How do you characterize Val Briard?
Our area is located in the heart of the Seine-et-Marne. It is both homogeneous (10 municipalities with less than 1,000 inhabitants and 11 municipalities with more than 1,000 inhabitants) and expanded (42 km long). It also has a strong tourist potential thanks to its natural and historic sites and its proximity to major centers such as Disneyland Paris and the Parc des felins. It is in this capacity that I want to develop “slow tourism”, especially by showcasing our local producers and artisans. We have city service in the countryside and that is why Val Briard is valued. This appetite for our living environment existed even before the health crisis.
What memory do you remember of your participation in the competition “The French Capital of Culture” in 2021?
It was a real spotlight. Being one of the nine finalists was already a source of great pride. We had managed to get selected in front of cities like Versailles with a project that fit well with the specifications of this national brand. We were able to maintain this dynamic and this participation was a real lever for all our artistic projects.
Why is culture such a strong issue for your area?
We are a clearly identified cultural country. For a little over ten years, culture together with nature and agriculture has become one of the main themes in our project. This year we celebrate the 10thand anniversary of our Festi’Val Bri’Art (started March 16, it runs until April 18 in Neufmoutiers-en-Brie, editor’s note). Culture is a factor of social cohesion, with an essential notion of closeness. It must, in fact, be in the heart of the population by mixing artists with inhabitants. We have thus developed the concept of itinerant and decentralized cultivation for equal territorial access. It’s rare and I like it. It is a significant public expense, but we really want all residents to have access to it, with special attention to children, families and our elderly. An important place is also given to the inclusion of people with disabilities. They must also be able to participate in the exhibitions, especially the visually impaired, for which we have set up a blowing system.
You are going to inaugurate a regional cultural center next December. Why is this ambitious project so important to you?
This rod opens on the 1steh January 2023 and will be called L’Envolée. It is the concretization of all our actions. We dedicated five big years to it with an investment of 5.6 million euros. This place will be unique in Île-de-France with an impact that will be gigantic. All forms of art will be represented there and there will be troops in residence. We really wanted this place of creation to be atypical.
You also want to emphasize mobility. For what reasons?
It is fine to say that one should use the car less, but in rural areas there is a real shortage and we must have a territorial vision. We must therefore draw up a local mobility plan (PLM). It will be a programming tool that will serve as our roadmap. We project ourselves on 2030 and 2040 in collaboration with the department and the region. A great change awaits our inhabitants, just as it will be the case for employment, food and health. For now we are at the diagnosis stage and then we will arrange public meetings. I always go for consultation, it’s the only way to stick to reality.
In terms of the environment, how will you implement the Territorial Climate, Air and Energy Plan (PCAET)?
It is the same logic as for mobility, a co-construction with elected representatives and residents. We are in the process of putting an action plan in place. By 2021, we have already implemented an enlightenment program called “Watty” in schools, nursery and primary. These are workshops based on eco-gestures regarding water and electricity. We will continue to do so this year.
Are you participating in the progress of solidarity in favor of Ukraine?
Yes of course. Many mayors in our area have volunteered to welcome Ukrainians, and residents make many donations. Execution operations are carried out in partnership with the Association of Mayors of France (AMF). We would also like to set up French courses for refugees, but the state should help us fund them.
The presidential election is approaching. How do you rate the Valérie Pécresse campaign that you support?
In general, this campaign is complicated due to the current crisis situation. I also think it’s a shame that we focus more on form than substance, and social networks do not help anything. Opinion polls can also have a big impact, although they do not always reflect reality. I support Valérie Pécresse because her project is adapted and funded. It always starts from the ground and has proven it with its management of the Île-de-France region. Everything she offers, she has already put into practice. We do not give her gifts, but she is a combative woman. Now can very wisely tell what will happen. So I will not make any predictions.
Do you want to be a candidate in the parliamentary elections?
Nothing is planned at the moment. Discussions will take place in our political family. It is always a good thing to have the floor on our territory at national level. I’m closed to nothing.
Le Petit Fûté recently dedicated a tourist guide to Val Briard. How did you receive him?
With pride and surprise at the same time. It is a form of initiation of our action. Our assets are advanced and it shows the dynamics of our territory. When you are as passionate and committed as I am, it is truly amazing!
Val Briard in the spotlight in Petit Futé
The famous publishing group for tourist guides dedicates one of its travel diaries to the community of municipalities in Val Briard. Through this publication (also available in English), Petit Futé invites its readers to discover a fertile and largely forested territory with smiling landscapes, changing cornfields, grazed orchards, forests and irrigated meadows with water and ponds. Val Briard is both a preserved rural environment and a rural atmosphere in villages with a few hundred inhabitants, where the gaze is allowed to contemplate between medieval half-timbered houses, listed churches, farms, castles and parks with centuries-old trees. This territory exudes a certain romance. This travel diary collection is intended for all travelers for a weekend or more who are looking for an informative, comprehensive guide to the best price. There are good addresses and good plans to optimize your stay.
Travel diaries Val Briard 2022: 4.95 euros and 3.99 euros (digital version). www.boutique.petitfute.com