In the heart of winter, the cold seizes the small town hall of Frazé. The gas boiler broke down. Brigitte Pistre, elected mayor in 2008 of this town of Eure-et-Loir of five hundred inhabitants, is not moved: ” It’s part of life as an elected official in a small town,” she sighs. “We are going to have to make new grant applications for the acquisition of a heat pump. »
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Well helped by Christine Trecul, the town hall secretary, the 68-year-old city councilor, without a label – “ but rather on the left – has become a master in the art of obtaining funding to carry out the many projects undertaken over the past fourteen years to “ bring back to life » to this charming Perche village with a meager operating budget (less than €350,000 per year). Since presiding over the destinies of her town hall, she has collected 2 million euros in public subsidies and organizations such as the Heritage Foundation, a good part of which has been allocated to the restoration of the Romanesque church of Notre-Dame. , in peril for decades.
” Stones were threatening to fall and the rain was penetrating inside. We have therefore closed it for security reasons. It was a necessary but completely crazy project of 1.2 million euros. » The work was completed in March 2017, after two years of construction, from the facade to the roof until the resumption of the stained glass windows. The building now hosts classical music concerts that enliven cultural life on sunny days.
The ideal consensus profile
This Parisian by birth was not destined to one day take the reins of a local community. She followed her husband, who had just taken over a local business. Barely established in the village, it was solicited by the two competing lists, which arrived neck and neck. To break the impasse, an hour before the vote in the municipal council, the elected officials saw in her the ideal consensual profile: “I found myself mayor without knowing many people or the functioning of a town hall”, she remembers.
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Elected at the same time as Thomas Blonsky, mayor of the neighboring town of Chapelle-Royale, with whom she forms a duo ” inseparable”, it relied on the know-how of its town hall secretary, a pillar of the town since 1999: ” Everything I know, I learned from her.” she says. ” For each question to be solved, I also went to see the right people and the experts so that they could explain it to me. Anyway, a mayor who does everything alone does not work. »
It is in this spirit that she embarked her municipal team on numerous projects, left in abeyance for years, starting with the burial of the electrical network, the construction of a tourist path around the wash house and a business. , work carried out in parallel with the study of the restoration of the church. With, as a guideline, the desire to revalorize the heritage of the village.
Decorated with the Legion of Honor
“ We went to see the owner of the castle to organize, at the end of the summer, a heritage festival, the principle of which he immediately approved”, she advances. This event, a showcase for the village, has gone from strength to strength. “Little by little, the festival committee, which we had just created, and the local associations followed us and we started to program shows. We weren’t afraid of anything. All the prefects in office came, as well as Sylvie Le Clech, then regional director of cultural affairs, who helped us a lot with the church. »
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A free spirit, this former president of the Perche National Park does not hesitate to cross swords with the government so that “ the mayors are heard”. She recently took the lead of the sling against the deployment of wind turbines, co-founding, in April 2021, the Vent des Maires collective, bringing behind her more than five hundred mayors, departmental and regional councilors. ” Initially, I had a rather favorable opinion of wind power. But when I looked into the matter, listening to experts like Jean-Marc Jancovici (engineer and president of the think tank “The Shift Project”), I was struck by the damage to populations and I concluded that this intermittent energy was incapable of replacing other sectors such as nuclear. »
His energy impresses beyond his village of Frazé. On April 23, 2019, she was decorated with the Legion of Honor by Emmanuel Macron. On that day, the President of the Republic paid tribute to his commitment with these words: “When an elected official moves the lines, the lines move. »
Inspired by the great outdoors of American literature
“American authors such as Jim Harrison or James A. Michener, the author of colorado saga, a novel that marked my youth, impregnated my memory of the great American spaces, remembers Brigitte Pistre, mayor of Frazé (Eure-et-Loir). It has always made me dream, although I have never been to the United States anywhere other than New York. Raised in the bourgeois neighborhoods of Paris, which I love above all else, I had – as a little girl – a physiological need for contact with nature and rural life. I have the feeling that, in the countryside, what matters above all are human relationships. A posteriori, I can only make the link with my installation in Frazé and with my local commitment. »