It is not an exaggeration to say that the panel “City flower” or “flower Village,” which throne at the entrance of the 4 931 common possession of this label as prestigious as the coveted, has adorned our country, boosted its territories and strengthened its attractiveness, including international. “When I hear of the mayors of all small towns say that they would no longer exist without us ( see below ), I have the throat, I say we succeeded,” says the Figaro, Martine Lesage, the director of the national Council of the cities and flowered villages of France (CNVVF), who celebrates on Wednesday, in Paris, his 60th birthday.

come a long way since all this time! The emblematic small red flowers, redesigned for the occasion, do indeed have a very beautiful history that dates back to the early 1950’s, in Alsace. In particular, in Diebolsheim, including the parish priest, abbé Wendling, undertook, after having defused nearly 4,000 mines, of flower this small town in the Lower Rhine, devastated by the war. “I replaced every gear from death by a flower,” said the initiator of this movement that would soon extend to the regions of the north and east of the country, before that, in 1959, Claude Buron, who was then minister of Transport, public Works and Tourism (the famous 3 T), creates the national label.

“I’ve replaced every gear from death by a flower”

Abbot of Wendling, pastor of Diebolsheim (Haut-Rhin), initiator of the movement of the cities and flowered villages.

At the beginning, in the urgency of reconstruction, the people put the floral species that they knew of: begonias bedding marigolds in suspension, and especially the famous trays of geraniums red, typical of the alsatian villages, which used quasi-universal. Unfortunately, the label of the CNVVF, too often associated with this pallet plant limited, still suffers from this image old-fashioned, in particular among some urban dwellers. “It is all the more unfair since the emergence of the environmental issue, the flowering of today no longer has much to do with what happened yesterday,” responded Martine Lesage.

” READ ALSO – the discovery of the most beautiful arboretums in France

A street of the village of Bormes-les-Mimosas in the Var, 4 flowers and prices of the gardener 2018. Benjamin DAVID-TESTANIERE / Naturimages

The assessment grid now includes the enhancement of the botanical heritage in the broad sense (trees, shrubs, climbers, lawns, etc.), preservation of biodiversity and natural resources (water, waste management, etc.) but also the framework of life-general (refurbishment of buildings, burial of networks, pedestrian streets, maintenance of shops…) or the local animation and tourism (educational activities, holidays, etc).

just look at the track record 2018 unveiled Wednesday to be convinced. They are the metropolitan region (Orleans), departmental (Lorient), medium city (Cassis, Chalon-sur-Saône, Loudeac, Saint-Brevin-les-Pins, Toul, Glass) or a single town (Louargat, Loyat), eleven common to have secured their fourth flower (out of 19 candidates) are definitely good places to live. As explained Claudine Oger, representative of the national Federation of producers of plants ornamental (FNPHP) within the CNVVF, “the flower and, more broadly, the vegetation animate and beautify the city, give rhythm to the seasons, to improve the well-being. We see it in the summer, where the trees play a role of air-conditioner by cooling the atmosphere”.

obstacle Course The famous panel of 1 to 4 flowers that throne at the entrance of the commons ” label has been completely redesigned. Cities and Villages in bloom

To get the precious sesame, candidates take a real fight that lasts on average about six years. It must first be issued one after the other, the first three flowers at the regional level, and then check all of the boxes of the sixty criteria imposed by the national jury of the CNVVF. Each summer, 24 teams composed of four experts (politicians, officials, services, green areas, landscape architects, nurserymen, professionals of tourism, etc.) visit the candidate cities to determine on the spot the quality of the achievements. “The commitment of the municipalities, all political sides are combined, their services and the population is total. There is incredible stress for our coming and after, in the expectation of our decision which must be unanimous,” said Régis Lelièvre, representative of the national Federation of the trades of the garden centre (FNMJ) the CNVVF.

A crucial issue for the municipalities Already labeled 4 flowers, the commune of Sarreguemines (Moselle) has received a “flower of gold”, a distinction which confirms the excellence of the winner in terms of flowering. SARREGUEMINES

in Addition to the pride and recognition that it provides, the label is, indeed, an issue of vital importance to the commons either for the answer or… not to lose, a new review taking place every three years, in the manner of the stars of the Michelin Guide. As shown in an Ipsos survey, done in 2014 for the account of the CNVVF (1 044 respondents through the Internet), the green spaces and gardens are regarded as more important for the quality of life (43% of responses) that the pedestrian streets (26 %) or restaurants, bars and cafés (15 %).

The inhabitants of the communes have been certified are also more satisfied with the beautification (parks, gardens, flower) of their place of residence, compared to those in which the city has no flower. In many cases, these assets contribute to maintain or even increase the population but also to attract businesses, such as start-up business, not to mention the impact on the tourist traffic. The survey by Ipsos shows that 50 % of respondents attach importance to the label VVF for their choice of a tourist destination, regardless of the duration of the stay.

Another positive spin-off and not the least: for 60 years, the “little flowers” support nurserymen and growers ‘ premises, whether by purchase of communities but also individuals wishing to plant in their garden, the flowers they admire them in parks or roundabouts in their city.

“We’re no longer a village, not anonymous

If all municipalities, regardless of size, can pick up the label “Cities and Villages in bloom”, the issue is of particular importance for smaller companies. “We’re no longer a village anonymous. In the department, when people talk about Autretot, they think of flowers, it is a strong identity,” says Gérard Legay, mayor of this commune in normandy 700 people, including the “4 flowers” have been continuously renewed since 1985, the date of their first graduation.

The park of Gélaucourt, a small village in the lorraine of 70 residents has been classified “remarkable Garden”. vvf

there is clearly a before and an after. In the early 1970s, the village of Michel Capdevielle was a “counter-example” with its facades, which are in decay and its heap of manure which impinged on the floor. Today, Gélaucourt, tiny, common, lorraine of 70 inhabitants, of which he is the mayor, welcomes every year 10 000 tourists. As to the population of the “village garden”, she has doubled with the construction of twelve houses.

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Planting of 5 000 trees, creating a wooded park classified “remarkable Garden” by the ministry of Culture, building renovation, landfill sites and networks by the provision of government grants: “everyone has rolled up sleeves”, remembers the conceiving, for which the obtaining of the 4th flower in 1996 was a “consecration”.

beyond improving the quality of life and radiation that resulted, the approach also has the merit of creating links. “Each year, the beginning of may, 25 people voluntarily participating in the planting of flower beds”, says Gérard Legay. And when the municipality plans to equip a greenhouse, it is the small belgian village of Deigné, near Liege, who responds to the call on RTL to raise funds: “They gave us a plastic cover. Since our two communities are twinned.”

In many cases, the granting (or loss) of a flower can represent an electoral issue. Wednesday, during the delivery of trophies 2018, the mayor of a small commune of the Ain, admitted to have responded to a member of the jury that he would resign from his mandate if the label was removed. You don’t fool around with the flowers!

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