Billboard advertising banned from small French towns

A billboard ad in the middle of farm gardens located in the Paris region
A billboard ad in the middle of farm gardens located in the Paris region Open access/Stéphane Asseline, ADAGP 2011

Billboards advertising services such as hotels, restaurants and service stations will no longer be allowed at the entrance of French towns and villages of under 10,000 residents, as a law voted in 2010 came into effect on Monday.


The law scrapped an exception for advertising judged "particularly useful for travellers" because certain businesses, such as supermarkets, were found to have bent the rules for commercial purposes.

Advertisers staunchly opposed the proposals, but MPs accepted environmental campaigners' argument that the state must get tough with visual pollution.

There is still leeway to post signs advertising cultural activities, demonstrations, local produce and historical monuments.

In theory the local mayor is obliged to sue businesses who have erected signs that do not follow the statute's provisions. There has yet to be implementation on the ground.

Although this initiative was primarily driven by environmental group Agir pour les paysages, other loose-knit advertising collectives such as Les Deboulonneurs, les Deposeurs and la Brigade anti-pub are also campaigning against "excessive" advertising.

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