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THE FLAG'S flying outside the Mairie, the village town hall, flopping idly in the soft spring breeze. Sunning himself at the top of the steps is Jean-Claude, looking like a prosperous antiquarian taking a breather in the shop doorway and scanning

IT'S ONLY a few minutes from the Spanish border, but it doesn't strike you as a frontier village. In fact, it reinforces its Frenchness, gives itself a last shot of pure Gallicism before the language, colour, scenery and ambiance changes a couple

DOWN TO the mairie for a Sunday morning meeting of the CEPDOL, an acronym so convoluted that all I can tell you about it is that the C stands for Comité. It's the village amenities committee. Nowhere else in the world would su