Trapped in an industrial wasteland

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The town of Givet, in the Ardennes region of north-east France, was once a flourishing industrial site, its earliest factories dating back to the late 18th century. Today, however, Givet is studded with industrial wastelands, the landmarks of a steady decline that began in the 1980s and which has accelerated over recent years. Little by little, seemingly without any fuss or mass layoffs, the town has lost its lifeblood, reaching a point of almost complete de-industrialisation. Simon Castel reports on the despair and gloom of a population trapped in crisis.

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The small town of Givet, in the Ardennes region of north-east France, was once a flourishing industrial site, its earliest factories dating back to the late 18th century. It lies at the tip of a small arrow-like stretch of land on the Franco-Belgian border, on the banks of the river Meuse, once an important international commercial waterway that played a key part in its economic development.