The story of Cheylard, another French town felled by the crisis

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The small town of Le Cheylard, in the Ardèche region of south-east France, has for decades enjoyed an unusual level of prosperity, essentially through the national and international success of two local companies, one a textile firm the other a jewellery-maker. But now Le Cheylard is facing sudden social death after the companies, weakened by market changes, international competition and the economic crisis, announce job cuts, shorter working weeks and the threat of delocalisation to the Far East. Rachida el Azzouzi reports from a town that is a mirror image of the dramatic industrial transformations wrecking small communities across France.

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Le Cheylard is a small industrial town of 3,500 inhabitants situated on the edge of the picturesque Ardèche National Park in south-eastern France. Until now, the town has been passed over by economic crises, making it an exception in the region and a far cry from the ghost villages one passes through on the twisting roads that lead to it.