Small city, close community: being Catholic in a small town

With its narrow streets, its small stone bridges over the river and its old city centre, Chartres attracts by its charm. Situated in the “Centre” region in the north of France about an hour south of Paris, the city is famous for its Cathedral set on top of a hill that’s visible from miles out of town.
A small town is more likely to form a community in which everyone has a role to play. And inside that community, smaller ones exist that will have to do mostly with the identity of the town. In Chartres, the centre piece is the cathedral built on top of the hill and at the heart of the old city centre, looking over the shops, the city and its surroundings. Being the first – and main – attraction of the city, it is natural that a big Catholic community lives here.
At a time when religion is no longer a main trait of the daily life, it is easier to see communities building and growing over time, having an identity and almost a label. So, in small towns like Chartres, practicing a religion means belonging to a group, an identity and a set of ideas.

Uncheckable: 50,000 tests were planned and performed in nursing homes during the week of April 13 to 19

On Sunday, April 19, Olivier Véran, French Health Minister, said in a press conference that “This week, 50,000 tests were planned and administered in nursing homes.” But 50 000 might seem like a large number solely for nursing homes, and given the importance of these tests – especially for the elderly – it is necessary to verify if 50,000 of them were given in one week.

A new set of wonders

Emmanuel Macron announced on Monday an additional month of confinement for France, news that did not make the French happy. It was to be expected, yet, it felt unreal until it happened; and many more questions are raised as a result. With these, also come a lot of debates.

A complete lockdown the French way

This is it. We are on complete lockdown. After our Italian neighbour, this is France’s turn to go into isolation to limit the spread of the current pandemic. When our president Emmanuel Macron announced on the evening TV news, in a speech, that France was going on full lockdown for two weeks, the French didn’t imagine what life would be like during this period of time. It is not just about confinement or self-isolation in this case. This a matter of not having a legal right to go out, except with a good reason to do so and an official form to fill in -with limited options. And France has a way of reacting to issues that is very different from the rest of Europe.