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Montpellier: actions to revitalize the downtown area

Information updated on 24/07/19

Boosting activity in downtown Montpellier is a priority for the City of Montpellier and Montpellier Métropole, with the Hérault consular chambers and all local businesses. Together, they sent an ambitious action plan to the government on June 21.

commerces Montpellier @M3M

Montpellier businesses @M3M

Merchants in downtown Montpellier observed sadly that their sales were down by 30% to 40% on Saturdays marked by France’s “Yellow Vest” demonstrations. The business slowdown continued in Montpellier until recently, with a nationwide demonstration for the Yellow Vest movement held on June 8.

Local authorities have now made it a priority to revitalize the heart of the city through an ambitious action plan. The City of Montpellier and Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole organized five meetings with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Hérault Chamber of Businesses, merchant associations, and Socri (Polygone shopping center) to elaborate a major program signed by all partners. The program was then sent to the French Ministry of the Economy and Finance to request its financial support. Scheduled from July to December 2019, the plan is expected to cost €1.515 million, with estimated financing by Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole (71%), the two consular chambers (10%), and the French government (19%).

“Happy hours”, thematic events, and free parking

The main innovation is a series of original sales events covering three periods: Every Thursday from July 4 to August 1, merchants will offer “happy hours” featuring great deals from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM! On four Saturdays in September, other events will be organized on popular themes, such as TV series, sports, extreme sports, and music. Activities will include games with gift certificates as prizes. A third high point will focus on end-of-year festivities, boosted by an exceptional support fund for merchant associations. Two hours of free parking will be offered in downtown Montpellier parking lots during all these events. In addition to this unique program, the “100 Artists in the City” Temporary Artistic Zone (ZAT) exhibition is being held from June 8 to July 28. Over 50 merchants are participating in the event, and several are even hosting works created by contemporary artists.

Shopping and discovery app

Digital tools are also being emphasized to help strengthen downtown attractiveness. This includes a shopping and discovery mobile application designed to promote business and tourism in Montpellier, as well as the GéoMétiers application that helps bring individuals and artisans together. A communication campaign via social networks, posters, and the press is also planned.

Lastly, to immediately help compensate merchants for lost sales, Montpellier City Hall is exempting 362 downtown establishments with sidewalk terraces and stalls, as well as farmers’ markets, rides, kiosks, and florists from the public domain occupancy fee.
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