France's upper classes look upon housemaids and housekeepers from Portugal as the most honest of domestic staff and as “pearls who they must hold on to at all costs”. Yet behind the walls of these families' sumptuous properties there lurks another world; one in which class differences are very much alive. Mediapart has spoken to Portuguese maids and housekeepers working in the north of France and heard their stories of long hours, unrelenting toil and penny-pinching employers. Mickaël Correia reports.
Last Thursday the seven candidates in the Socialist Party's primary to choose a presidential candidate took part in the first of three televised debates. Mediapart joined a group of party members watching the first debate at Roubaix near Lille in northern France, which is historically one of the staunchest of socialist strongholds in France. As Amélie Poinssot discovered, many grassroots activists are still hopeful the party can be rebuilt despite the massive disappointment of François Hollande's presidency.