The simple road sign that means so much to 5,000 communes in France

Why having a Villes et Villages Fleuris de France label is so important to so many towns and villages

A simple sign at the entrance to nearly 5,000 communes in France indicates that it has been awarded a Villes et Villages Fleuris de France label.

It is a hard-earned award as only about half of the applicants which apply each year are given the label. The categories range from one to four flowers with almost equal numbers achieving 1, 2 and 3 flowers and just 235 are given the coveted 4 flowers. There are additional special prizes with eight Fleur d’Ors, a prize for diversity, another for heritage, one for trees, one for collective gardens and one for tourism.

To win the award, a town or village must do more than plant beautiful flowers. The judges look at the broad environmental programme which includes not only attractive borders and beds but also the efforts made to protect the environment and encourage biodiversity, actions to educate and involve the local inhabitants and tourists, the management of green spaces and the motivation of the commune to earn the label.

The result is a label that is apparently appreciated by local populations.  A survey by Market research group IPSOS in 2011 found that it is by far the best known label for towns and villages in France and that people who live in a Ville et Village Fleurie are the most satisfied with the quality of life in their home town. Satisfaction increased with the number of flowers so that those who live in a commune without a label gave a mark of 5.3/10 for quality ...

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