French President Emmanuel Macron Launches Campaign to Save France’s Cafés
Back off, Starbucks
France’s cafés are a cultural staple, but they’re becoming something of an endangered species. According to the Associated Press, the number of French cafés has seen a steep drop from 200,000 to 40,000 in the past 50 years.
Unlike Americans, however, who seem more than prepared to let Starbucks take over the nation one street corner at a time, the people of France aren’t about to let their beloved café culture fall by the wayside. In response to the shrinking café population, French president Emmanuel Macron has launched a $165 million campaign in an attempt to save 1,000 suffering cafés.
The cafés on Macron’s list are mostly located in small towns, where they often function as the community’s main social draw. The program will reportedly provide business owners with training and decorating advice while community members will name the cafés.
According to AP, the initiative also hopes to quell the “yellow vest” protest movement that gained traction among working class communities in small towns across the country last fall, rocking Macron’s presidency.
“Losing the café was a tough blow,” says Gilles Pairin, mayor of the rural French village of Port-Brillet, which recently closed its last café. “I believe in the virtues of cafes. Most of all, I believe in places where people can meet each other.”
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