The label “One of the most beautiful villages in France” has just been renewed in the town. This distinction testifies to the work carried out by the community and the inhabitants so that Sainte-Suzanne radiates well beyond Mayenne.
It is a sigh of relief and at the same time a satisfaction that we guess as the news spreads in Sainte-Suzanne: “We have kept our label of one of the most beautiful villages in France.”
350,000 visitors per year
In 2010, Sainte-Suzanne, common delegate of Sainte-Suzanne and Chammes, obtained, under the impetus of Jean-Pierre Morteveille, the mayor at that time, and of the living forces of the town, this distinction which propelled it towards what it has become today: A cultural and heritage jewel which sees the passage of 350,000 visitors per year, compared to 15,000 in the 1990s.
Landscaping, flowering, maintenance
The castle and its ramparts, but also the hamlet of the river contribute to this recognition. “Nothing was certain,” admits Michel Galvane, the mayor. “The passage of the commission responsible for evaluating the municipalities for renewal of the label is done incognito. Consequence: since the beginning of the year, we have taken stock of what has been achieved in terms of landscaping, flowering, maintenance, what should perhaps have been better taken into account and finally which could not be materialised. Holy equation! »
Dissect the village
At the beginning of June, Pascal Bernard, the general delegate in charge of quality for the most beautiful villages, came to meet the elected officials. “Following the passage of the commission, my role is to analyze what is working or not, to go into details, to take photos, to imagine the prospects, to meet the elected officials, to dissect the village. In the end, three possibilities: maintaining the classification, maintaining the classification with reservations, and finally downgrading. »
Efforts for the years to come
At the end of this period of uncertainty, the verdict is in: Sainte-Suzanne retains its label. Today, the heritage, the environment, the revegetation, and the natural spaces are taken into account for the awarding of the label. “Our efforts, for the years to come, will focus not only on the building, but also on other points: Developing food gardens to avoid fallowing, recreating paths, imagining a conservatory orchard, changing the revegetation to be more water-efficient, better manage flows, parking, give space to pedestrians and cyclists, and support the owners for their outdoor work, as part of remarkable heritage sites, “says the mayor.
As one shopkeeper pointed out: “This label goes beyond the influence for the village. It is essential to economic and tourist life. It is up to all of us to preserve it.”