Forty kilometers south of the cosmopolitan metropolis of Lille lies the French city of Hénin-Beaumont. Surrounded by waste heaps from old mines it is home to more than 26,000 people.
Hénin-Beaumont forms part of a wider region where the closure of mines and steel plants has transformed life and drawn comparisons with America's Rust Belt. Once a prosperous region in the northeast of France, it has been hit by deindustrialization and unemployment – the jobless rate has reached about 17 percent when the national average is closer to 10 percent.
Historically, steelworkers and miners have tended to vote left, but in the past few years, the far-right Front National (FN) has managed to establish itself locally. Since 2014, the party holds two cities in this region, Hénin-Beaumont and another city called Hayange.
Hénin-Beaumont itself is taken as an example of the Front National's management skills. The mayor, Steeve Briois, is widely praised by inhabitants and it didn't take long walking around the town for CNBC to find his supporters.
"When he (Briois) arrived in 2014, it was the Socialist Party at the helm, and Hénin-Beaumont had a lot of difficulties, now Mr. Briois put things right … I say that the Front National is today able to do the same thing on a national level", said Daniel Vaissier, who moved to Hénin-Beaumont a few months ago, but already supports the mayor strongly.