French villages get funding for cafés to revitalise rural communities

The first tranche of funding has been released for French villages to get funding for special cafés to revitalise rural communities.

French villages get funding for cafés to revitalise rural communities
An English-run café in southern France. Illustration photo: AFP

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.


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.


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