Roubaix, a town in France’s run-down industrial north, was ranked in a 2014 study as the poorest place in the country, with 45 percent of its residents living below the poverty line.
In the same study, the plush Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine was ranked at the other end of the scale, with only seven percent of residents living in poverty.
The two towns are worlds apart in terms of prosperity and The Local found the residents have very different views of the upcoming presidential election and who they would vote for.
(The map below shows Roubaix, near Lille in northern France, and Neuilly-sur-Seine beside Paris.)
In Roubaix, a town on the Belgian border, the old beating heart of France's textile industry, the question was not which candidate voters would back, but whether they would vote at all. It’s easy to see why the town has been nicknamed “the capital of abstention”.
Many who The Local spoke with admitted to a serious disillusionment with the country, saying they felt their vote in the upcoming presidential election would make no difference to their future.
Sylvain Decobecq, a 36-year-old labourer, was among several who said they wouldn't cast a vote in April.
“I just don't think that any of the politicians actually want to do anything for us… I've never seen a president make France any better,” he said.
And it's no surprise they feel hard done by.
Some 40,000 of the city's 95,000-strong population live below the poverty threshold of €1,008 a month.
The most recent stats from Insee found unemployment has topped 30 percent in recent years compared to about 10 percent nationwide. Long gone are the glory days when the industries flourished in the north, with factories long since closed down.
A local youth association, Nouveau Regarde sur le Jeunesse, is so concerned about voter apathy that they will distribute 10,000 leaflets and organise a Facebook campaign urging local young people to turn out and vote.
With the presidential election around the corner, Roubaix is one of the many working class towns where the far-right Marine Le Pen is expected to woo disillusioned and hard-up voters. In France's 2015 regional elections Le Pen won more backing from Roubaix's voters (26 percent) in the first round than any other candidate.
“People in Roubaix don't think for themselves,” said the labourer Decobecq. “Le Pen just plays into the fact that things were cheaper, perhaps better, ten years ago and says she will fix it. And people want to hear that.”
Christophe Catteau, a 42-year-old security guard, said that while he won't be voting “because it won't change anything anyway” – his wife was among those who planned to pick Le Pen.
“She thinks Le Pen's programme is good. France has tried other parties and we've had no luck with them,” he said.
But the locals in Roubaix, once a bastion of socialism, are far from all having fallen under the spell of Le Pen, especially those who make up its large immigrant population.
Brahim Foudi, a 42-year-old who works as a gardener at the City Hall, says he will vote for “anyone but Le Pen”.
“She says she is going to create new jobs – come on, that's never going to happen. She is just targeting all the people in northern France who have no jobs and no choice,” he says.
“We have people in Roubaix queuing up for free food and they think everything will be solved with Marine Le Pen. They're wrong.”
Many voters in the town say they could not bring themselves to vote for François Fillon if the scandal-hit candidate ends up in the crucial run-off vote against Le Pen.
So even if many of Roubaix's voters don't back Le Pen, they could still boost her chances of victory by staying away from the ballot boxes.