Town and country planning

This month, France’s people descend on its coasts and countryside. 

Those who choose la campagne, treat it as a playground with quaint restaurants, curious sights and craft workshops. They return to the cities and for the rest of the year the country only exists to keep alive a sentimental spirit of la patrie that makes for escapist TV.

Rural France is ignored, marginalised and stigmatised in turn by Parisian policy makers. Remoteness and a low population density mean it does not have much political voice and its problems are not treated as important.

People who do live in the countryside, whether by choice or lack of it, rightly rail at such neglect, believing they are misunderstood and unfairly treated. They do not see it as la France profonde – a term of derision for the stagnant backwaters of civilisation – and insist they deserve the same quality of services as city residents. Human needs are human needs and the deprived and disadvantaged are in the same condition irrespective of how idyllic the backdrop.

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