.
A reception office in connection with administrative, cultural and tourist services will be defined as a resource place for exchange, animation, sharing of information and experiences. It will be in charge of temporary accommodation, village activities, help and assistance to people.
This job-creating, structuring and supportive project, respectful of its environment, is designed to respond instantaneously and as closely as possible to daily needs while remaining on a human scale.
Mirande :
Elder people can choose to live in local residence mixing houses for families and houses for seniors. A special organization brings help to old people in their everyday life and proposes leisure activities.
Recently, was established there an eco-citizen garden in collaboration with local students, schools and associations.

-  Planting of water-efficient plants adapted to climate change ;
-  Planting of honey plants around the existing insect hotel and making bird feeders and birdhouses with recovery equipment ;
-  Creation of a place of relaxation with the plantation of lark trees for shady areas and installation of a pergola dressed with fragrant jasmines ;

- Setting up vegetable gardens in an eco-citizen approach (waste sorting, composting, seed sowing and transplanting plants) where intergenerational exchanges are promoted between residents who bring their knowledge-To do, the students of the Kindergarten and Primary School Notre Dame (a convention has been established) and the high school students who participate in the development of billboards for the plants planted and the auxiliary insects present on the site.



Chez Colette Tortoré, one of the oldest bistros in France :
There are historical traces of the Tortoré family since Isaac Tortoré was the last Protestant to have been baptized, in 1667. The Tortoré family manages since several generations a Café located in a discreet corner of the village became, over time, place of “pilgrimage” of the curious and the lovers of traditions of France of yesteryear. A timeless bistro managed by the last of the line, Colette Tortoré 89 years, until Spring 2021, when she closed the shutters and joined the retirement home of the village.
The bistro is closed now to disappointed visitors who ask news about it. We do not
does not know if the Café Tortoré will reopen one day or not.
End of a beautiful history?


After the restoration of the bell tower, the tour of the rooster! The inhabitants were able to see closely the one who watches over them. The MIRANDAIS had a very strange appointment... with the rooster of their steeple. An unusual event since the bird comes down from its perch only rarely, every thirty or forty years, in order to remake a beauty. This was the occasion for the total restoration of the church bell tower.

Works of renovation carried out in the rules of the art with a roof in chestnut shingles, allowed to return to the bell tower initial appearance. The 1.20 m high rooster emblem of the building, restored 25 years ago, serves as a weather vane but also as a lightning rod. The swing cock, designed to indicate where the wind is coming from, is equipped with a rotating axis equipped with glass balls to prevent it from soldering in case of a thunderstorm. It is fixed on the mast of a lightning rod to protect the church from the effects of lightning.

The church bell tower is now in perfect condition.

Tradition is that the rooster, the divine symbol, is presented to the inhabitants and receives a blessing in order to protect the place, before resuming its place at the top of the bell tower of the church. On Monday, July 16, 2019, at 11 am, it was taken by a team of workers in the streets of the bastide. To respect this tradition, which would go back to the 9th century, the 15 ironworkers of the company were accompanied by the mayor, the abbot and all the craftsmen who intervened on the site as well as the Mirandais who joined the procession.

A sentence from the mayor was slipped into the rooster:
«In his fable Le Coq et le Renard, Jean de La Fontaine teaches us that a
old rooster is wise and experienced”, I hope that ours restored again, continues to watch over our good city of Mirande as it has always done».