France's oldest and youngest mayors in election mode

The oldest mayor in France is running for office for a 10th time – at 97.

Marcel Berthomé became maire of Saint-Seurin-sur-l’Isle (Gironde) in 1971, and insists he is not ready to retire yet. He said: “Retirement is a word that is not part of my vocabulary.”

He has plenty of projects for the 3,200 residents of his commune, including creating new housing projects.

He said: “I try to anticipate and satisfy the needs and expectations of the residents.

“It’s been 50 years so I’m attached to the residents.Populations were more stable 50 years ago than now.”

The village has seen its population double in those years.

Mr Berthomé said he has “good memories but no bad memories”, although “sometimes there are little conflicts that happen in the life of a representative...”

He spent 30 years in the army and three years with the air force, and Mr Berthomé said his previous career contributed to his will to become a mayor.

What keeps motivating him is “having challenges, acting and winning”.

“The taste of work, taking action, being productive and doing things is what describe me best,” he said.

A former football player, coach, and now president of the football club of AS Saint-Seurin, he is proud of his achievements.

He said: “I made this village part of the professional football league in France in 1989.”

In 2014, Mr Berthomé was elected with 80% of the vote.

The youngest mayor in France, elected at the age of 21, has told Connexion how positive he feels about his first years as Monsieur le Maire as he campaigns for 2020 local elections.

Louis Chambon, now 27, had not been involved in politics before, but he does not think his young age made the experience more difficult than for any other maire.

He said: “It wasn’t really difficult. I have always been passionate about politics. I became mayor by chance but it has been a good experience overall.

“You have to be patient and diplomatic constantly so it can be a bit complicated but it is also a work on yourself.”

Before becoming mayor of Le Falgoux, a commune of 128 inhabitants in Cantal, Mr Chambon went to a professional high school for agriculture and later got a diploma in accounting and management.

Being mayor takes up most of his time but he also works at his parents’ restaurant in the village.

For 2020, Mr Chambon has plenty of projects, notably to create a park in the forest.

He would also like to build modern structures in the village and restore an old building to create a reading area and a space for associations.