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.

Mostly false: French women are using code word “mask-19” at pharmacies to escape domestic violence during lockdown

Domestic violence cases have jumped by 30 % during lockdown in France. Being confined at home with abusive partners increases the risk to victims. A TV report on Channel One Russia, covering the situation in France, included the claim that using code word “mask-19” is a common practice among French women to let people know that they’re being abused at home.

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.

The feeling of being powerful

Since we are locked inside 24 hours a day, it’s normal to want to do something during this crisis we are facing. Giving your blood is one of the easiest things you can do. Behind the work at the donation centers, reality often catches up with us. I was barely 21. And, celebrating your birthday under coronavirus times was definitely not something that I would recommend. The birthday wishes were as varied as “Good luck in this difficult time”, “Do you know someone who has corona?”,“Is your family okay?”. I was a French student in Denmark, and I was feeling useless. I was pretty sure that I wasn’t the only one having this feeling. Between the four walls of my bedroom, I was going nuts. While I was watching the news, hearing about the doctors, teachers, cashiers, farmers helping in many ways to help our countries, I realized that me, a 21 years-old girl, with both my legs and arms, I could also act. Being powerful.

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.