In recent years, the French government has decreed that rural townships, previously afforded some measure of autonomy, should be grouped together. But why? And with what means? Laàs rejects any measure which aims to dispossess rural towns of their freedom of expression or creativity, especially when such laws are almost always formulated in the halls of urban power.
These aforementioned measures which create a new territorial hierarchy destroys the link between citizens and their local elected officials. It constitutes an attack on rural identity. The mayor of Laàs, Jacques Pedehontaà, considers that local politics is an integral part of the democratic process and an asset for building a community, solidarity, and ethical governance. This is why, seeking to take control of its destiny, to remain the master of its own fate, Laàs has proclaimed itself a Principality! The genius behind this madness is to push the envelope, without ever becoming a farce, and to generate publicity for the township. It’s with great humor and a provocative spirit that the Principality will achieve its goal: to set up an alternative mode of rural development and to pioneer another way forward for townships that have been left behind.
In 2015, the Principality of Laàs created a coat of arms, a flag, a constitution, a logo, and even a border checkpoint at the entrance of the village. We reject the idea of separatism or withdrawal from the world at large. Laàs instead seeks to create borders to declare that it is OPEN! This is why we’re working to develop a global network of Ambassadors, whose mission it is to raise the profile of our project and raise funds.
Through our approach, the Principality wishes to:
- Become a tourist destination in its own right by increasing our capacity for welcoming visitors and the number of visitable points of interest in our township.
- Strengthen local identity and improve our local town in the following fields: architecture, nature, terroir, artisanal crafts, and agriculture. Béarn, the name of our region, must develop a strong and singular personality.
- Encourage job creation through new projects.
- Limit the rural exodus from small villages due to an aging population.
- Bring together economic actors and provide a support structure for them.
- Build a platform upon which we can sell goods which will raise the profile of our town and help the local economy