The ad on real estate sites is enticing. “For sale: farmhouse with preserved character on a plot of approximately 2,000 square meters facing south. “ From the outside, this red brick house does not look like much, wedged between two buildings in a quiet village in the Lille countryside. The charcoal mailbox does not display any names. However, it is here that RéinfoCovid.fr, the site of the collective against health restrictions, is domiciled. A family car is parked in the yard. There is a knock on the door, but no one answers. This insistent silence is that of a family embroiled in a possible sectarian drift.
According to associations for protection against situations of mental influence, its owners, Marie B., a former midwife converted into a teacher, and Maximilien B., independent consultant trainer in marketing and elected municipal, would consider leaving their job, their home and their village, and to settle with their three children in a village in Aveyron. Objective: to form a “Noah’s ark”, a kind of refuge turned towards the construction of an alternative society. The idea, which arouses incomprehension and terror among those around them, gave rise this summer to strong intra-family tensions.
In everyday life, the couple tries to change things. Marie, 40, a tall match with black eyes and cropped jet-black hair, continues to teach normally in a local school, while her husband, Maximilien, 42, a rugby player’s build and a salt and pepper beard, never falters in the municipal council, of which he is the first elected member of the opposition. But their recurring protest speeches ended up attracting the suspicion of those close to them, as did their polite refusal to be vaccinated by the town hall, an exception among members of the city council.
An intelligent mother, a charismatic father
Despite the absence of a “for sale” sign on their house, their life-changing plan was rumored. Everyone around them describes an intelligent mother and a charismatic father. “It was a model family, invested people”, the director of the school of their municipality laments. Same impression of a running mate of Maximilien B., who remembers a “Directive, organized business manager who knows what he wants”, of a “Highly educated couple”. Relatives share the same question: how could two spouses so educated, stable and fulfilled have been able to drift?
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