JCDecaux's story began in Beauvais in 1953. Jean-Claude Decaux, who was born into a modest family of shoe-shop owners in 1937, already believed in the impact of advertising on sales and decided to display advertising posters for the family shop in the city. This initiative, which was rare in the 1950s, enabled him to gain recognition and to become a poster sticker for other Beauvais retailers seeking to promote their businesses. 
Jean-Claude Decaux soon wanted to set up his own billboard company. He, therefore, arranged to become emancipated at the age of 18, even though the age of majority at the time was 21. The young entrepreneur then employed six colleagues to display large-format roadside billboards as strong competition prevented him from gaining access to towns.
 
JCDecaux's vehicles in the 1960's - Amiens, France

However, the 1964 French Finance Act, which planned to impose higher taxes on roadside advertising displays in order to reduce their number in the countryside, encouraged him to rethink his development strategy. He devised a new kind of advertising support and proposed an innovative concept to mayors : providing and maintaining bus shelters, financed by advertising.

The Mayor of Lyon was the first to adopt this new public service provided by a private company in 1964. The advertising bus shelter and the JCDecaux business model were born.
JCDecaux Advertisement "Singing in the rain!", 1971


Since then, the Group has never stopped innovating and designing new street furniture such as Citylight information panels, outdoor scrolling advertising panels, directional signage, public conveniences, public litter bins or large-format scrolling panels, etc. At the same time, JCDecaux has exported its idea of financing street furniture via advertising throughout the world and is present in over 60 countries in 2014.