31 January, 2011

Next Slow food workshop at Le quai dedicated to beer. Cheers!

Credit Piciture : Fotosearch
If the fast food industry is currently associated with the English speaking countries, the opposition to fast food sounds englicized too. On february 2nd, the public organization of cultural cooperation Le Quai, in Angers, will host a taste workshop about hand crafted beers sponsorized par the international movement promoting an alternative to fast food : Slow Food.

Credit Picture : Wikipedia
Slow Food, part of the international Slow Movement, "strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem". The movement has around 100,000 members in 132 countries.

If such events took place twice in the past in Angers, one dedicated to meat Maine-Anjou and the forgotten vegetables, the 2011 workshop is about beer. Craft brewereies exist in Anjou and try to differentiate themselves with flavourful beers with local raw materials and ancestral methods. Others workshops are coming on april, about honey, and may, about camembert. Until then, have a beer next wednesday in a giant pub

30 January, 2011

Angers VeloCité could soon enlarge its offer in bikes rental system

Credit Picture : Angers city
Angers city may change its policy regarding the rent of bikes. In front of the Saint-Laud railway station, works are under way. Soon, tens of automatic rental stations, very similar to those of the Paris Velib, will be available for travellers arriving in town.

Up to now, there was only a rental system in Angers. It was based on a contract between the city and the user. Once signed, the biker can use the cycle from a week till four months. The contract can be renewed twice. There is no deposit. If the equipment is damaged or stolen, the user will have to finance the repairs (We'll see). The bikes are only rented to individuals whose home or work is located in Angers. The main critic about the system is an inhabitant (who pay local taxes to the city) can take advantage of that only once in his lifetime. So the most frequent beneficiaries of the bikes are foreign students living in Angers for a few months.

On the opposite, visitors coming to the city, for business or leisure, fueling money in town, didn't benefited of such opportunity. According to the velib device, users need to take out a subscription, which allows the subscriber an unlimited number of rentals (Subscriptions can be purchased per day, week or year). The number of Angers VéloCité bikes is about 2 400 unities.

29 January, 2011

The bilingual side of the 23rd European first film festival of Angers

If an important coverage has been dedicated about the "Festival 1ers plans d'Angers" which takes place from the 21 to the 30 of january for its 23rd edition, its promotors intend to give it a more international stature. The website of the event includes an english version : programme, practical, schedule, pro-press, partners, about us, all the aspects of the European first film festival are gathered.

"The aim of the Festival is to reveal new European directors through a selection of a 80 first films", indicates the website. In the European students film is a work coming from  England : "12 sketches on the imposibility of being still" which director, Magali Charrier is... French and studies in the Royal College of Arts, in London. An in the French category is "Winter", from Tessa Joose (Nederland), student at the Studio international des arts contemporains (Tourcoing). Many other works illustrate in this festival the mix between English and French cultures.

All persons interested by a daily information about the European first film festival can subscribe to a "newsletter" indicated in English in the French version of the website.

28 January, 2011

"Made in Angers", mad with English

Is the English language able to promote better than the French one, and with better attractivity, to the Angers inhabitants, the know-how of local companies? Apparently the answer is : yes. From february 18th to march 23rd, about 100 companies will open their doors to public on the occasion of the project denominated "Made in Angers"! Would that initiative have the same appeal if it were qualified with French words?

This interesting event, which takes place in Angers every year since 12 years, wish to get the special attention from students who are invited to a special evening to watch a movie which title is "The social network" (it's the story of Facebook). Morevover, a "Jobdating" is planned. If, like many stores in downtown, some of the local and ancient companies of Angers have a corporate name clearly anglicized (Afone, Bull, Creative Eurecom, or Grand Optical) among the new participants is the Saint Edward's University, which opened recently a department in the city.

Angers must now plan a special English spoken day in its calendar. That would be a pleasant change of scenery. The event could be called "Angers mad with English".

27 January, 2011

The Angers young managers will work on work purposes next month

André Comte-Sponville (website)

The former trade union leader, Nicole Notat, the author Erik Orsenna and the philosopher André Comte-Sponville will discuss on february 8h on the purposes people feed in their working life : "Why am I working for?". The aim of the conference is to investigate the history, the working values and the constraints of the labor. The meeting is organized by the Centre des jeunes dirigeants, an employer's movement whose goal is to back the young managers in the improvement of their own skills and the performances of their companies.

Credit Picture : Vigeo
Angers was, several months ago, as well as many cities in France, the place of numerous demonstrations against the reform of the French pensions system. The event could illustrate that a part of the salaried employees, wishing to leave the labor life on the same ages as before, are considering the work is, at best, a necessary harm, or, at worst, an alienation.

Erik Orsenna (Wikipedia)
This state of mind could not be without connection with the productivity national economy and the slight increase of wages needed to compensate the decrease of working length. May be that evolution, whose effect on jobs creation are at best very undeterminate, has turned the working life in series of hours instead of an opportunity of personal fulfillment.

26 January, 2011

A solidarity quite solitary

Town hall of Angers demonstrates that it thinks to the two French editors, hostages in Afghanistan of the talibans since six months. Hervé Ghesquière and Stéphane Taponier had been caught by the religious guerilla in the end of june 2010. The banner, hang up in the front side of city hall above the main entrance, recalls to the inhabitants that they don't live in a close world and that Angers can't only be preoccupied by its own difficulties and projects.

Nevertheless, may be another place could be more appropriate for that banner which looks quite solitary, solemn and distant of daily life on the top of the municipal building. In fact, the public daily entrance of town hall is just a little bit below. Hundreds of inhabitants coming through for administrative purposes could have in mind (if the banner would be set near the swing doors of town hall) that horrible and intolerable detention .

While the New Year speech of the mayor didn't tackled the issue and the protest is difficult to find out in Angers website, a change of place could illustrate that the city constantly has in mind the fate of editors whom work was paid tribute for years with the Angers Scoop festival.

25 January, 2011

English atmosphere trendy in Angers City

News analysis. - While the French government is thinking to boost the teaching of English in France as soon as possible in the schooling, in Angers, the practice of that language increases. A recent report about The English-Language Libraryof Angers located Boisnet street points out that people seem interested by librarian services of the place and by the atmosphere which reigns there. And, in the website of the Ella, many services, apart the access to the books, are available.

In fact, Angers inhabitants are eager to learn English and even to live in an anglicized atmosphere.The city hall institute indicated a few weeks ago it enlarged its offer of English training courses. Families take advantage of the presence of English speaking people in their neighbourhood to give their children English initiation. If, Angers customers are used to see many English words, and even full sentences, on the store windows, recently a tea shop has been opened in L'Espine street where English is only spoken and seems to attract people.

But, on a national level, a lot of measures could be passed. And the first could be the end of dubbing the English dialogues in French. That could force the audience to become familiar to English. The preservation of French doesn't go through the ignorance of other languages and, among them, English.

24 January, 2011

The Angers dowtown editorial office of Le Courrier de l'Ouest hangs up a protest

What's going on at Le Courrier de l'Ouest editorial office of Ralliement Plaza? Two boards are hung up at the second floor of the building located at the corner of the Chaussée Saint-Pierre street. One bears the logo of a professional syndicate, the Syndicat national des journalistes (Snj) and the second (hand made) seems to protest against (actually the sentence written on it doesn't appear clearly) a "closure". Is the newspaper plan to shut its offices in down town?

The building formerly sheltered several subsidiaries of Le Courrier. Excepted the editorial office (located formerly at the f
irst floor), the advertising department and a travel agency (on ground floor) were housed there. Apparently the advertising department is gone near the head office and the travel agency had been removed from the private companies register, making way for a restaurant presently in works.

Nationaly, the french daily press is under huge change. Le Courrier de l'Ouest was bought in 2005 by the Sipa Ouest France group, his former competitor. If the presence of the board could be linked to the recent election in the Snj which had led to a form of internal competition, it could also be the implementation of a cost reduction policy implemented by Sipa Ouest France in many private companies. And a newspaper is a private company too.

23 January, 2011

Angers Sco knocks out Bordeaux in France cup of soccer

As the Sco d'Angers opened up its way into the last 16 on january 22nd in France Cup of soccer the match inside the Girondins de Bordeaux side was not lived on the same mood. However these gathered all the ingredients for a happy evening : flags, drummers, smoke devices and of course, fans (boys and girls) shouting and stamping their feet like a machine confident in its destiny.

But the destiny sometimes is not what we planned. If till half time, the supporters logically had no doubt of the end of the match, things started to reverse on second half time when the Girondins conceded a goal due to a mistake in the defense line. For their moral, things had going to get worse because the adverse defense and goalkeeper were inflexible. In spite of support barked by leaders, the Bordelais missed several time to equalize. Then, their side understood that may be a great opportunity had been missed. And in the extra time the referee granted, the players of the Girondins were alone to still believe in their chance because in the supporters'side, the mood had already changed.

In order to prevent any disturbances, policemen kept the Bordeaux fans in the corner of the tribune where they were isolated. After, they had received the order to let them go, they drove them directly to the buses and cars waiting for them on way home.

22 January, 2011

The Angers Cité, apart from the city

A strategic place is going to be cleared within a few days. On january 30th, the gendarmes will leave the barracks they lived in for more than 200 years and take possesion of others, located in the Belle-Beille district. This movement opens wide reflections about the future of the historical heart of Angers, called "The Cité".

Credit Picture : Wikipedia
The Cité is presently a rather sad and deserted district. If the quitness of the narrow and winding streets is very appreciated by theirs inhabitants, the charm of the Cité could be developped with a few stores or, at least, a minimum of cultural events. But no city council took an initiative in that area since a long time. It was, in the air, a few years ago, to create a hall dedicated to medieval times on behalf of a religious congregation which left the place about 15 years ago.

A study about its potentiality is going to be launched soon and yet ideas (housing, museum, hotel and even the new Saint-Edwards University) are flourishing. But the owner of the place, the Conseil general, could use it to restore its finances first.

21 January, 2011

Martial Vié, architect of his lifetime, and "240 trimesters", now young retired

Architects, building contractors as well as insurers, works providers, civil servants, politicians and even nuns,  sum-total 200 hundreds persons came on january 20th at the Auguste Chupin hall, to say goodbye to Martial Vié, an Angers architect who choose to put a stop to his professional career in building after 60 years of activity! With good nature and a sense of humour, Mr Vié recalled his carreer which started in 1951 and ended yesterday on the same day of his 75th anniversary.

Credit Picture : private individual
From the tributes which were paid to the young retired, it's possible to conclude that a lifetime is complete when family, work and voluntary tasks are lead head-on. That was the case of Mr Vié who, on top of his family and business responsabilities had caritative, ordinal, sailing and political activities (he was city councilman of Angers for 30 years and deputy-mayor during 12 years). Another conclusion of such a lifetime would be : don't stop going as long as the health is there.

Apprently, as one of his childrens recalled it, activity ("240 trimesters", he said) , passion and philosophy keep young. Such quality of Mr Vié was apparently premonitory : among the gifts he received last night, there was a picture of him in a football team shot about 40 years ago. On a a placard a supporter carried behind Mr Vié was written "Go ahead Martial, you are en vié".

20 January, 2011

Angers inhabitants express their vision of the Maine reconquest

The bank of the Saone at Lyon after redevelopment
The most surprising fact which emerged on january 18th from the meeting, organized by the town hall of Angers, regarding the future of the Maine banks, is the interest of the inhabitants. Five hundreds inhabitants were gathered in the Greniers Saint-Jean to listen the results of an inquiry which 90 of them realized for near a year. If it's quite difficult to foresee the forms of that Maine reconquest, it's clear that the automobile traffic could be the first victim of the scheme.

According to the inhabitants, who visited such urban development in Bordeaux and Lyon, as well as the three architects pre-selected for the implementation of the project, the absence of contact between the river and the city is damageable for the inhabitants and theirs visitors. The first cannot take advantage of the water and the nature and the tourists come in a city whic the "front door" is ugly.
Credit Picture : Bordeaux city

Some original, but probably costly suggestions were made like the construction of a lake dwelling in the Saint-Serge district but others could come naturally like the reconversion of barges in bars or restaurants (it's the case in Lyon). The three architects will now take over the ideas of these inhabitants and will submit their study on next autumn. 

19 January, 2011

The high speed increase of railways lateness makes the Angers travellers angry

The passengers of the Sncf taking regularly the train for Paris are angry because, regularly, the trains are late. Tens of hours of delay were accumulated during last year and some of these passengers refuse to show to the controlers their tickets or cards. Face to the disadvantages those delays generate, the French national railways company offered a financial compensation of 100 €. But the Angers, as well as Le Mans or Nantes' customers rejected it and demanded 300 €.

If the strikes in 2010 (due to the protests against the reform of the French pensions system) as well as the climatic conditions of december was the straw that broke the camel's back, this problem enlight also the difficulties of the Sncf to make circulate the high speed trains, the regional trains and the freigt trains on a single line between Nantes and Le Mans.

The present situation illustrates the mistake the local politicians made 15 years ago when they rejected the offer of Réseau ferré de France to build a new line dedicated to high speed trains between those cities. They said at that time it was unreaonable to expend 10 billions francs to save 10 mn. Now time has been lost, for the travellers and the region as a whole. And the loss of time is also money.

18 January, 2011

A group of Angers inhabitants formed py the city will unveil today its vision of the new Maine banks

The Maine banks
The study of  90 inhabitants of Angers regarding the future of the Maine banks will be shown on january 18th during a public meeting at Les Greniers Saint-Jean. The goal of these people is "to design the revival of the Maine banks to the benefit of the inhabitants, to make a place of gathering and life and to protect durably the quality of environment".

The Rhône banks
One of the main difficulties is, at this stage, to think about the future of the motorway the mayor of Angers want to disappear, considering it as "a scarface". But, presently, no solution has been worked out. The most interested participants of the meeting will be the three teams of architects and urbanists already preselected by Angers city and which will have to integrate in their plans the ideas of the 90 inhabitants. The winner of the contest will be choosen in autumn by Angers city.

Three hundreds hectares are concerned and their components will all be changed : the river, the traffic ways, the activities, the landscape, the monuments and several districts of Angers. But all that project will be implemented on a long period : more than ten years.

07 January, 2011

Has-been New Year

News analysis. - According to the guests, the temperature was icy, the atmosphere not lively and the buffet a bit skimpy at the Angers town hall ceremony of New Year greetings, on january 4th in the main hall of Le Quai theater. Maybe that was deliberated on behalf of Jean-Claude Antonini, the city mayor. The standing of the meeting was in harmony with the financial situation of the city and the local economy. So, from that point of view, the tone was appropriate to the climate.

Credit Picture : Angers city
The humor of Mr Antonini wasn't happy because,
after 27 years without a tax increase, the mayor confirmed the necessity for the city to get "new ressources" (i.e. new tax) and, at the same time, the decrease of expenses regarding a second cablecar line, urban renovation and public equipments. It's time now is to austerity. And the postponement of the budget vote to april indicates clearly the difficulty of the task the municipal authority (as many others in France and elsewere) squares up.

In a few days, many others authorities will do the same : to greet "Happy New year". But, when savings are looked for, and when everybody knows the difficulty of the period, a good idea could get that kind of formal, affected and  boring ceremony be... suppressed. Those uses are over.

06 January, 2011

"Kill the capital", a double "sentence"

"Kill the capital". Written on the front wall of an agency of the Credit Agricole located on Pasteur avenue in Angers city, this sentence may raise many questions. Of course, the first question relates to the caracteristics of their author and his, or her, reasons. Is he, or is she, an unhappy customer to whom a loan or an overdraft was denied?

But the economic thinking which is below the death of the money raises also some questions. The crisis the world has not yet overcome was linked to financial dysfunctions and a "let go with" principle the states and the financial institutions didn't managed sufficiently. But the crisis doesn't challenge the necessity of liberal economy because all others economic systems (socialist or nationalist) have definitely proved themselves unable to durably create human conditions for life. Moreover, the states are the first customers of the international markets to finance their own deficit.

But the use of the English language to express such an idea is the most surprising caracteristic. Was the customer English? Or did he, or she, think, will shock more individuals using English than French language? And why did he so on the wall of a French bank? If the writer is French, it will be almost a positive indication : English makes progress in Angers angered inhabitants minds!

05 January, 2011

Oxford voices, English choral song, at the Angers Main Theater

The English ensemble Oxford voices, "a semi-professional choir specialising in the performance of 16th and 17th century choral music", will perform at the Main Theater of Angers on january 11th. "Founded by conductor Mark Shepherd in 2003, the group, typically made up of fourteen singers, has become well-known as one of the leading exponents of early European sacred music and gives regular concerts in both the UK and abroad". 

Credit picture : La Toison d'Art
The choir will interpret next tuesday pieces of English composers like Byrd, Tallis, Gibbons, Williams, Britten and Tippet as well as Italian composers. While "the choir is occasionally joined by period instruments for larger concerts and festivals, the majority of the ensemble’s wide repertoire is performed a cappella, and is composed of mixed voices". In 2002, Oxford voices recorded its first disc and on the following year made a France tour.

The choir is constituted by persons mostly graduated from Cambridge and Oxford who all share the passion of polyphonic music and all heirs of the English choral song.

04 January, 2011

Presided by an Angevin, the french falconery recognised by Unesco as world heritage

The efforts of an Anjou inhabitant in favor of the survival of an ancestral tradition have been recently recognized at world level. The Unesco decided in mid-november to register the falconery, which is "the traditional activity of keeping and training falcons to take quarry in its natural state... practised for more than 4 000 years", in the list of the "intangible cultural heritage of humanity". This know how is protected and promoted in France by the Association nationale des fauconniers et autoursiers français, which chairman is the Angevin Philippe Justeau. And the European Parliament of Strasbourg will celebrate Unesco recognition on next january 19th.

In Europe, the first book dedicated to falconery was published in 1245  and was titled "De arte venandi cum avibus" ("The art of hunting with birds"). Falconery, at its peak under Louis XIII reign and widely practised at the French royal court by the nobility, is nowadays the activity of a few hundreds of persons who dedicate their lifetime to their birds.

Three others french activities have been included in that Unesco's list on the same day: the compagnonnage, network for on-the-job transmission of knowledge and identities, the craftsmanship of Alençon needle lace-making and the gastronomic meal of the French.

03 January, 2011

A "royal" promontory overlooking Angers past and future outraged by public disgrace

A walk within the Angers castle leads the visitors to notice the importance of the works of restoration of the royal home destroyed by the fire almost two years ago and due to be completed before the end of 2011. Those works point also out the state of ruin in which is a huge room which, through larges windows, overlooks the Maine river - and the Paris-Nantes highway - located below. A momumental chimney gives an idea of the flamboyant receptions organized in the far-off days by the owners of the castle.

Archeological excavations have been implemented on the ground a long time ago and, apparently, stopped (because shortage of public funds?). The surface is now invaded by wild grass. The far end of that former hall, where is a giant chimney, is covered by an ugly roof of metallic sheets. This antique place of festivities is now swept by the winds. The West wall above the rocky cliff has been partially destroyed. Only two surviving windows now open on the vacuum. The place ia presently used as a basis for a crane lifting materials for the restoration of the royal home nearby. It would deserve a much useful part.

While the city plans the reconquest of the Maine banks, why the authority managing the castle would not undertake the reconstruction of that hall? That place is, in addition, a privilegied point of view over the Maine banks (once got rid of the road scarface) and could become again a privilegied promontory to see the past  - and the future - of Angers.

02 January, 2011

While spared up to now by the flu, Angers inhabitants should take care

 The Angers inhabitants should take care. Even if, up to now, the Anjou had been spared by the flu, that seasonal disease is coming back. According to a bulletin published at the very end of december by the health network Inserm sentinelles, the region is in the middle of two sources, one located at West and the other at East. The authority has noticed that the threshold of alert has been reached in Brittany as well as in Poitou-Charentes.

The symptoms of the flu are a brutal fever upper to 39°, muscular pains and respiratory difficulties. According to Inserm sentinelles, a light majority of patients are men and their medium age is 24. If it is still possible for exposed persons to get vaccinated, the main hygiene precautions is to wash one's hands several times a day and to have single-use handkerchieves. Moreover the persons in contact with patients it is recommanded they wear surgical masks (as well as these lasts).

Regarding the weather in Angers, the next days will see a drop in temperatures from sunday (-1°) to tuesday (-3°) with rains and fog. According to the Inserm network the number of cases should increase in the days to come.

01 January, 2011

Happy new year

Christmas is gone. And all the symbols which are united with. The Ralliement plaza is now without the wooden huts. Within a few days, the illumations will disappear from the streets. The Angers inhabitants will move on to something else. The Christmas trees yesterday at the center of the sweet home are now thrown away.  The symbol of our time is also an ordinary consumption product.

A new year is "on the tracks" for Angers inhabitants with the next streetcar which will undoubtedly reshape parts of the city. The urban renovation is near the end. A new phase of urban developpement could take over on ten years long. That could be useful if the city stays finally in the national scheme of high speed lines (would could move Angers closer to Paris) and, in that way, stays connected to the european railway network.

The major challenges are at home : the restoration of balanced local finances, the control of tax pressure and the stimulation of business (because employment depends on it). But the inhabitants will have to move themselves in their mind instead of staying hooked on old illusions (like the demonstrations against the national pensions systems). So good cheer and happy new year!