Opinion: Marine Le Pen the 'farmers friend' will be back to fight another day
I have long ago forgot the name of that once idyllic French village.
But I do remember it had a large bar-cum-bookie office, two big restaurants, a superb old fashioned hardware shop, a tobacconist/newsagent, a manly-looking barbershop, and a very large bakery.
But the thing about it was all of these businesses were closed and shuttered. The verdigris on the shutters and the weeds rampantly spreading in the guttering told us these had been closed for years.
The only functioning commerce was a small bar in the corner which opened for a few hours, four days per week. This plight of this village, a 40-minute drive from the scenic coastal town of St Brieuc, is replicated all across rural France as local farm economies struggle.
I had rented the house for a fortnight from an Englishman. Many of the houses in the once prosperous village square were holiday lets. The bulk of shopping was done in the Le Clerc hypermarket in St Brieuc which sold everything you could ever imagine - and many things you could not.
Clearly, that was more than a clue as to why all those village businesses had shut up shop. We have our share of this in every other village, and many strong market towns, across Ireland. The extent of this phenomenon in France is hopefully not a vision of our rural future here.
Seeing this level of desertification across many parts of France, I was not surprised that the Front National's Marine Le Pen had huge rural support. It is estimated that four out of 10 French farmers backed her in Sunday's presidential election.
Do not get me wrong here. I'm convinced that, from an Irish standpoint, the only positive outcome was a win for the Europhile, Emmanuel Macron. A win for Marine Le Pen would have called into question the continued existence of the European Union which is the cornerstone of Irish prosperity.