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France profonde

Rural France, unlike rural Britain, is the habitat of the poor. While more Brits buy cheap homes here, it is dying. Decentralisation is just speeding up the decay

By Tim King   February 2005

The British are having one of their periodic waves of house-buying in France. “Ill with speed,” in the phrase of sociologist Thomas Eriksen, they see France as a place to slow down and catch up with the real them. The great majority buy deep in the countryside—there is so much of it and old buildings here are cheap. But there are times, particularly in midwinter, when the future in France profonde looks bleak. To find a way forward, the mayor of our commune calls a meeting to pool ideas. “We’re not going to sit here and let them close the…

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