French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe launched the 'Operation 1,000 cafés' scheme last year, and villages were invited to bid for funding.
The aim was to create a hub for villages that have few facilities and revitalise rural communities.
More than 550 villages have made applications and the first tranche of 24 grants have been approved – including villages in the southern départements of Dordogne and Let-et-Garonne.
Each project is different but the café gets a grant to set up and run and must be run as a hub for the community.
It can include other features such as a co-working space, a post office drop-off and collection point, a village caretaker's office or an internet café or digital access point.
Maire d'une commune de -3500 hbts ou particulier souhaitant ouvrir un café multiservices, vous pouvez dès aujourd'hui candidater : https://t.co/ikktgTL8Ro?@Lagazettefr en parle “le @GroupeSOS lance un appel à candidature aux maires de petites communes” https://t.co/jZTQ1mIX2A
— 1000 cafés (@1000_cafes) September 12, 2019
In Meilhan, Lot-et-Garonne, the funds have been used to reopen a restaurant that had stood empty for almost a year.
Mayor Régine Poveda told local newspaper Sud Ouest: “We want to develop the concept of café culture in Meilhan, so this collaboration with the 1,000 cafés project is a beautiful meeting that is bearing fruit.”
The full list of places that have been given grant money are;
- In Auvergne Rhône-Alpes: Beaulon, Culhat and La Bauche
- In Bretagne: Guilligomarc’h and Sains
- In Bourgogne France Comté: Saint-Emiland
- In Centre-Val-de-Loire: Baccon and Cerelles
- In Nouvelle-Aquitaine: la Dornac, Lagruère, Lavaveix-les-Mines, Meilhan sur Garonne and Saint-Solve
- In Occitanie: Bours, Odos and Capendu
- In Pays de la Loire: Congrier, Ligron and Tresson
- In Grand Est: Girancourt, Monthureux-sur-Saône, Thin-le-Moutier and Ugny
- In Hauts-de-France: Zudausques
The scheme is still open to applications – you must be from a commune that has 3,500 people or less which currently has either no café or a café that is threatened by closure. For more details, click here.