- July 5, 2020, Courneuve police station (Seine-Saint-Denis)

Leaving the A1 motorway, the flashing lights of the convoy suddenly go out and the midnight blue vans discreetly enter the ramp leading to La Courneuve, until they rush into the parking lot of the police station.

Arrived at Matignon two days earlier, Jean Castex, unknown to the general public, wants to impose himself by digging a furrow: the regal.

Hence this unexpected visit to the police, after a dinner with Emmanuel Macron where he settled the final details of the composition of his government, which will be announced the next day.

During his first weeks between two waves of Covid, Mr. Castex insisted on safety, going to Nice, Dijon, Bobigny ... before being caught up in the fall by the health situation.

- September 6, 2021, Roussillon chemical platform (Isère)

It is more than 30 degrees in the shade and the paved avenues of the platform offer little respite to elected officials and business leaders accompanying Jean Castex.

"What a symbol all the same", marvels the Prime Minister.

At this place must be relaunched the production of paracetamol, 15 years after the closure of the last site in France, thanks in particular to State credits.

Mr. Castex will then use this example extensively, when it comes to illustrating the will of the executive to increase the industrial sovereignty of the country.

- September 23, 2021, in Saône-et-Loire

Crouching, his hand resting on that of Renée Delize, 95, Jean Castex comments on the photos he has just taken down from the fridge.

The Minister of Health Olivier Véran walks his gaze into the decrepit interior of this house located on the outskirts of Couches.

True to his reputation as a "croque-mémé", Mr. Castex loves to chat with the elderly, joking kindly about their form, slipping health instructions for vaccination or barrier gestures.

Sometimes borrowed in front of the cameras, he is never so much at ease as in proximity, willingly tactile and good-natured.

In Autun that same day, he toasted in the street with a merry band of retirees from Crédit Agricole, provided with plum alcohol hidden in hydroalcoholic gel dispensers.

What to warm up before 47 minutes of speech without note and in the sun.

- November 3, 2021, in Perpignan.

With childish joy, Jean Castex climbs into the locomotive and makes the train whistle twice.

He has just officially put the "primeur train" back on track between Perpignan and Rungis, after a two-year hiatus.

A high point in this tailor-made day, marked by a detour to his stronghold of Prades and a tribute concert to his idol Georges Brassens in Sète.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex (c) gets off the Perpignan-Rungis train which resumes service at the Saint Charles freight station in Perpignan, October 22, 2021 RAYMOND ROIG AFP / Archives

During his tenure at Matignon, Mr. Castex multiplied the inaugurations of small lines, the signing of high-speed link projects, the reopening of night trains, going so far as to sleep himself in a Paris - Nice.

A passion.

- December 31, 2021, at Cochin Hospital (Paris)

"I could do a Gault and Millau of hospitals", launches Mr. Castex when arriving at the Cochin hospital.

The milestone of the new year is crossed there, almost without noticing it, in the corridors of an emergency service, chatting with caregivers about incidence rates, doses of vaccine, or even salary increases.

It is through his management of the Covid that Mr. Castex found his media and political existence.

His press conferences to confine or deconfine France, detail the restriction measures, gave him unparalleled exposure.

So, tirelessly, Mr. Castex surveyed hospitals, vaccination centers, pharmacies and doctor's offices in all corners of France.

- April 22, 2022, in Narbonne

A9 motorway, Narbonne Vinassan rest area.

Mr. Castex waits at the checkout, a brand new Michelin map in hand.

The presidential campaign is coming to an end.

Far, very far from the frenzy of travel by Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, the Prime Minister raked quietly, here in Occitania, from Nîmes to Alès via Montpellier and the Sète hinterland.

So, for what remains of the journey to be made before joining Figeac in the Lot, where candidate Macron's last meeting is being held, Mr. Castex wants to make sure that there will not be a final stop to be made. , without camera or photographer.

It will end with a short stop at the Millau viaduct, to contemplate the structure and exchange a few words with the vendors at a snack bar while downing a coffee.

A few hours later, under the halls of Figeac, Mr. Macron will pay him a strong tribute.

© 2022 AFP

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