Montpellier, Orléans, Thonon, Soissons and Chartres: five examples of smart cities

Article from L’Express special issue “Find the city that suits you”


Win-win program. Last January, the Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole announced the ten winners of its second smart city design competition. Through various themes (mobility, energy, environment, etc.), the community seeks to identify innovative solutions offered by companies. This implies that he then gives them his support, in particular by financing half of their development costs, up to a maximum of 40,000 euros.

Examples? ecoTeka’s tool, which aims to make it easier to recommend areas suitable for greening, and Citeos will install a pedestrian, cyclist and car counting solution to optimize traffic management. Evaluation is expected next December.


“My life is easier.” This is the name of the smart city strategy of the capital Centre-Val-de-Loire. Since October 2018, the latter has been equipped with an open public data platform called Orléans Métropole data, which has since been supplemented with interactive visualization tables for citizens.

About 250 topics are now available, such as the presence of car parks, existing associations or, as of April this year, exposure to electromagnetic waves. According to Nadine Poisson, director of digital development for the metropolis, this information is “common property”. The private portal allows the community to monitor their own public policies in parallel, in particular with regard to mobility and economic development.

Orleans relies on data to make life easier for its residents.

© / Getty Images


Place Aristide Briand in Thonon-les-Bains.

The Tonon in your pocket application provides access to all city information.

© / Aurimages via AFP

“All the players in your daily life.” This is the slogan of “Thonon in your pocket”, a mobile application of the sub-prefecture of Haute-Savoie launched on February 1, 2021. Thanks to its interface, you can access city news, agenda, administrative procedures. or information from the mayor’s office. Better: Allows you to report with supporting photos about a malfunction on a public road: a pothole, illegal dumping, wear and tear on street furniture, a burned out light bulb, etc.

This information is then returned to the technical services, who can thus intervene as quickly as possible. About 2000 reports have already been made. A low-cost project – 6000 euros per year – received the Eco Actions 2021 prize awarded by the association Les Eco Maires.


Abbey of Saint Leger in Soissons

In Soissons, you can check the availability of free parking spaces in real time.

© / Getty Images

How did the torment of finding a parking space end? In 2018, the sub-prefecture of Aisne deployed a smart system. This allows motorists to know in real time about the available parking spaces among the 1500 in the city center and navigate them thanks to dynamic signs.

How ? Thanks to sensors located mainly on lampposts, which, using an image processing algorithm, determine the presence or absence of a vehicle. “The use of data also makes it possible to understand occupancy rates and traffic flows,” says Lucie Billot, project manager at City Hall. However, this service is being negotiated with a new service provider following the default of the company that originally offered it.


In Chartres, agents have digital tablets to optimize green space maintenance.

In Chartres, municipal agents have digital tablets to optimize green space maintenance.

© / City of Chartres

In Chartres, the municipal authorities have received a new tool for tree care: digital tablets! After painstaking work on the census, the prefecture of Er-et-Loire has placed on the web a database containing useful information for the care of trees, such as the year of planting, the type of species or their general condition.

Last year, the municipality went even further by installing sensors at the foot of three leaf specimens. Target? Measure the soil moisture level to know if they need to be watered. Maria Jebli-Chedeville, assistant in charge of the Eco-Ville approach, is convinced: “This experiment should allow for the well-being of trees while conserving water.”

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