27 July, 2010

English language library : slight decrease of membership, but the loans are soaring

The english language library of Angers suspends temporarily its activities during august, a period favorable for reflection about the past and the future. Located at n° 60, Boisnet street, the library, created in 1993, recorded in 2009 a little decrease of its members. Nervertheless, 1 437 persons use regularly the services of the library whom 36% are students, a increasing figure, year after year. The large majority of the members (60%) are french, so residents of Angers or the surroundings, while 17% are coming from english speaking countries.

"An important statistic to appreciate the dynamic of the library is the evolution of the loans", writes John Cassini, president. "The trend rose up to 9% in 2009, a figure unequalled for the seven last years and which is soaring since two years".

Regarding the following year, Mr Cassini worried about the policy of the Council for Maine-et-Loire which feels "the english language library has not the appropriate size" and is afraid that this local authority withdraws its financial support. So the library strives in 2010 in order to reach the "appropriate size" by opening, after Saumur, a new branch in Cholet.

26 July, 2010

Angers? What they loved... and didn't

Regularly, local medias let Angers inhabitants speak about their city. Very often, the descriptions are positive and refer to material aspects of the town. Interviewing foreign citizens, like students who followed french courses at the Western Catholic University during july, may sometimes drive to slight differences and an opinion which is about the people of Angers as well as the monuments.

Of course, much of them have been sensitive to the mix of architecture of different periods and the remains in the core of the city of testimonies of the past. They have also appreciated the presence of the Maine, that river which divides the city in two parts town hall want to reunify. The liveliness of the bars with terraces has been appreciated, days and night. "In Angers, people are more thoughtful. The don't speak without thinking first", points out Jacky, a young american coming from Georgia.

But these positive jugdments are counterbalanced by "the dirtiness of the streets and the pavements". To throw a cigarette, a chewing gum or a paper on the ground would be indictable in my country, says, in substance, Clara, a young american coming from Hawaï. For Anako, a young japanese, who studied in Tours and Angers, "the city is dreary on sundays while in her country, shops are opened and often managed by students every weekend".

25 July, 2010

Parking cars in Angers is a problem... for pedestrians too!

To park his car in town, even in times of summer vacations for inhabitants, is not easy. And even if you pay the fee, as soon as you run over the planned time, even just slightly, you have to pay the fine (The fee is for the city, the fine is for the state), whatever are the disadvantages linked to the trolley workings : parking ticket machine out of order, delimitations of parking spaces deleted due to works, notices of prohibition of parking displaced or invisible, and so. Angers inner city is becoming inpracticable.

In others areas of the town, non affected by the trolley works or other public workings, parking is also a problem... for pedestrians! The cars are parked on the pavements. If a very temporary parking on the pavements, especially for emergency cases, can be tolerated, that becomes quicky unacceptable especially if the vehicle belongs to a company and occupies regularly all the pavement a weekend long.

Why does the city's traffic wardens don't record the offenses? If that is not a loss of revenues for the city, it is nevertheless a renunciation to promote ecological movings like the pedestrian traffic face to polluting transfers and a form of tolerance face to bad-mannered behaviour regarding the disabled citizens, or simply the mothers driving a baby carriage... while parking lots are available nearby and free.

(Pictures credits http://angers.fubicy.org/)

23 July, 2010

At the Angers Museum of fine-arts : Pincemin, the gesture of the method

The Angers Museum of fine arts displays from may 8th till september 19th the works of the french sculptor, engraver and painter Jean-Pierre Pincemin. After a first exhibition 13 years ago, the local institution shows this time two different periods of the artist.

The 1967-1976's, when Pincemin tested new materials (floors, metal sheets, wire netting) and technical gestures, are illustrated "Pallissades", "Carrés-collés" or "Empreintes". In these, Pincemin tries to list the components of paintings. "It is not a work about something, or less, somebody. It's a work devoted to the method", wrote an art critic.

In addition, the exhibition range over another period of Pincemin : the 1995-2005's during which the artist develop works about the history of the rendering especially in the fields of western and eastern religious depictions with "Variations sur les chasses au tigre" or "Arbre de la renaissance".

This walk throughout the works of Pincemin includes some sculptures made of recycled and artistically diverted materials and takes end with paintings on small papers what Pincemin called "museum pocket".

22 July, 2010

English (words) invade Angers!

Who said that Angers inhabitants were not attracted by English? Not the advertising agencies! Due to the recent heat all over the city, they displayed on many bus shelters an ad promoting the property of the Picon Bière, an bitter drink mixed with beer in eastern and northern France as well as Belgium. And, back to front, another ad promotes a movie (staring Tom Cruise) untitled "Night and Day".

Many people (a word itself more and more used by french medias) see more and more english words in their daily life (Even they use them in their usual talkings with "fun", "cool") : of course in printed ads in magazines and billboards. And more from radio and television. Are they aware of that?

The attitude of Angers inhabitants, as well as French in general, looks ambivalent. In private, they enjoy english words and apparently the ads agencies took note of that, using these foreign words in their catch phrases. But officialy, French people are against that "invasion" of their vocabulary. In a province formerly member of the Plantagenet feudal complex during the 12th century, that even could be the case. What a pity!

21 July, 2010

The new Alsace street doesn' make room for bike

The ability of inhabitants to run throughout Angers city is an old concern they expressed many times in meetings dedicated to urban schemes. Recently an association whose name is "Place au vélo" organized a photographic competition aiming at selecting the best picture about the bicycle in the city.

Another way of illustrating that part is to take photos from places where bicycles could have way and in reality have not! For example the Alsace street, the area most completed after the public works of the trolley first line, does not involve a way dedicated to bikes. Is the difficult and risky cohabitation at the origin of that?

A week dedicated to mobility in town will take place in september. It could be an opportunity to develop the use of bike by persons on their way to or from offices as well as for shopping in the inner city which desperately needs consumers.

20 July, 2010

Tempo rives : main rythm

From july 13th till august 29th, "Tempo rives", a cycle of ten free concerts in open air, will take place mainly on the banks of the Maine river. At nightfall, the Savatte embankment will host professionnal as well as amateur bands. The rythm will come from diffrent musical currents like jazz or funk and from diffrent countries like Egypt or french Indies. The event will also try to promote local bands at the beginning of every concert.

The Savatte wharfage is a very convenient place for such performances : the public is sat on the lawns of the embankment face to the Angers castle whom the fortifications are illuminated (costly, according to some inhabitants). The only disdvantage could come from the noise of the traffic (and possibly from mosquitos).

The first performance of 2010 demonstrated that the Maine river, thanks to illuminations, boats and water, creates a change of scene for inhabitants at home during the summer. "Tempo rives" could replace soon "Angers l'été", the previous excitement planned by town hall, in the mind of the Angevins.

(picture credit : http://www.facebook.com/temporives.angers?ref=share)

16 July, 2010

The Angers bus shelters don't shelter disabled inhabitants

If most of the bus shelters make room for disabled persons, the space dedicated to them is not always convenient. So is the case with some of the stations of Keolis bus, the company entrusted with the transportation of inhabitants of Angers and around.

Even if the weather of that medium mid western town is quite cool in the winter (what could be, in fact the true face of the famous "douceur [mildness] angevine"), it's quite rainy all over the year. Regarding that fact, it's beyond understanding that the spaces dedicated to disabled inhabitants are located outside the bus shelters while "normal" travellers are protected from the rain and from splashings of traffic...

In times of loss of thoughtful behaviour from many users of public transportation, it could have been well advised to set aside a surface partly undercover and partly in open sky. A strict implementation of the instructions written on the ground could drive at the penalizing result for disabled persons. But the good sense should prevail.

15 July, 2010

Damaged bus shelters stay unrepaired for a longer time than before

It seems insignificant but, for several weeks, bus shelters destroyed by louts, are not restored. Till now, every glasses smashed with stones were replaced within twenty four hours. Now, broken glass remains scattered on the sidewalks. After the places have been cleaned by Angers town hall employees, a white and red ribbon is attached to the structure, emphasizing the damage.

Why that? In another field, till 2010, garbage were collected twice a week for the household wastes plus one time per week for the recyclable wastes. Now, the rythm for collecting of garbage has decreased up to one time per fortnight for recyclable wastes. The reason of such a change was, regarding this latest issue, financial.

Would it be the same for that bus shelters devastations, what French call falsely, "incivilities"? Recently, an article in local press (Le Courrier de l'Ouest) critized inhabitants who split chewing gum on the new pavement of Alsace street. And town hall, through managers entrusted with the trolley workings, complained about such behaviour pointing out that in France people have no interest about "collective property". What will occur if, moreover, the city reduces its expenses against such "incivilities"?

14 July, 2010

Republican picnic in a royal place cancelled by rain

The "republican picnic" planned on the july 14th France national day was cancelled because of the rainy weather in Angers that morning. Open and free for public, the gardens castle were deserted. Only a few tourists, from Africa, and boys scouts, were there. That was a chance to stroll over the beds, the monuments and the battlements as if the castle was yours.

The lack of monitoring allowed to venture in an open sky part of the castle shut to visitors : a former giant dining room. That's a pity : the ground is turned over, invaded by wild herbs and partly covered by an ugly roof made of corrugated sheets. The two thirds of the walls have been destroyed on the river Maine side and "only" a half on the castle courtyard side. That one still keeps several windows with stone mullions and transoms.

In the back ground of this antique dining room probably designed for honour guest stays a giant fire place where, formely, beefs were roasted "de la barbe jusqu'au cul" (origin of the english word "barbecue"). Would it be possible to restore this place and give it back its prestigious image of ancient times? Its renting could be a way to drive money to the castle whose royal home, devastated by fire in 2009, is in desperate need.

12 July, 2010


Daniel Jarque was a soccer player of the RCD Espanyol. He died in 2009 in a room of a soccer training camp near Florence (Italia). Nevertheless, his memory was alive in the field of the Johannesburg stadium where the final between Nederland and Spain took place on sunday june 11th. Scoring the goal who gave the victory to his team, and to his country, Andres Iniesta took off his blue shirt, showing an underwear on which was written "Jarque siempre con nosostros" (Jarque forever with us").

Doing that, Iniesta revealed to the soccer planet that fierce (and sometimes haughty) tempers, technical abilities and big wages were not sufficient, and even useful, conditions to overcome all the difficulties laying on the way of the teams qualified for the final phase of the world cup.

Iniesta testified what was, in fact, the "doping" of the team he played with. Remembering the memory of his roommate, he considered not only as a player, but almost like a friend in and outside the fields, Iniesta showed he took the best of his sadness. Paying tribute to Jarque in a moment designed for self proclamation, he revealed the secret of the winners : faithfullness, generosity and heart.

10 July, 2010

Half of Angers indoor swimming pools closed during the summer

While the heatwave is prevailing on Angers since the begining of the summer holidays, many inhabitants would like to refresh in the town swimming pool. In the purest public services French style : three of the main indoor swimming pools of Angers are... closed : Jean-Bouin, from june 26th to august 29th, La Roseraie, from july 17th to august 22th, André Bertin, from july 12th to august 15th.

Only Belle-Beille and Monplaisir swimming pools will be opened in july and august. No explanation is given to the swimmers at Jean-Bouin or on the website of the city where, nevertheless, the city cultivate humor claiming "Our teams welcome you all year long" and, the best, in a leaflet incredibly untitled "The six swimming pools of Angers from june 2th to august 29th". Hopefully the inhabitants can swim in the Maine lake or in the outdoor La Baumette swiming pool... if the weather is shiny.

In a recent book, "Sacrées vacances, une obsession française" an american editor, Ted Stanger, who is living in Paris for years, complained about the fact the swimming pools of his district were closed in summer. He could have been listened by the Paris city hall this year, nearly all the swimming pools of the capital are opened in 2010.

08 July, 2010

The Angevins tell "Je t'aime" to their Festival d'Anjou

Sometimes, the atmosphere of the nights of the Festival d'Anjou are more pleasant than the performances. It was the case on june 6th with "Je t'aime" from Sacha Guitry, a famous and prolific french author (1885-1957). The play looks , because of the dialogues and the tone of the actors, quite outdated and the applause of the public were polite, even compassionate. But the interest of such nights, for a person unfamiliar with theater, is in the assistance and the natural setting of the scene.

The manager of the festival was sincerely saying his pleasure to be there. The scene took place in the frontside of the La Perrière castle in Avrillé. At nightfall the temperature was cool and the sky filled with stars. It was an atmosphere auspicious for dreams and meditation about all the generation who lived there since 300 summertimes.

Another point of interest is the public. Its like a tradition for old fashioned but stylish families of Angers to go to such performances and meet their peers, like a way to tell themselves "Je t'aime". That breathes a quaint charm that many persons delight wihtout confess it. The Festival d'Anjou is a display of its own.

05 July, 2010

Angers pays tribute to Jean-Adrien Mercier

Angers pays tribute to Jean-Adrien Mercier through an exhibition of his works given to the city by his daughter, Sylvie Mercier de Flandre in 2008. The exhibition takes place in the Chemellier hall, near the town hall, from june 5th to august 29th. More than 200 pieces "make this exhibition as the most important dedicated to the artist for twenty years", indicates the city website. The exhibition is divided in five parts "depicting" the genius and the mastery of Mercier, "both painting artist, poster artist, ads designer, illustrator and set designer", points out the city.

His illustrations are famous and unforgettable because most of them upset the mind of several generations of kids. Mercier illustrated albums for girls and boys, and among them his own daughter, Sylvie, as well as records, often reprinted since. His style breathes modernism, fantasizing, style, cheerfulness through bright colors he loved. He created the "Pierrot"for the Angers liquorist Cointreau, a symbol still used all over the world by the company.

After having lived in France and USA, Mercier (born in 1899) retired in his estate of Sainte-Gemmes-sur-Loire, near Angers, close to the river he was fascinated with. He died in 1995. "Anywhere, I am always anchored in Loire" was his motto.

03 July, 2010

The Angers' state prison is not welcomed everywhere

The state prison located in the inner city of Angers is looking for another place. But that is not easy to find. Two cities are running : Beaufort-en-Vallée and may be Trélazé. Oher cities were due to withdraw their candidacies because some of their councillors could have been threatened.

The present bad conditions of the state prison are clearly not in favour of such a choice. Built between 1852 and 1855, the prison is absolutely insane because it is over-occupied (336 convicts are on custody in cells designed for 267 persons) and because the state didn' achieved works of maintenance for a long time. Recently, a convict told the media about his conditions of life : "We are living by two or three in one cell with the toilets in the center". A recent picture of the front side of the prison is telling : the rendering of the wall is falling from all quarters and the bars of the windows are corroded.

In 2008, several convicts registered a complaint regarding their living conditions "inhuman and degrading". The new prison could cost about 70 millions € and would be completed in 2015. New buildings dedicated to housing would take place on the site.

(Sources : Angers Ville Actu; Angers Maville)