The French Cittaslow Network : 13 certified cities very much involved in the promotion of the Cittaslow philosophy.
It is a network in full expansion that since 2011, date of its creation, has largely developed. All towns do their best to improve their quality of life
Segonzac (Charente), Labastide d’Armagnac (Landes), Mirande (Gers), Creon (Gironde), Valmondois (Val d’Oise), Saint Antonin Noble Val (Tarn et Garonne), Loix en Ré (Ile de Ré), Samatan (Gers), Simorre (Gers), Cazaubon (Gers), Lectoure (Gers), Labouheyre (Landes), Le Haillan (Gironde).
For Segonzac, the first Citttaslow in France, the label is above all a philosophy
which does not exclude modernity, enterprise, dynamism or even enthusiasm.
It is a good thing to propose the inhabitants, from time to time, to take a break to develop cultural activities, sports, supporting local and festive events, take care of their environment, share... go to market or at nearby producers. Cittaslow is actually a philosophy respecting our own rhythm, by renewing family, friendship and social ties.
Cittaslow is also an interesting quality approach for the municipality and its citizens, as it implies concrete improvements in the quality of life of the inhabitants.
Labastide d’Armagnac is a municipality whose main activities are agriculture and viticulture with its flagship product, the Armagnac, emblematic expression of the Bas Armagnac terroir. Member of the federation of “Bastides d’Aquitaine”, Labastide d’Armagnac was the second French town to obtain the Cittaslow label.
In June 2021, she received the label “Petites Cités de Caractère®”.
In this context, the municipality has a reference plan which outlines the priority projects and initiatives for the development of the heritage, the improvement of the living environment of the inhabitants and the welcome of visitors.
Mirande, in the south of Gers, offers a preserved environment where nature has kept its rights and harmoniously cohabits with the inhabitants. Here, quality of life remains a priority for all. Taking the time to live, produce and/or consume good and tasty, quality, authenticity, that’s all the citizen dreams of today!
In a modern world where we always live in a hurry, often missing the point, taking the time to live, well, respecting our own rhythm, protecting our environment, in all conviviality, isn’t it the key to happiness ?
A beautiful medieval checkerboard bastide founded in 1281, Mirande has preserved its beautiful arcaded square, its cathedral curiously spanning the street, its remains of fortifications, its traditional market and friendly meeting place that offers all quality local products: poultry, meats, croustade, fruits and vegetables, etc...
Creon in the 21st century is characterized primarily by the development of its urbanism and the demographic evolution that goes with it. Its population doubled between 1990 and 2015. As a result, new neighbourhoods are added to the historic neighbourhoods and hamlets. The geographical location of Creon has always allowed it to be an attractive pole. As a result, the city experienced significant business development, including a well-known weekly market - and increased services. Since the 1980s, the town hall has allowed the expansion of cultural, sports and leisure activities.
Valmondois is much involved in respecting the Cittaslow criteria and tries everyday to improve the quality of life of its inhabitants. Development of historical urban heritage, creation of public places where one can sit and converse peacefully, development of the sense of hospitality among traders, but also regulations to limit noise, development of intergenerational solidarity, development of local productions, development of public transport, etc… Cittaslow has made the fight against «junk food» a symbol of a certain way of life : Valmondois is proud to count three quality restaurants.
Saint Antonin Noble Val is located at the confluence of two rivers, the Aveyron and the Bonnette, and is today a green holiday resort where it is good to walk in the narrow streets with evocative names where at each step you discover a witness of twelve centuries of history. The village and its region are very touristic and have developed plenty of activities and visits giving a very good quality of life to inhabitants and visitors.
Loix en Ré is situated on l’Ile de Ré, connected to the mainland by a bridge that allows easy access to La Rochelle. Here, soft mobility is not an empty word: electric or thermal shuttles, secure bike paths, bike rentals, walking routes are accessible to all. The preservation of the local environment allows to discover nature reserves, birds and landscapes of marshes.
In the last years, the municipality and all the technical services of the town implement sustainable development actions that are part of a proactive policy aimed at providing a more harmonious and sustainable living environment in the long term by becoming aware of today environmental challenges.
Environmental management is at the heart of local concerns : preserving and developing biodiversity through a natural meadow on the basis of leisure activities, special honey flowering fallow, plantations of local species, an orchard, maintenance of vegetation on the edge of the lake, establishment of floating islands, management of a green area by eco-grazing (five sheep in the Hospital Enclosure) and the creation of shared gardens.
A famous large market every week in the village animates the streets of the city center and is the place to meet people and find good products.
Simorre, located in the centre of a very agricultural region, is also a welcoming place with its cottages and bed and breakfast, its discoveries for young and old (Festi'Drole, deer farms, Orchid Trail)..
A Natura 2000 site, a European ecological network of natural sites of ecological interest, has been defined on the commune.
Simorre abbey church is unique (treasure, reliquary, stalls, etc.). Today, the village surprises and marvels with its old central hall, its half-timbered and corbelled houses, its fairground and its shaded squares.
Cazaubon, small medieval village, tourist resort located at the edge of the new Occitanie region, in the Gers, heart of Gascony and South-West and at the gates of the department of Landes, is composed of seven hamlets including the spa of Barbotan-Les-Thermes.
The botanical thermal park : its mild microclimate and a ground heated by groundwater, the Adrien Barthélémy Botanical Park, offers very good conditions to the blossoming of exotic species such as bananas, palm trees, magnolias but especially the pink lotus, whose presence in Europe remains exceptional.
In Celtic times, the rocky promontory and its surroundings are occupied by an oppidum, fortified habitat with its necropolis. The City preserves a series of 22 taurobolic and criobolic altars, one of the most beautiful and complete of all the Roman world, which gives its Archaeological Museum an exceptional relief.
Very committed to the preservation, restoration and enhancement of its exceptional heritage, Lectoure carries out major works every year, conscious of the quality of its heritage. The city resolutely turns to the preservation of this rich heritage and pay special attention to its gardens and natural spaces offering a good quality of life to its inhabitants and visitors.
In the heart of the Regional Natural Park of Landes de Gascogne, Labouheyre is a dynamic city, which offers a multitude of services, shops, industries and has an associative fabric, as rich as varied, while maintaining a human size that guarantees proximity and conviviality.
Living well together is essential. The commune has set up a citizens' collective to work on the Cittaslow values. The challenges are numerous: biodiversity, energy transition, housing, health, mobility, education, fight against precarities, digital divide, etc. At a time when things are going faster and faster, there is an emergency to slow down.
To slow down is to develop in harmony with our environment. It is important to write a social project that places the human at the heart of action. What is important in Labouheyre, through this label, is the sharing of values to define a city project. Make a statement of the existing but above all consider the future and development of the city. Allow professionals to develop their activities while maintaining what makes their identity: the quality of the city, the village spirit.
Situated near Bordeaux, Le Haillan counts 11 201 inhabitants.
The municipality works daily to maintain a constant equilibrium ratio in the territory of Haillan: 1/3 of habitat, 1/3 of natural areas, 1/3 of economic life.
The densification of the habitat is controlled in the city center, on the axes served by public transport, and respects the existing pavilions all around.
Natural spaces are protected, constituting a green flow that «penetrates» the city to preserve the quality of life of the inhabitants.
Protected soft-link circuits between neighbourhoods are created and public spaces specially arranged. The Creek in the heart of town is a treasure that the population must appropriate.
The city is gradually increasing access and services to local businesses and developing an employment-services partnership with economic sector stakeholders.
French Cittaslow Network : some examples of actions
The cities of the French Cittaslow Network all do their best, each according to its specificities, to enhance the quality of life of their inhabitants.
Promotion of the label
It is first of all important to make the public and visitors aware of the values of the label. Labastide d'Armagnac communicates widely with local, regional and national media about living well in our cities.
Mirande hosted a delegation of a Quebec magazine to learn from best practices elsewhere.
At the end of the visit, an article appeared conclusive " We dream of a future where the principles of Cittaslow certification would be reflected in Quebec’s business models, where restaurants would offer menus labelled Cittaslow. It is possible we experienced it in France!”
The association “Acteurs du Tourisme durable”, a network of sustainable tourism professionals, which now has more than 200 members, has a draft guide on sustainable tourism labels and certifications. A partnership has been set up with ADN Tourisme, a national federation of 1200 tourism offices, for the publication of a common label guide and the French Cittaslow Network joined the project.
Exchanges between cities and development of know-how
Loix en Ré asked the students in metalwork from Mirande Agricultural School to create Cittaslow snails as they did in Mirande before. They had a friendly welcome in Loix when they delivered the order and enjoyed that interesting exchange.
Good food and gastronomy: some examples
Cazaubon hosted the Journées du Patrimoine Culinaire with the participation of great French and foreign chefs (Michel Sarran, Pierre Chomet, Numa Muller…) preparing gourmet street food menus combining the best Gersois products, from duck to prunes among others.
Créon: central kitchen project with the particularity of making tinned vegetables that will be consumed during the winter.
Regional Natural Park
Labouheyre already and Mirande very soon, belong to the Regional Natural Park organization whose mission is to preserve and enhance the fauna and flora and propose a laboratory for the modification of agricultural practices.
The issues of the parks concern agriculture and food, biodiversity, culture, energy and climate, tourism, research, urban planning and landscape, the forest, the social link....
Populations and nature
Le Haillan : has created a peri-urban refuge in the Bois des Sources : Le Haut-perché. Located in a small clearing in the park of Jalles, all curved and carried by a system of arches, the refuge evokes the slender silhouette of water towers. Built on the banks of the river, accessible by a Japanese ladder it was thought of as an observatory surrounded by nature. Accessible to all, free of charge.
Segonzac : Creation of a urban natural park, in the town center, with vegetable gardens, orchards, educational garden, health course...