France is launching a 150-million euro rescue plan to revive the dying cafes of villages. The focus of the plan is on the small villages where the shutting down of cases is leaving no place for the locals to socialize. Rural French villages like the Port-Brillet have seen the closing down of its last cafe and shocked the people residing over there. The mayor of Port-Brillet said, "Losing the cafe was a tough blow,”. He then added, “I believe in the virtues of cafes. Most of all, I believe in places where people can meet each other."
A major number of cafes are shutting down in the rural areas of France. The number has fallen from 200,000 to 40,000 in the last 5 decades. The cafes were the places where the people gathered to mingle, spend a good time or celebrate various occasions. The people gathered to catch up for coffee, croissants, wine, and beer along with a good company. Jean-Marc Borello (Macron's teacher at university and now his close ally) is not saving the cafes as a social mission but also as an attempt to show that people who live away from the sparkling lights of Paris are not lagging behind in any case, whether it is public services, fast and reliable communications and opportunities for work and play both. He feels that the reopening of dying cafes in villages will help in fighting social isolation, providing the residents with places where they could hang out. This will slowly be useful in restoring life to a village and linking it with other regions. He said, “The simple fact of doing things together sometimes rekindles hope.”
The head of a large French nonprofit Borello wants the new cafes to be an upgraded version of the traditional French Bistrot. They should be the usual beverage, snacks, etc along with the basics like bread, groceries, internet access and postal services. The cafes can even have online tax returns and other paperwork. The employees at Borello's Groupe SOS are straining through the letters from mayors of various villages offering their village to be for one of the 1000 cafes and also from the people who wish to run the cafes. Borello said that the cafe managers will get professional training, while the villagers will choose a name for the cafe and together with them, the decor will be decided. The Groupe SOS is hoping to inaugurate the first new or revived cafe by the end of 2019.
(With inputs from AP)