The French equivalent of our “Britain in Bloom” competition is the “Villes et Villages Fleuris” and you’ll see the above sign on the approach to the winning towns and villages.
They are chosen after a rigourous selection process, based on the care they have taken with their floral decoration; the beauty of their parks and gardens; and the work they have done to improve the urban environment and provide visitors a friendly welcome.
Some of these districts are well-known cities, while others are little villages deep in the heart of the countryside – the 2005 Gold Medal Ville Fleurie winner being Le Plessis Robinson (92 Hauts de Seine, Ile de France) – really an outer suburb of Paris, about 15 miles Southwest of the city centre.
Before taking the name “Robinson”, Le Plessis was known as Plessis-Raoul, and Plessis-Piquet, and it was only in 1905 that it became Plessis-Robinson, thanks to a restaurant owner who, in 1898, had the idea of setting up little restaurants with music and dancing among the trees, reproducing the home of Robinson-Crusoë. These were enormously successful at the turn of the century, and the thousands of Parisians who came out to it every Sunday made their reputation.
The town is distinguished by its abundant greenery, alongside elegant floral displays: 1,200 original hanging displays, flowery meadows …Le Plessis-Robinson has been a green town for a long time, with a great variety of parks, gardens, woods and squares. It distinguished itself in 1919 by launching a competition for concepts which, in 1929, gave birth to the Garden City, a major event in the history of town planning. Nowadays, Le Plessis is the highest town in Hauts-de-Seine (at 170m), as well as the greenest, with 50 m2 of open spaces per head of the population, or 100 hectares of parks and woodland!
For more info on the Villes et Villages Fleuris