Paris has elected its first-ever female mayor, the Spanish-born Socialist Anne Hidalgo, even as elsewhere in the country more right-wing candidates won their races. Hidalgo received 54.5 per cent of the vote.

Hidalgo promised major investment in housing, transportation, and green spaces, hoping to stay the exodus of middle and working-class families from the city, aiming specifically to create 10,000 new social housing units and 5,000 kindergarten places.

It seems that the rhetoric of the debate around the election hinged largely upon questions of class: Hidalgo's rival, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet comes from what the Telegraph characterizes as a "wealthy establishment family," while Hidalgo grew up in the a working-class suburb of Lyon.

At one point Kosciusko-Morizet referred to the race as a choice "between the star and the caretaker"—a reference that was widely understood to be a snobby reference to the fact that, historically, the concierges of Parisian apartment buildings have been Spanish and Portuguese immigrants.

Kosciusko-Morizet's center-right elitism may have been repudiated in the capital, but the far-right National Front party, an anti-immigrant group, made gains at the local level.

Hidalgo is known to quote the writer Sacha Guitry: "Being a Parisian is not about being born in Paris, it is about being reborn there." And the rest of France?