02 November, 2014

Transfert of the Angers jail, a risky evasion towards contemporary art

Opinion. - La récente décision du gouvernement de transférer d'Angers à Trélazé l'actuelle prison est une opportunité à de nombreux titres. Mais le projet d'y installer un nouveau musée mérite d'être mûrement réfléchi. 

The recent decision of the French government to move from Angers to Trélazé the jail is surely a big change for the convicted persons as well as the prison wardens. But it is also a fundamental change for all the inhabitants of the Saint-Michel district as an opportunity for the Angers city council to implement an important change in that area. That place is in in fact a privilegied one because of the proximity of the botanical garden and of the Angers down town. Moreover, in a few years, the Saint-Michel disctrict could be served by the second tramway line. 

The Angers town councillors and the mayor promoted the complete transformation of the jail, an ugly building uterring a death atmosphere, in a contemporary art museum during the electoral campaign. Given the poor conditions of the current jail, important works that the city will have to finance, at least for a part, will have to be planned. The conversion of a sinister place into an attractive one, a XIXth century architecture into a facility hosting works of art will be a costly and a risky project because it makes necessary the complete change of the surrounding district. 

Given the tough competition between museum dedicated to contemporary art, it is far to be sure that the Angers municipal project will be financially balanced and appropriate to the current difficulties. TheTerra Botnica park has itself been questioned by Maine et Loire décision makers. Another solution could be foreseeable. The complete demolition of the jail and the erection of modern buildings for offices, homes or stores is something also conceivable which could be favourable to the development of the current Angers congress centre. Angers is maybe in need of a contemporary face to be attractive but is a supplementary museum the only option to get that?

04 October, 2014

Jean d'Ormesson in Angers for a message of hope

L'écrivain, journaliste et philosophe Jean d'Ormesson est venu délivrer aux Angevins un message d'espérance à l'occasion de la parution de son dernier livre.

The Angers Grand théâtre was on October 4th the place where hundreds of the French philosopher Jean d'Ormesson's admirers gathered to get a message of hope. That one, invited by the Richer bookshop to autograph his last novel ("Comme un chant d'espérance") about the origins and the end of the universe, also spoke about his own origins and feelings about the future. Mr. d'Ormesson told the public, through numerous anecdotes, how his life was and still is happy. "I loved my parents and my parents loved me. What a tragedy!", he maliciously said. 

If the author has no regret about a kind of "golden past", he gave a message of hope the theatre audience was desperately waiting. Jean d'Ormesson excels in that kind of exercising hihgly appreciated by the public. Litterary quotes, historical exposés and personal souvenirs with scientists, authors and politicians made the conference captivating and, in that kind of situation where the form is as important as the content, the Richer's guest is unsurpassable. 

The lecturer was invited to tell his feelings about the current despair of French people. "Debt, unemployment" are some of the numerous difficulties which may explain why French people are hopeless, admitted Jean d'Ormesson who also added that the speed of the change is something rather disorienting : "I am always fascinated about the fact mobile phones took the place of the rosary", what led the audience to approve. In the circumstances, the author was escorted by his daughter, Eloïse, publisher who also detailed what kind of father Jean d'Ormesson was. 

He surely is one the intellectual father of contemporary France and surely a very missed character when he will be gone. 

30 September, 2014

Letter from the editor

Edgar Girondin involved in a training programme for months is not as available as he was until now for the blog. He apologizes to his readers.

27 September, 2014

The Angers streets as ways of dissatisfaction

Le dernier chat du maire avec des habitants montrent que ceux-ci son principalement préoccupés par les questions de voiries et de cadre de vie. En consacrant une part de sa campagne à ce sujet, l'ancien candidat parait avoir rencontré une aspiration des électeurs.

Among the numerous questions arisen to the Angers Mayor, Christophe Béchu - already a specificity of his chat with Angers inhabitants on September 23rd compared to the previous sessions - most of them illustrate an interest of the people for the current conditions of the streets, squares and pavements in town. The place they have had in the municipal campaign of Mr. Béchu looks to match a real concern. Many internauts complained last Tuesday about the filthness of pavements, the ageing of some squares (Leclerc) and the sadness of streets even in downtown. 

The difficulties experienced for the parking of cars were also an issue. People complained about the lack of parking areas, and the difficulties to use the current parking like the one of the Ralliement square. The exchanges point out a question about the importance of the car traffic which looks to become for some of mayors' interlocutors something preventing them to benefit of their city. An implementation of a second tramway line is waited and there is expectations about the rank of bikes in Angers.The streets were, but from another perspective, an issue for hustle and bustle in Angers. If some residents are worried about the nocturnal nuisances, others feel regrettable the same streets are not sufficiently enlived during the most important events in Angers, like the Accroche-Coeurs. 

The talk took place just before the announcement of ThyssenKrupp about the losses of jobs what could explain the absence of debate between the mayor and the citizens about economic subject. But the integration of students in the local employment is more than ever problematic.

25 September, 2014

ThyssenKrupp : Angers goes down one more floor

Angers a effectivement encaissé un nouveau coup dur. L'un de ses fleurons industriels, l'usine de fabrication d'ascenseurs ThyssenKrupp, va licencier, d'ici l'été prochain, plus de la moitié de ses salariés. Fait du hasard, pour une toute raison, la mairie avait décidé que tous les drapeaux seraient en berne ce matin.

After the Thomson, Motorola, Act and Packard Bell closures, the industrial weakening of Angers has crossed a new threshold. The Angers ThyssenKrupp Elevator Manufacturing France management has made on September 25 official that more than the half of the factory staff will be laid off before July 2015. That is to say 258 jobs out of 450, 57% exactly! Only about 190 would stay. The sales of the factory have decreased by 26% in six years and are now under 100 millions euros.

Credit Picture : ThyssenKrupp
The holding decided to react. "This project is necessary to protect the competi-tiveness of our group on the elevator sector in a market more and more difficult, especially in France", said the French management of ThyssenKrupp. The local managers met the Angers mayor, Christophe Béchu, to whom they gave "the guarantee that the restructuring didn't endanger the future of the Angers site". Nevertheless, "That news is a new shock for the Angers employment area, already weakened during the last years", pointed out Mr. Béchu.

For many observers, in spite of the complicated situation of the real estate market nationaly and locally, the measure is a complete surprise. "I am very worried, admitted Marc Goua, Angers Member of parliament. At the national scale we must lower the work costs and become again competitive [The ThyssenKrupp group has another factory in Spain who only work to the third of its capacity]. But, at the local level, the Angers industrial area has a big deficit in visibility. Angers doesn't measure up". For a worse reason, all the flags in tow were put at half-mast the same day.

24 September, 2014

ThyssenKrupp Angers may cut 250 jobs out of 450

Si elle devait être confirmée, la perte de 250 emplois chez ThyssenKrupp, l'une des plus importantes entreprises d'Angers, serait un nouveau séisme après la disparition de Thomson voici deux ans.

If a worsening of the Angers economic situation was predictable after the end of the summer holidays, the bad news arrived from an unexpected sector. Weeks ago, the commercial court had warned that in the construction section, some companies were endangered by a depressed activity. Finally, the most dramatic news for Angers in the economic field comes from one of its flagship companies. The Angers subsidiary of the German ThyssenKrupp company may lay off quite half of its labor force : 250 jobs out of 450. The announcement of the measure is due to be officialized to the staff's representatives on September 25th.

The managers of the company have already met the Angers mayor, Christophe Béchu, and told him their local factory faced "industrial difficulties". Those are of course connected with the depression in the construction sector, in Angers but also in France, at the same time in new buildings and maintenance. One of the two subsidiaries of ThyssenKrupp in Angers, the ThyssenKrupp Ascenseurs France had already experienced a severe "weight-loss programme", with jobs suppression and closures of agencies.Now it would be the turn of ThyssenKrupp Elevator Manufacturing which produces the elevators. 

Credit Thyssen Krupp

The two Angers subsidiaries of ThyssenKrupp are the only one the German group has in France and thir size is quite reduced : worldwide, ThyssenKrupp has  around 46,000 employees. The German company has other factories in Germany and Spain. All the production sites would be currently gauged and the German management would plan to close the less profitable. The Angers labor market was already in bad conditions. In Maine-et-Loire, the growth of job seekers was in August beyond 2% over a year. And two years ago, the local economy was hit by the closure of Thomson and is far from having recovered.

22 September, 2014

Angers Heritage Days attracted about 100,000 persons

Les Journées du patrimoine ont attiré quelques 100 000 visiteurs à Angers et alentours. La participation a été stable. Les principaux monuments angevins sont restés très prisés. Mais de nouvelles places ouvertes au public devront encore faire des efforts pour être attractives.

In spite of a rather autumnal weather on Angers, the Heritage days of September 20 and 21 have recorded a stable attendance in the city and surroundings with a common theme : natural heritage - cultural heritage. The Angers castle was, once again the most visited of the town monuments maybe because that one played the ecological card with the settlements of gardens on the ramparts. 

The Maine et Loire préfecture also opened its garden, for long totally hidden to the passer-by. Maybe because of the works of the new building of the Conseil général, those gardens were not in their best appearance : the paths were rather damaged and the scarcity of financial resources is outside, but also inside the state building, visible. If several private mansions were opened to the public, some of them are rather uninteresting given their bad architectural conditions... 

But it is above all the museum of natural history which made a hit : the number of visitors was three times more important than the previous edition.That facility hosts since a few weeks a permanent exhibition "The human zoo" about the exhibitions, in Angers, of people coming from Africa, Asia and America in order to be exposed at the sight of European people believing they were upper. The Ronceray Abbey and the Grand théâtre were some of the most visited.

More than 70,000 people in Angers and 24,000 outside the city took part to the event.

20 September, 2014

The Maine-et-Loire general council faces "serious" financial difficulties

Le Conseil général de Maine-et-Loire, comme d'autres Conseils généraux, est aux prises avec de sérieuses difficultés financières. Selon son président, la baisse des recettes et la hausse des depenses, due à l'aggravation de la pauvreté, obligent à vendre des actifs et à emprunter, ce qui alourdit une dette qu'il faudra rembourser.

The Maine-et-Loire general council faces serious financial difficulties. According to his president, Christian Gilet, "In the current conditions, the 2015 budget is infeasible. In order to balance it, we should next year increase taxes in unreasonables proportions, we should halt the payment of the active solidarity allowance, what we will not do of course". The revenues of the department authority will decrease by 12 millions and its expenses will increase by 10
millions on next year, precisely because of the rise of that allocation since last September 1st.

In order to fill the gap, 22 millions euros, Mr. Gillet announces the general council has to save money in the capital as well as the operating budgets. Regarding the last one, in which the wages of the staff sum up 100 millions euros, "The retirements, about 15 to 20 persons per year, will not be replaced". But that will not be sufficient, the president says the authority has no other choice but to borow money by 9 millions euros which will burden its current debt : 453 millions euros. It has been calculated that, while a few years ago, the previous debt would have absorbed 8 yearly budgets, the total repayment of the debt would today absorb 12 of those.

In order to get cash, the general council is selling all kinds of assets (mansions, woodlands, equities). It plans to gather in a single place departments currently scattered all over Angers (with the new building in Foch boulevard). Even the finance department is not sheltered in the general council but in a bank, for 200 000 euros per year. The authority is not anymore able to support some of its major operations. Anjou Velo Vintage (1.2 million euros) will have to be managed with Angers and so could leave Saumur. The 2015 edition may start in the Terra Botanica park, itself in difficult conditions. "If we had to launch it now, I am not sure we would do so", precises Mr. Gilet who also confesses : "I hadn't thougth the situation was so serious".

18 September, 2014

Independance from England, Scotland marked a point near Angers

Alors que l'issue du référendum sur l'indépendance de l'Ecosse face au Royaume-Uni est incertaine, Ecossais et Anglais se sont déjà affrontés en France. C'est en effet non loin d'Angers que s'est jouée une bataille menée par les Français avec les Ecossais contre les Anglais laquelle a empêché une occupation totale de la France de l'époque par les occupants d'outre-Manche : la bataille de Baugé du 22 mars 1421. Les Ecossais auraient ramené de cette région un jeu appelé à devenir célèbre... en Angleterre.

While the results of the referendum in Scotland about independance from UK were, on the evening of September 18th, largely unknown, Angers might remember that his independance from English domination is partly due to... the Scottish army.   Less than 600 years ago, in March 1421, the city was besieged by an English army sent in France to fight the dauphin Charles, future Charles VII, who wanted to get back French territories from the kingdom of England.

crosseAfter that army failed to take possession of Angers, that one directed towards Tours on the Roman way going by Baugé. About 3,000 men had rest there. They caught a Scottish prisoners of whom they learnt that an army of 5,000 men, French and Scottish was in the surroundings. Charles had concluded an alliance with Scotland, at that time independant from England, to reconquer his French
kingdom. With only 1,500 men, because most of the redoutable English archers were involved in the looting of Baugé in order to feed, the English commander nevertheless decided to attack the French and Scottish army. But it was a stunning defeat : 1,000 English were killed and 500 prisoners. After that, the English withdrew in Normandy.

It is said that the Scottish present in Baugé would attended an original game, called the "chôle". The game was played in the streets, on the ramparts and in the fields in and around the towns with curbed sticks and elliptical wooden balls. The essence of the game is to reach a target in a number of strokes decided upon beforehand but with not fixed routes. The play would have been imported to Scotland and would have became the ancestor of... golf.


14 September, 2014

Religious activists go on stage during Les Accroche-Coeurs festival

Pour la première fois en quinze ans, un spectacle du festival des arts de la rue, Les Accroche-Coeurs, a été interrompu par des manifestants religieux. Après avoir en premier lieu décidé de l'annuler en raison d'un risque de trouble à l'ordre public, la mairie d'Angers s'est finalement résolue à le représenter.

One of the numerous shows of the street art festival, Les Accroche-Coeurs, has triggerred incidents from religious activists on September 13th, which led Angers town hall to cancel the play in open air circumstances, then to authorize it in a closed space the following day. "Squames", a three hour show played by the Kumulus company, has been interrupted by twelve muslims integrists brandishing the Kuran and shouting insults like "impure", "racists", "bitches" and "little prick" leading the actors to suspend the play. After the decision of cancellation made public, the other street art companies (about 60) taking part to the festival announced their decision to stop immediately their participation, what would have purely and solely ended the 2014 edition of Les Accroche-Coeurs.

Credit Pictures : Kumulus
The Kumulus company explains that "Squames" is a show "making echo to the ethnological exhibitions which took place in France less than a century [even in Angers like a municipal exhibition recently reminded it]. That play invites everyone to question himself about the look we have on others, on the way we treat differences and denounces the multiple forms of racism. It confronts the critical sense of passer-by". After the Angers city "apologized for that show which may have shocked some festival-goers", the Kumulus company, on the contrary, "refused to apologize because of the content of its show. That one, which is played since 30 years all over the world, is in no way an apology of racism, on the contrary. Today, more than ever, we must fight obscurantism".

In the end, the show was performed on Sunday 14 in the Le Quai theatre. This is the first time, such an incident occurs during Les Accroche-Coeurs. But a few years ago, another show had triggered criticism from Catholic people.

13 September, 2014

A nice cup of twinning

Le cinquantième anniversaire du jumelage tripartite entre Angers, Haarlem et Osnabruck a été célébré le 14 septembre en présence de délégations de toutes les villes avec lesquelles Angers a noué des liens de coopération. Les participants ont souligné que le jumelage restait, face à un repli sur soi de plus en plus répandu et face à une contestation de l'idéal européen, plus que jamais nécessaire. 

More than an anniversary, the celebrations of the half century of relationships between Angers and several cities partners from Europe and Africa were an opportunity to a relaunch. "The current period is not propitious to strengthen links. Nevertheless, given the criticisms generated by the economic crisis and ta focusing on one's inner self, more than ever that task is necessary", reminded the Angers mayor, Christophe Béchu, to the Bamako, Haarlem, Osnabrück, Pisa, Södertälje and Wigan delegations gathered in the Terra Botanica park on September 14th. The Wigan representative, who detailed her trip in Angers was the first one, even added that "We are in a test period for our people".

If, on many issues, differences will appear in policies implemented by the previous and the current city council, in the field of twinnings, no such split is foreseeable. And the successive Angers decision makers were all praised for their part in what is today considered as an achievement.

Some of those guests reported the questions of their own fellow citizens. "There is a scepticism regarding Europe which goes far beyond the European currency. So our new challenge is to find a good basis for the European project", pointed out an Haarlem representative. Sometimes, symbols appears important in the pursuit of the twinning scheme. The Osnabruk delegate reported that "dead trees where marks of the first WW bullets were still visible have been used by her city as panels for pacifist sentences extrated from the "All quiet on the Western front" book of the German Erich Maria Remarque  and will be used in the same way
until 2018".

The Bamako spokesperson illustrated through daily achievements and the involvement of numerous Angers communities, how the twinning with the french city, launched in 1974 by Christophe Béchu's (conservative)  predecessor, the Socialist Jean Monnier, was a success. Those experiences may trigger new developments. The Södertälje mayor, whose city is close to Angers through the Scania trucks factory, announced a project in the field of education through the settlement of a school in Angers.

The Angers town council to the test of finance

Les questions financières dominent la rentrée du Conseil municipal. Economies, restructurations, politique de subventions aux associations et code de bonne conduite des élus sont dans le viseur. On entre "dans le dur".

The Angers mayor, Christophe Béchu, about six months after he took office, applied himself to demonstrate that the promises he made during the campaign, had been and will be implemented. Probably invisible for the inahabitants, the financial measures were nevertheless essential in Christophe Béchu's political platform.The audit of Angers resources and expenses led to savings. It is said that all the managers of town hall have been strongly recommanded to lower their expenditures by 2%.

After a first corrective budget has been passed, a second will be submitted in November which will lead to save more money. An important initiative, which could inspire others, consists in the merger of different economic and social structures in a single one, whose area will be the Angers Loire Métropole territory. Mr Béchu also announced that a conference gathering some 1,600 associations will take place in November. The mayor wants to get "common rules for all of them" in the gifts of allocations.

The urban planning of the new team will start to diverge with the projects of the previous town council. Two of them emerge : the new route of the seconc tramway line is under consideration and will be determined in accordance with the financial constraints of the city; the settlement of the Maine banks, it appears that the extent of the scheme will be focused on Angers down town, above all in the range included between Molière and Saint-Serge squares.

Mr Béchu also wants those financial limits taken in account by the town councillors. The mayor would like that their allowances be linked to their assiduousness. In the meantime, other issues, much less popular, are in the pipe : Angers would have to pay 3 millions euros after the withdrawal of the new congress centre project and a tough case with Véolia and Vinci companies is looming about the Biopole technical malfunctions. There is a lot of money at stake.

10 September, 2014

An opponent of the former Angers municipal majority will take office as ombudsman

Un opposant à l'ancienne majorité municipale d'Angers a été nommé médiateur. Ce poste est en outre partagé avec le Conseil général. Ce changement n'est pas sans significations.

The recent designation of the second ombudsman of Angers marks the will of the Angers city council to save money. After the first one, Henri Poizat, left his office a few months ago, it has been decided that his successor would be in charge of the trouble-shooter tasks on behalf the Angers town hall and the Maine-et-Loire general council.  That will reduce the expenses of the city itself and will reduce those of the department which also had its own ombudsman.

But it marks also a political gesture. The new holder of the office, Hervé Carré, was a former general councillor of Maine-et-Loire between 1998 and 2001 as well as a former deputy-mayor of Angers under Jean-Claude Antonini's term. Mr. Carré, first member of Mr. Antonini's majority was later dismissed by that one because he expressed dissident opinion. Mr. Carré has no political mandate. He will start his job next October. 

That nomination may have two meanings. First the share of an ombudsman between two authorities, very close in political trend, could be the announcement of more systematic pooling. Recently the president of the general council made clear that he wished joint efforts in order to promote the Terra Botanica parl. Secondly, Hervé Carré, who had be a close ally of the former Angers socialist mayor, Mr. Antonini,was considered by him later (like Jean-Luc Rotureau), as an ennemy. The come back to a public office of an foe of the previous mayor is the clue that a page has been turned.

08 September, 2014

The political end of summer has rung

Le retour des affaires publiques et parfois des polémiques indiquent que l'heure de la rentrée politique a sonné.

If a few days ago, Angers inhabitants resumed their work, their studies or their household tasks, the city representatives are starting their come back at the front or the stage. Meetings in Angers Loire Métropole, presse conference by the Angers mayor, opinion colums in the medias and, above all, polemic about the 2014 season of Terra Botanica are the main clues of the political end of summer break. 

At Angers Loire Métropole, it seems Christophe Béchu, its president, has suceeded in keeping that authority on technical issues. The next meeting will be dedicated to higher education and researh through allocations to the two universties as well as high schools. But it is not sure things will go along that way. The Alm authority has recently started to buy houses located near the Biopole plant. "We do not implement expropriations. We buy out those homes at the prices of the Service des domaines", Mr. Béchu points out.

After that one was criticized through the Terra Botanica, Biopole could also be in the hot seat. A report has been made about the running of the facility but has not be made public. It will surely at the agenda of a next debatge at Angers Loire Métropole as weel as the association of tat authority and the city to the botanic park.

07 September, 2014

Angers will not probably linked to Linky

La réindustrialisation de l'ancien site de Thomson n'est pas pour demain. Le compteur intelligent Linky que lance Erdf sera fabriqué dans l'Ouest à Dinan. La destinée de ce qui devient au fil des mois une friche industrielle est d'ores et déjà un sujet de préoccupation pour la nouvelle municipalité angevine.

The restarting of the Thomson site is not established. The place, supported by the former Angers city council to manufacture the clever meter Linky on behald the French electricity network Erdf, is very probably moved aside. The meter will be assembled in Dinan, a Brittany city. The Linky meter transmits automatically to the customer his electricity consumption.

For Angers, the disappointment is real. The Thomson industrial site located on Birgé boulevard is totally deserted since the autumn 2012. Even if the 35 millions meters were not due to be produced in a single place, it would have be highly appreciated to get, at least, a share of that market estimated at 250 millions euros. The consequences for employment are up to 10,000 jobs in France.

Credit Pictures : Erdf and Angers Loire Métropole
The decision, not still completely official, but nevertheless published by the daily Ouest-France, is not a surprise (see Angers Daily News August 7th 2014). The new Angers decision-makers didn't wait a decision before September and for some local trade-union leader, the prospect became more and more unlikely. 

For Angers and Angers Loire Métropole, it is gradually more and more difficult to going on with an industrial wilderness of such importance. The remoteness of an answer is not without consequences for the unemployment and other economic sectors, like the real-estate more and more depressed in Angers.

05 September, 2014

The 2014 touristic season noticed an English sunbeam

En dépit d'un temps plus que maussade, la saison touristique d'Angers et de l'Anjou parait avoir été préservée. Les sites de visites ont enregistré une hausse ou une baisse de fréquentation selon qu'ils sont couverts ou en plein air. Pour 2015, les acteurs d'Angers et d'Anjou veulent affronter ensemble la météo économique. Mais à Angers et en Anjou, le vrai rayon de soleil est venu des touristes... anglais.

The comments of Angers and Anjou professionals of tourism about the summer season are rather satisfactory, in spite of a very adverse meteorology. Sixty per cent of those assess that the activity was at least steady or favourable. If the French tourists were less numerous than predicted, on the contrary the foreign customers were back and above all, those coming from... England. Maybe because of the rainy weather!

That one has mainly taken advantaged the uban sites. With 34,000 visitors, the five Angers museums recorded an increase of the visits by 4%. Unfortunately, the trend is quite different in the Terra Botanica park. For 2014, that one welcomed (until now) 130,000 paying visitors, a figure clearly below those of 2011 (280,000) and 2012 (170,000). while the pivotal point would be at 230,000 charged admissions. The owner of the park, the Maine-et-Loire general council made clear that changes are underway in order to reach the objective of 250,000 paying visitors.

Its president, Christian Gillet, wishes that the Angers city and the Angers Loire Métropole authority be shareholders of Terra Botanica. "They were absolutely absent, what is really a nonsense", he said.  Mr. Gillet wants to see the Anjou tourism operators to implement a communication campaign in Paris and somewhere else. Given the latest figures of the Anjou tourism observers, that one should be directed to English speaking people.

But the Terra Botanica website is only written in French...

04 September, 2014

The Accroche-Coeurs festival loses its soul

Le festival de rue Les Accroche-Coeurs qui se déroulera du 11 au 14 septembre dans les rues d'Angers sera l'occasion de nombreuses réjouissances. Mais ce sera aussi l'occasion d'un petit serrement de coeur puisque la compagnie angevine des arts de la rue Jo Bithume y fera sa dernière apparition. Elle fut pendant dix ans l'âme du festival.

The Accroche-Coeurs festival, a cultural event which celebrates the come-back of Angers inhabitants to work, school or home, will also mark the final way out of the Company Jo Bithume. Among the legitimate and majority reasons of festival goers to be happy, that closure could be one reason for them to be sad.The Accroche-Coeurs will be the "farewell tour" of the band, indicates that one on the Angers city website.

"Farewell tour, with our brass band always dressed up, but even more off the wall. With laugh always, but also with a pinch of tears, a touch of  sentiment to celebrate and share that moment with the public of the street, of our street, of your street", say, with surely a heartache, the Jo Bithume artists who will perform on September 14 th at midday on Savatte embankment and at 8 pm on Debré mall.

Founded in 1982 by members passionated by music, circus and street performances, the Company was a long time partner of the Accroche-Coeurs festival of which it was the artistic and technical manager between 1990 and 2009. During the 2014 summer, the Angers commercial court decided its compulsory liquidation planned next September 24. "After 14 years of tour from Arkhangelsk to Salamanca, from Dublin to Hong Kong, the brass band bow out gracefully". Without a wrong note.

03 September, 2014

Angevine "gentleness"

L'ancienne compagne de François Hollande, l'Angevine Valérie Trierweiler, publie un ouvrage dans lequel elle raconte sa vie à l'Elysée et surtout la manière abrupte selon laquelle "ce moment" a pris fin. Pour les médias anglais, le président français mal en point n'avait pas besoin de cette douceur angevine...

"Everything I write is true. In the Elysée, sometimes I felt like I was on a reportage. I suffered too much from lies to commit any myself in turn". Like this starts the book of Valérie Trierweiler, the former Angers born partner of Francois Hollande, French president. "Thanks for this moment", abundantly commentated by France medias, is also covered by the English speaking medias.

Several of those point out the political damages the author, in the meantime reporter for the weekly Paris-Match, may cause to the head of French state. "As if Hollande didn't have enough problems on his hands with the stagnant economy and various political crises, he's now threatened by a forthcoming mempor from his ex 'first lady'", writes The Local, a website which publishes France news in English. According to The Guardian "The publication of the book will dismay the president whose popularity dropped another four points this week. He has refused to make any comment on the dramatic end to his seven-year relationship with Trierweiler". The Telegraph considers that "Any embarrasing personal revelations would be the latest in a string of setbacks for Mr Hollande, whose approval ratings are at rock bottom".

The Angers daily Le Courrier de l'Ouest and Ouest-France choose a more personal stance and assess that the French president had had "incongruous words" regarding the Angers family of Mrs Trierweiler. While he was invited by her mother, brothers and sisters to an End of year diner, François Holland would have said : "It isn't attractive the Massonneau family" what would have, legitimately, made angry his companion. It is not told if Angers is the target of similar evaluations by Mr. Hollande nor if Mrs Trierweiler dedicates pages of her book about her native city.

02 September, 2014

The rosés d'Anjou see life through rose-tinted spectacles

Depuis une dizaine d'années, les vins rosés d'Anjou sont de plus en plus prisés. Jadis parents pauvres des terroirs, ils ne parviennent plus à satisfaire la demande, au point qu'il faut en importer. Le millésime 2014 semble favorable.

One of the main symbols of Angers and Anjou economy is the rosé wine and that one is feeling quite good. After 2012 and 2013 poor grape-harvests, stocks of wine-growers are rather low because large retailers sell high volumes of rosé. Two vintage are trendy : the Cabernet d'Anjou and the Rosé d'Anjou. While, formerly, those were really downgraded, since ten years, their turnover has soared. In the large retailers circuits, the sales of Cabernet rose by 48% and those of Rosé by 11% and by 21% for the dry rosé.

The demand is so important that stocks are insufficient. So wine growers asked to be authorized to increase the yields by hectare. According to professional observers, the room for growth is important. France is the first consumer of Rosé and the first producer. But that one is insufficient what led France to import rosé. Those doubled between 2002 and 2012. The 2014 grape-harvest looks rather favourable and the quality of the vintage could be excellent. Those wines are based on the fruit and stimulate the love of good beverages, particularly with women and youngs.

27 August, 2014

Angers university not favourable to the austerity policy of the new French government

Le récent remaniement ministériel, bien qu'incarné par des changements de personnalités, est aussi le reflet d'une divergence à propos de l'intérêt de la politique d'austérité budgétaire que le gouvernement veut engager. Un enseignant de l'université d'Angers a été consulté à ce sujet. Son avis n'est pas favorable à la ligne d'austérité promue par le premier ministre Manuel Valls reconduit dans ses fonctions.

The recent changes in French government make-up, as dramatic as they could be, were nevertheless due to a public split about the efficiency of budgetary austerity that one is the promoter. That point was submitted by the daily Le Figaro to some economic researchers and, among them, David Cayla, member of the Groupe de recherches angevin en économie et en management (Granem). Mr. Cayla was questioned by the newspaper about the effects of austerity measures on public deficit. Those measures apparently do not match the Granem researcher's approval.

That one is rather perplexed : "An austerity policy has few consequences on the deficit", thinks the Angevin

researcher who recommends "an economic boost and growth policy" supported by Arnaud Montebourg, the ousted Economy French minister. David Cayla also considers that the decrease of inflation is favourable to those who lend money instead of those who borrow money. Mr Cayla ads, in order to illustrate the uselessness of austerity that "the freeze of wages in civil service has no effect on economy".

Regarding the consequences of austerity programme on medium and popular households, Mr Cayla considers that lower social cotisations are "profits" for companies implemented by the government in order to increase investments. But that is not true, points out Mr. Cayla who recommends "an increase of minimal wages for households as a compensation of decrease of social cotisations for companies".

The Granem delegate was one of three researchers Le Figaro consulted over France. Others were one liberal and the other left think-tank. The Granem is a multidisciplinary team in economy, management and sociology. It includes 122 members, teachers, researchers and PhD students coming from Angers university and the National Institute in Horticulture and Landscape.