In the countryside in Chartres, where prosperity does not prevent you from feeling downgraded

In the countryside in Chartres, where prosperity does not prevent you from feeling downgraded
In the countryside in Chartres, where prosperity does not prevent you from feeling downgraded

It’s impossible not to see it as a metaphor for the troubled times the country is going through as the brown wave rises. Crossing the Essonne department on the Francilienne, just below Paris, the anthracite curtain doubles in density, before tearing. France Info lists the “orange vigilance” and flood alerts. (On the same channel, a few minutes later, an RN candidate speaks of “migratory submergence.) So much water. It has been raining for weeks, the peasants cannot go out either to harvest or to sow, and upon arriving in Chartres under a real monsoon, we suppose that it might be a little complicated to meet, randomly in the streets and villages surrounding, citizens delighted to interact with us. In fact, they are hiding at home.

Warning of bad weather as the legislative elections approach. | SE, for Heidi.news

Happy as a Eurelian?

Plan B: sit down, establish a profile of the Eure-et-Loir department. To my left, the thousand-year-old stained glass windows of Notre-Dame Cathedral, where Henry IV was crowned. To my right, a café. Between the two, a copy of Republican Echowhich will prove very useful for sketching the outline, moreover here is what we can learn in less than sixty minutes:

  1. The people of this department are called Euréliens.

  2. The department, generally made up of fields, exports wheat throughout the world. But cereals are not the only local specialty.

  3. Chartres is also the heart of the “Cosmetic Valley”, the grouping of producers of the finest French perfumes, which is just celebrating its 30th anniversary, the newspaper is delighted. In the photo illustrating the ceremony, we see a delighted Chinese importer, as well as a Japanese importer flanked by an American importer. And Stéphane Bern, who found his way among the fragrance oils – it must be said that the party was held in Chambord.

  4. The Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is by far the largest market capitalization in Europe ($642 billion), since the triumph of its anti-diabetes drug Ozempic and its counterpart against obesity. And it will double the size of its factory in Chartres: 2 billion euros invested, 500 jobs created, ultimately perhaps 1000. Even Macron came for the announcement last November: that’s it, the “reindustrialization”.

  5. With all this excellent economic news, the Eurélien is therefore a happy being. This is why he has just voted 38% for the RN in the European elections, far ahead of the presidential party at 14%.

The city of Chartres, clustered around its cathedral and its famous stained glass windows. | SE, for Heidi.news

The shadow of a doubt

Everything is going well, of course, but it is still getting worse and worse. This is essentially what this well-dressed lady, in her sixties, explains to me, whom I approach without warning in the shopping cart parking lot of the Carrefour hypermarket, on the outskirts of Chartres. The area is really shabby, it must have been modern in the 1990s, there are also Picard, Leroy-Merlin, Chaussea stores, a kebab shop, and greasy paper everywhere. The presentations made, here is the exchange:

  • What are the Eurelians afraid of?, I ask.

  • We can’t say that they are afraid, but there is a feeling of being downgraded.

  • Do you also feel it personally?

  • I don’t, but it’s diffuse, it’s generalized, throughout society. Everything is much more expensive, we especially have the impression that no one controls anything anymore, that the country is tossed around.

  • Macron, is he not a good president? And his young Prime Minister?

  • You know, the people of Paris, they only think about their well-being, once on the left, once on the right, it’s always a bit the same, in the provinces we don’t matter to them. Maybe it’s time to try something else. The ones we’ve never tried.

As she probably hasn’t read the first episode of our series, I decide not to ask her if she has ever tried to jump from the second floor of the Eiffel Tower without a parachute.

This hated Macronie, as much for his arrogance as for his self-importance, is perhaps in the process of self-dissolution, after the president called the French for new elections. To meet her in real life, here we are in Nogent-le-Phaye, a large town a quarter of an hour from the square in front of the aforementioned cathedral. More completely an agricultural village, not yet really gentrified, it is a village between two waters, not to mention that the last few days have made the surroundings quite spongy.

The most famous mustache in Eure

This evening, in the community hall, around a hundred people have gathered to listen to the department’s most famous mustache, or rather the man who wears it.

Guillaume Kasbarian, \”Kasba\” for the locals, deputy for Eure-et-Loir, in a lush field in Beauce. | FB account of Guillaume Kasbarian, DR

Guillaume Kasbarian, 37, was a deputy for the 1st constituency of Eure-et-Loir until January, when the new occupant of Matignon Gabriel Attal called him to the government and promoted housing minister. An assertive liberal, with sometimes expeditious methods, he made himself known last year by having a text adopted which he modestly calls “Kasba law”, an anti-squatting law which increases the sanctions against the illegal occupation of housing and shortens eviction deadlines.

“He embodies the right-wing politics of a sector which is suffering its worst crisis in thirty years” recently wrote The New Obs about him, in a portrait that qualifies him as the Thatcher of housing. And this, continues the center-left weekly, “while 3.8 million French people suffer from poor housing and the sector has never experienced such a crisis between fall in construction and transactions, rise in interest rates, explosion in demand, scarcity of land. » Guillaume Kasbarian is just as liberal on a societal level, he marched for marriage for all in 2012. “I heard the conservatives and the giant frogs giving us moral lessons while I was in a civil partnership with my partner”he mentions in the article.

Whiplash

Campaigning to save what can still be saved, starting, possibly, with a deputy seat, this pure product of Macronia attempts a mixture of encouragement and mea culpa in front of his evening audience. “A lot has been done. We didn’t succeed in everything, but we shouldn’t ruin everything.” The Euréliens are then called upon to understand that faced with the “Together for the Republic” camp formed to support the faltering President of the Republic, there is no “only extremes”.

Lucid about the detestation to which Emmanuel Macron is the subject, especially as soon as one moves more than 50 km from the capital, Guillaume Kasbarian did not push the temerity so far as to claim the patronage of the president of the Republic on its campaign posters. He preferred to place it under the aegis of the young Gabriel Attal, no less identified as Parisian, but not yet completely demonetized.

Like many majority candidates, “Kasba”, who must have read the opinion polls, prefers to claim to be Prime Minister Gabriel Attal than President Emmanuel Macron, whose favorable opinion rates are close to the ninth circle of hells. | Guillaume Kasbarian, Facebook account, DR

In the constituency, the main competitor of “Kasba” is a young woman of 22 years old. Invested by the RN, Emma Minot is a student in masso-physiotherapy, her LinkedIn profile tells us. We would have preferred to meet her IRL, as they say now, but after standing us up, the local head of the National Rally, who had promised us to organize things, gave no further sign of life.

Comment from an informed observer of Chartres political life who prefers to remain anonymous (a precaution undoubtedly not unnecessary in view of the remarks which follow): “At the RN, they no longer even need to put in the forms. They have so much wind in their sails that even a goat with a tricolor flame on its forehead would be elected.

In the next episode, we happily cross the Loire to get to the red Corrèze.

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