In front of me in the supermarket queue the young woman stood to one side as her husband packed up the shopping before paying.
Unlike the rest of us in the humid heat, she showed no glimpse of flesh beyond her face and arms. She was wearing the hijab, a veil covering her hair, and a long tunic over a matching skirt which came to below her ankles.
The material was a silk mix, the colour silvery-blue not black, and, unlike many of the women around her in their too-tight shorts and straining T-shirts, she looked elegant and poised.
Her small child sitting in the trolley dropped a packet of biscuits at my feet. She thanked me, smiling as I returned it and we had a brief chat as to his age and if he were "un enfant unique" - an only child.
The husband gave me an equally open smile as he replied: "So far." A pleasant, if banal, moment in a day.
Now, many French have no qualms about staring openly at something that interests them, but I became aware of a frisson in the queue.
Even the checkout girl was staring at our little tableau with a look of something just short of disdain. Like me, the mother had felt it too and her smile disappeared, her lovely face effectively shut down and quickly the family went on their way.
I raised my voice to say goodbye and the checkout girl gave a faint "tsk", her mouth a moue as she muttered to me, "Bonjour, Madame."
"Is there a problem?" I asked. "No," she said guilelessly, but the twitch of her shoulders said otherwise.
That happened two years ago, soon after France's ban on public wearing of the burqa became law; so I put down what felt racist to a heightened sense of Muslim awareness.
It was a tense time with the burqa a visible embodiment of that tension. According to polls, 80% of the French supported the move although it was estimated that only 2000 women ever wore the burqa, the all-covering garment which leaves only a slit for the eyes.
At the same time Martine Le Pen positioned herself as the acceptable new voice of an old ugly movement, the Front National (FN).
I had never seen full burqa-wearing women anywhere outside of the main towns in south-west France. Indeed most of the Muslim women wore western clothes and make-up with the style once synonymous with French women, although no longer.
Soon after the ban, though, more and more women took to a form of concealment, like that young mother.
In Moissac, which has long had a strong well-integrated Megrahbi population, one became aware of a withdrawal; a turning inwards of the "threatened" to their own communities and cafes.
Twelve months later, socialist Francois Hollande took the presidential crown, but the FN had made extraordinary leaps in public support, making it the third largest party.
My village, and many around me in the old heartland of France, had given that support to an unprecedented and disturbing level.
The once-private agreement with Le Pen's anti-immigration, anti-EU, deeply protectionist polices and its distasteful offshoots, was now openly voiced.
Today, Hollande's popularity is lower than even former president Sarkozy's in his darkest days. And with the Bettencourt corruption charges against him dropped (although he remains embroiled in a host of other unrelated legal accusations), it has become a distinct possibility that Sarkozy will run again in 2017.
And in the south-eastern town of Brignoles, two far right candidates have taken 50% of the votes in the first round of one by-election. Recent polls suggest the FN could take as much as 16% in next March's municipal elections.
To ensure this Le Pen is threatening to sue any journalists or politicians who continue to label her party the far right and has expelled overtly racist activists.
Unfortunately for her there is a little matter in the way first. In July the European Parliament lifted her parliamentary immunity, thus clearing the path for the former MEP to be prosecuted for incitement to racial hatred for comments she made three years ago when she compared Muslim street prayers to the Nazi occupation.
With record rates of unemployment, a sluggish economy and an influx of immigrants, all the conditions are there for a lurch towards the right - as far as it may go.
I have until the end of the year to present myself at the town hall and register to vote next March.
In the past I didn't feel it was my right or my place, as a guest, to have a say in something so local, so imbued with past history and knowledge I could never hope to fully understand or acquire.
No longer. My vote will be, of course, against the FN. If the last results are anything to go on, I may well be the only dissenting voice, and of course the mayor will know my name.
Tant pis. Tough.
With my light skin and European background I'm acceptable for now - I don't stand out in a hijab.
But I am equally an immigrant, just the same as the woman at the checkout.
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