It seems that it’s when we don’t have anything anymore that we miss it… For a year, we have missed the conviviality of bars and cafés. Yes yes, even if Thierry speaks too loudly, and even if Justine tells incessantly anecdotes already heard too much. The human contact is also very important in the small villages. In Larchant (Seine-et-Marne), a new place of life should be opened by this summer. The program includes a grocery store, a bar-café, a climbing area and another one, which can be adapted to host any type of event. This project, the object of a Zeste campaign, is carried by a whole team, including Juliette Kintz and Ilham Rhliouch.

Feat-Y: How did your project start?

Juliette Kintz : We moved to Larchant two years ago. We didn’t know each other at the beginning, but we both had the desire to create a local business in a small village. When we got to know each other, we defined this project together, by thinking about a charter and looking for producers, then a local. At the time of the first confinement, we launched an ephemeral grocery store, under associative format, to help the inhabitants. At the time, there were no local shops or bakeries. A villager then offered to make a barn available to us. That’s when the project became a reality! We planned the work, created the legal structure, approached suppliers…

Ilham Rhliouch : I think that our respective arrivals in Larchant are also explained by a desire to change our way of life, by reviewing our relationship with nature and society. We received the proposal from this villager because we were involved in the municipal elections with a group of friends, who are part of the association Larchant en Transition. The project of the Grange is thus linked to social, ecological and environmental commitments.

Feat-Y : How will La Grange work?

J.K. :We hope that all activities can be launched at the same time! Everything depends on the evolution of the health crisis and the governmental instructions, especially for the bar-café and the climbing area. The grocery store is nevertheless assured to open its doors to the inhabitants! Moreover, we would like very much that producers take part in this project, by integrating the legal structure of the place. They would be able to make decisions with us, as well as the suppliers, the beneficiaries, and the employees.

I.R. : La Grange is a Cooperative Society of Collective Interest (SCIC), because this operation reflects our will to work collectively. The SCIC allows us to set up this project in the most democratic way possible! This sends a strong message to people who wish to join the structure: the question is not about capital, but about the desire to participate in the project of a collective place.

Feat-Y : Do you plan any animations?

I.R.: Yes, this place will be animated by exchanges, debates, cultural and sports activities. We met with the village associations. Larchant does not lack community facilities, and La Grange is a complementary place to stimulate the life of the commune. Residents have already expressed their desire to organize events in our different spaces.

Feat-Y : What will this place bring to the village?

J.K. : We hope that La Grange will strengthen the social link between generations! We defend a resilience of the territories by supporting local businesses and by proposing healthy products. Our main objective is to create a place where people can meet and talk, whether it’s for a coffee or a workshop. At La Grange, you can meet your neighbor while shopping, for example, and take a few minutes to chat with him. The opening of a new bakery has brought a richness to Larchant, and the arrival of La Grange completes it. We are working together to open at complementary times, and to offer a daily supply of products and places to meet.

Interviewed by Mélanie Domergue

Infos :

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Illustration Lucie Parkes :