Sustainable development policies have become new objectives of local actions since the implementation of the notion in the 1990s. Small towns promote images of places where the living is easy and with sustainable amenities like “natural” living environment. But, beyond these perceptions, operational sustainable development policies are quite occasional. Taking a sample of French small towns in the Auvergne region as examples, it is interesting to analyse this paradox of an interesting potential leading to rare effective actions. It seems that it is quite difficult for local stakeholders to implement really transversal and not sectoral policies and the lack of capacity and budget is an important issue for them as it takes time and money to develop really participative and holistic programs.