Strasbourg: A Tailor in The City of Suits
Once a month an army of parliamentarians, assistants, advisors and miscellaneous bureaucrats descend on Strasbourg when the European Parliament convenes. During this week, Strasbourg becomes "The City of Suits". But these suits don't grow on trees...
Strasbourg is the capital city of the Alsace region in eastern France. It's right on the border with Germany and has repeatedly changed hands throughout history. But now, thanks to 60 years of peace, the city is a thriving, multicultural capital of Europe.
Despite being a very lovely city, it is not famous for its people, monuments or food. Strasbourg is famous for the European institutions.
One week every month, European politicians who usually work and live in Brussels move en masse to Strasbourg. This monthly migration fill the streets and hotels. During this week Strasbourg becomes "The City of Suits".
Xavier Hedoire is a tailor who lives in Strasbourg. He came to the city with one thing in mind: to suit and boot Strasbourg's main players. More specifically, he wanted to tap into the suit selling potential of the European institutions.
However, life is not easy for a person who enjoys tailoring men's suits and wants to do it for a living: Strasbourg is The City of Suits only seven days a month and it is hard to find clients who come back regularly.
When Xavier first came to Strasbourg, there were no men's tailors who made to measure.
But clouds loom large on the horizon for Xavier and his fellow Strasbourgeois.
There is talk of doing away with the so-called "second parliamentary seat". Some of Europe's politicians want to abolish the Strasbourg parliament and do everything in Brussels.
They complain about personal inconvenience and the cost, but they spare little thought for the people of Strasbourg, many of whom depend on the European institutions for their livelihood.
Xavier, like most people in Strasbourg, wants to keep the Parliament. For him it's not just an economic issue. Strasbourg's European institutions hold an important symbolic meaning for the city.
Strasbourg: A Tailor in The City of Suits, by Josep Gutiérrez
This article is part of a special series devoted to Strasbourg. It's part of "EU-topia : Time To Vote", a project run by Cafébabel in partnership with the Hippocrène foundation, The European Commission the Ministry of Foreign Affaires and the EVENS foundation. The whole series will soon be available on the homepage.