29 June, 2011

From DSK to Aubry : "the chance" changed of camp in two months time with Jean-Claude Antonini

If the "impeachment" of Dominique Strauss-Kahn was a good reason for the mayor of Angers to stop his support to the former socialist leader who was in the starting blocks for presidential elections two months ago, the words Jean-Claude Antonini used on June 28th to promote Martine Aubry candidacy sounds a little bit wrong. 

A month ago, Mr Antonini and his friends declared the Socialist Party had no option but to choose DSK as candidate against Nicolas Sarkozy : "DSK is the last chance we have, if he doesn't win the primary election, there are risks for the left" adding, regarding the fierce debate about the fact he drove a Porsche in Paris, "If we start to attack [him] under the belt, that's not going to be fun".

Apparently, some local media has, like politicians, short memory. One of them reported las tuesday the laurels Mr. Antonini gave to Martine Aubry who is, according to him, "a chance for France" after, the media says, "having been touched by the emotion, the honesty and be enthusiasmed by her communicative desire" during a simple phone call...

27 June, 2011

Angers trolley : a move in a movie

After months of wait since the trolley is visible for trials in Angers, passengers, or more probably, "local tourists" were eager to discover the new transportation device. From inside, that one is, at the same time, a vehicle and a route. And the route is even more interesting than the train itself.

As soon as the departure, travellers feel the urban landscape is moving in front of their eyes, simply because the train is running soundlessly and because they are, at the same time, very close to the streets. Pedestrians, front stores, crossroads are unfolding as pictures of a movie do in front of the audience. Compared to buses, cars, bikers or even pedestrians, the passengers are, in the trolley, much more passive and free from traffic jams and traffic lights.

Inside the train, everything looks easy. Signals warns about the closing of the doors and the next station. What dominates is space, thanks to large windows, and smoothly driving, because the speed changes are very progressive and the way of negociate the bends very secure. So if the trolley is a new way of transportation, its also a very favorable manner to discover Angers. The green lane on which it is slipping is like a giant zip which unifies the city.

26 June, 2011

Les Arthurs classes 2010-2011 : medecine, as an art at the heart of the heat

It was may be the hottest day of the year for many Angers inhabitants. And, on that June 26th, it was even more warmer in the little pocket theatre of Les Arthurs Company which organized at Falloux square the show ending the classes it taught to dozen of pupils - children and adults - during 2010-2011. So for the beginners (the entire cycle lasts almost four years), the climate was a little bit more oppressive.

The topic of all the stages performed in the afternoon was medecine. And several works extracted from authors of the 17th to the 20th century showed that in spite of scientific progress, the matter has always something to do with art.

The final show concluded a year of work : memorization, repetition, which don't eliminate stage fright. But nobody thought to be a genius and, as the teachers told to their pupils before coming on stage, the main goal is to have fun. But if the actors got it, it was not may be the case of the audience. That one had an excuse : to be overcome by the heat.

25 June, 2011

Union demonstration at trolley inauguration day : Angers mayor didn't walked on eggs

 In spite of the desire of Angers inhabitants to see the trolley running, after (at least) three years of works, in spite of the unanimity of local and regional representatives at the tribune set up in Ralliement square, and in spite of the nice weather over the city that June 25th, the inauguration day of the first trolley line of Angers was tarnished.

One of the trade union of the company running the trolley, instead of simply stopping the service due to travellers, threw eggs and flour ont the first train parked at the Ralliement station. The mayor of Angers, Jean-Claude Antonini, infuriated by such facts, publicly critized the behaviour of union activists.

Nevertheless, the new equipment came into service at the beginning of the afternoon and attracted thousands of inhabitants eager to discover, for free during a week, their city from a new point of view. For town hall, the new transportation equipment will not be long to reinforce the attractivity of the city among the local population and outside.

Very confident about the beneficiary effects of the trolley, Mr. Antonini didn't hide its desire to see Angers to launch a second line, yet foreseen by majority and minority at town hall. The problem is (only) the financing of the project while many observers are afraid of the costs of the first line.

24 June, 2011

The inauguration day of the Angers trolley endangered by a "lucky strike"

The primer minister will not come. The municipal police could strike. And the majority of the drivers of the Angers transportation company may stop their work on the inauguration day of the new trolley on June 25th. It is not clear if they will continue their strike on the following week if their demand of wages increase is not fulfilled. Only the animations associations and the city planned along the line will take place. But, even if the disappointment of city hall is sincere, the continuation of the social protest is not for the municipal finances, a bad news.
The city decided that the first week of the trolley running will be free for passengers (from June the 25th till July the 4th, i.e. 8 days). The company Keolis which will manage the trolley estimates that 38 000 travels per day will be registered, i.e. 304 000 travels for the period. Given that a ticket could cost (on the beginning) 1,40 €, and if the strike lasts a week, 425 600 € could be be saved. Thats is equivalent to the budget initially foreseen (and finally reduced to 150 000 €).

In period of scarce public ressources, this money will not go up in smoke...

23 June, 2011

An Angers fastfood brand opens a new catering concept on Foch boulevard

A new brand, and a new concept of fast food, will open its doors next friday at Foch boulevard along the line of the trolley, due to start its running on saturday, and so leading more customers on the place. The official opening to Angers inhabitants was  preceded by a private discovery, visual and gastronomical, for famous persons of the city. For example, a representative, casually dressed, has just arrived with his family, visibly intriguated by what was concoted there.

The "Very Fraich" is an initiative of Pascal and Mathilde Favre d'Anne, owners ot the eponymous restaurant on the right bank of the Maine, well known for a very alternative cuisine which, in a few years, conquered gourmets.  
The interior colors and materials of the place, wood and green, with indirect lightings, evoke nature and calm. At the back of the building, formerly occupied by a hairdresser and a financial company, has been developped a terrace, where an olove tree, gives a mediterranean touch. It was the perfect time to open : since the works of the trolley line took end, consumers are coming back. Down town stores deserve that!

22 June, 2011

A Japanese student hosted in Angers returning to Sendaï airport : "It's not Japan"

The shock caused by the quake and the risks of radioactivity from the Fukushima nuclear facility to Japanese students hosted years ago in an Angers family still urges them to talk about their emotions and thoughts when they face the dramatic and terrible consequences on Japan and its inhabitants. So Eri, who studied French at the Catho five years ago and who is now stweardess at Japan Airlines returned to Sendaï airport where she was due to land when the tsunami occured.

"Yesterday, I came back to Sendaï for the first time since the quake. It was like it was not Japan. Nothing  has remained because of the tsunami and the city was upside down in every part", she wrote. But, ads Eri, "People are in good conditions and eager to find again a normal life".

Credit : Wikipedia
Many other students made comments about the Japan disaster in the weeks following March the 3rd. Now their mails are becoming less frequent, sign may be the situation is normalizing few by few. A ceremony dedicated to the victims of the catastrophy took place in the Catho on Japanese students initiative. 

20 June, 2011

Quoit on the tracks

Sometimes, an islet of ancient times surges in the middle of modernity. That's what Benjamin and Mathieu, two young men, were illustrating on June the 19th in the new Saint-Serge district : playing quoits on a lane of lawn between the tracks of the trolley and the walls of new buildings. "Quoits are a very old game whose autorship is disputed between Vendée and Brittany", they says.

Having discovered quoits during folk events in the Western provinces they are coming from, they decided to play a game may be theirs ancestors played a long time ago. "Quoits are more simple than pétanque because we don't need a flat surface. In Vendée, quoits are thrown on a square of lead while in Brittany, it's on a wooden square. That's the main difference. Apart from that, quoits are in brass and the rules are the same of the pétanque. So we can take part in quoits anywhere and in every circumstances", point out the two players.

According to Wikipedia, quoits would be much more ancient than presumed. That leisure may have appeared in Greece where "poorer citizens, who could not afford to buy a real discus, made their own by bending horseshoes. The practice was adopted by the Roman army and spread across mainland Europe to Britain".

18 June, 2011

A new wave of immigrants set in town hall entrance

Since a few days, pedestrians walking along the Angers town hall may get the impression they are living a recent past. About 15 African immigrants set in the public entrance during days and night. These people, who apparently came from the Horn of Africa (Somalia or Ethiopia), are mostly young men may be lead in Angers by networks of professional smugglers.

Their presence alerted immediatly the attention of communities wishing asylum be granted to immigrants by French state. A demonstration took place a week ago in front of the prefecture and this morning others activists claimed the right these persons have to get a home and assistance. 

The problem Angers Loire Metropole faces is to find them a shelter and give them the means to overcome basic needs. But once that will be done, what's going on? Last year many caritative communities launched an alarm signal regarding the scarcity of their means in front of the demand of food assistance. 

Nobody knows their history, how they arrived in Angers and what are their plans : to settle here or to continue their route? But do they know it themselves?

17 June, 2011

A new step beyond for "new Maine banks"

The idea is not bad : a "spring wandering" along the Maine banks. That's what Jean-Claude Antonini, the Angers mayor, offered to inhabitants to do on June the 23rd at 4.30 pm. Will it be really spring? Of course not because summer is the 21st. But almost the 23rd is a thursday, a working day for most of Angers inhabitants...

May be the representatives of Angers are afraid about the success of their idea. But it would be nevertheless much more popular to plan such an event on a saturday. If the banks of the Maine are a pleasant place for walking, some organized activies along the paht could be planned.

The tour is mainly a urban one : start at Le Quai Theatre, then Basse-Chaïne bridge, then Molière square toward Saint-Serge esplanade, to Confluence bridge and the arrival at Ensam for a light meal. Without any doubt, the project is starting up, at least in the minds of the city council.

A first visit of the Maine banks took place in April and the participants had to take note of their impressions during the walk. On April the 24th, it was really the summer!

16 June, 2011

Georges Washington recovered

A humble plaster bust of George Washington could attract attention from the visitors of the Toussaint Gallery in the weeks to come. It was used as a model for a marble bust of the first president of the United States signed by David d'Angers. It was believed for more than 150 years that the plaster bust was the unique remain of the marble bust historians considered as destroyed in a fire of the building of the American congress in 1851.

But in fact it was not the case. The similar bust of Washington was discovered in a California museum where it stayed since 1924. After expert's reports, it was assumed that the piece was authentic, setting the fame of David d'Angers from the Toussaint street in Angers to the Pacific coast.

The sculpture was ordered to David d'Angers in 1827, who admired the founding fathers of United States. Then he was offered to this country by France on the following years. David d'Angers himself believed his work had been destroyed...

12 June, 2011

The municipal events around the first running of the Angers trolley line may derail because of strike threat

The events Angers city plans for the start of the trolley line on June the 25th are endangered. Two trade unions warned they will strike that day if their demand for the implentation of a 13th month of wage and best working conditions are not agreed by the company which runs the trolley and the buses nets. The problem is town hall involved many associations of Angers inhabitants to organize parties along the 12 km line.

Each section of the route will be associated th a theme and a color : modernity and improving on a yellow color in Avrillé, environment and greee in Saint-Aubin district, economic pep and purple in down town, soft travelling at the Saint-Laud railway station and solidarity and accessibility with red in La Roseraie. For this start of the trolley running, the city has invited the French prime minister. The opening of the inauguration day should be at twelve o'clock.

 During that day, down town will be closed to traffic. And the inhabitants have been invited to let their cars at home and use public transportation systems...

11 June, 2011

"The Arthurs" Angers theatre company throws "The bomb", at Cordelle street

"The bomb" is the title of the play The Arthurs, an Angers theatre company, will perform from June the 24th in its own stage, La Comédie, at Cordelle street. Written by Carole Greep, "experienced author of the Parisian stage", that play is the outcome of a serie of success since the 2000's. That "explosive comedy" tells the story of a couple whose relationship "has faded along years, daily life and three children". In order to find themselves again, the family decide to rest. For that rest be perfect, it decides to call a baby-sitter who, in fact, turns about to be a bombshell...

The Arthurs is a very active company which performed recently no less than four very different playsin the comedy register : "They love each other", "The baby gets a laxative" or "The pockets full of stones" written by contemporary and past authors.

But the Angers actors give also lessons of theatre to chidren, teenagers and adults at different levels (initiation or improvement). Special courses will take place in July. The Arthurs company was set up in 1990 and in 1994 in La Comédie. "The bomb" will be performed till July the 8th.

10 June, 2011

Payments on pavements

Angers city plans to implement a second "new tax". While town hall annouced, a few months ago, that another new tax, the first in several decades in Angers, would be applicable to households in order to finance, among other things, the cost of the trolley line, it made clear recently that a new "new tax" would be collected this time on a wide scale of stores.

Credit : wikipedia
If that kind of local charges is yet due by owners of bars and restaurants who use part of the public domain, mostly pavements, squares or gardens, the fiscal burden would rely that time on a wide range of companies, from kebab shops which deliver sandwiches on the pavements to banks whose cash dispensers are only accessible from the city pavements.

But, in return, Angers city could not only collect money, but complains. In fact many stores owners and other companies could use the tax as an excuse to demand to town hall a greater cleanliness of the pavements. And in fact, they would not be wrong. In spite of public campaign about the interest, ecological and economical, to preserve the cleanliness of pavements, old or new, too much inhabitants don't care, spitting their chewing gum or throwing away their cigarette buts on the cobblestones.

But, before that day, pavements should generate payments... to clean the streets.

08 June, 2011

"Recycling" of words

 "Vintage" has came in the vocabulary of the first public authority of Maine-et-Loire, the Conseil général, even if Angers inhabitants do not have a clear idea of what it means. In many places of the city, boards inform the public about the organization of an event linked to the cycle leisure.

In fact "vintage" is a meaningful word nowadays. First, from an economic point of view. With the slowdown od the purchase power and the invasion  
Credit pictures : Conseil général de Maine et Loire

of low quality goods, people in Angers and anywhereshould look twice before throwing away things maybe a little bit has been but which could be very useful nevertheless.

From a marketing point of view too. Maybe the Conseil genéral of Maine-et-Loire is looking to compete with Angers Loire Métropole in the promotion of the bike as a new way of transportation and, with the increase of energy, a new ay of life. The vintage has some advantage...

07 June, 2011

The English Language Library in Angers increased the number of its members in 2010

The English Language Library in Angers delivered an optimistic report about its activity in 2010 : the number of members increased at 1 591 persons, a progress 9% and the acceleration of the turnover of documents (18 762 have been borrowed, an increase of almost 6%). That could be explained by he interest for English language from adults living in Angers and Maine-et-Loire : a supplementary workshop for adults wishing to improve their skills in spoken English has been created and others have been set up for students and pupils.

If the number of adults borrowing books or other elements of the libray has litteraly soared (+55%), it is nevertheless difficult to conclued this is due to "French Angevins" because, at the same time, the proportion of French speaking members decreases "markedly".

Credit pictures : http://www.ellia.org
If the English Language Library in Angers has been weakened by the general recession, it nevertheless developped its links with the Maine-et-Loire library and sole impoetant city of the region like Saumur, Segré, and soon, Cholet. The Library has also implemented initiatives toward universities and schools.

The aim of that institution managed by two English speaking perons, John Cassini, president and Phoebe Marshall-Raimbeau, manager, has been created nearly 20 years ago. It is devoted to "the dissemination of information relevant to English-speaking countries, and seeks to spread awareness and appreciation of these countries' respective literature and culture, with interest in all English-speaking regions in Europe and abroad".

06 June, 2011

The Fnac at the heart of Angers

Among the numerous stores located in Angers down town, one cannot be ignored, and is not, by customers or simply pedestrians, who stride along the streets on saturdays. It's the Fnac, in Lenepveu street. The arrival of that chain of stores in the city in the middle of the 90's hoisted Angers to a higher rank and has recalled the place of culture in Angers life.

In that street, probably the most attended in Angers, Fnac store is localizable thanks to the continuous comings and goings of people. Two main elements may explain its attractivity. First the mix of many components of contemporary culture : books, records, but also dvd and all tv or informatical products which are for users like windows on the world.

The second element is may be the indoor fitting which makes the customer feels he could be anywhere in Europe, giving him the impression to be part of a globalized world. Evolving in a filtered and cocoon-like atmosphere, the visitor glides from litterature to comics and from ticket booth to mobile phones. Fnac is henceforth part of the Angers landscape and surely one of the most dynamic heart of trade in down town.

05 June, 2011

Angers Loire Valley, an English brand with French accent

Angers Loire Valley, the new brand of Angers Loire Métropole since April the 19th, is recruiting ambassadors. Their goal is stimulate the promotion of the city in France and abroad. A subscription form is available on the website of Angers Loire Métropole (only in French) which offers to candidates a support in their task. But is anyone able to register? Probably yes even if the same website indicates on one of its pages that " managers, important persons..." are looked for.

Will they be helpful? May be, but they will have a big job to do : to explain the assets of Angers... in English. But do they speak that language? Apparently the city didn't considered that point because in the questions asked to the candidates, their ability in English isn't mentioned. And what about the materials Angers is readye to give them, are they translated in English?.

Moreover, that strategy could be at the haflway point. "Angers Loire Valley" clearly links the city to a patrimony internationaly recognized, but why the signature "La vie en grand" is in French? Is a change coming? In the last edition of "Vivre à Angers", the town hall magazine, the representatives precise the English traduction of the signature is "Live large"... Such a change could widen the horizons of the Angers' brand.

04 June, 2011

Angers inhabitants take summer habits during a sunny weekend

May be June 3rd will not be the warmest day of the year, but it will be surely, for most of Angers inhabitants, one of the most pleasant, in the middle of four non working days of the Ascencion celebration. In fact, the weather was very hot : 26 and even 27 degrees in the afternoon with a light wind caressing pedestrians eager to get sun as if they were solar panels.

The Maine lake beaches attracted many people, mostly families and youngs who came here all day long to rest and to swim. Others prefered to sleep on the Maine banks lawns largely withered by the sun. Some couples choose to have a nap under the shadow of the oak trees of the University gardens near Saint-Serge square while all of their surface exposed to the sunlight was unattended.

The Ralliement square was crowdy because many stores were open. For the cafes which installed open air terraces near the new fountains, the conditions for starting their new business were propitious and the babbling of the water was really a nice music pedestrians were happy to hear.

These days are amazing. At the same time, Angers tourists in Spain complain on a rainy and dreary weather...

03 June, 2011

Angers Trolley didn't yet paved way for bikes

Is the trolley compatible with the bikes? This is the question one can ask cycling along the 12 km overall trolley rail tracks from La Roseraie district in Angers to the Ardennes plateau in Avrillé. If cyclable lanes have been created in some parts of the trolley line, in others, bikers will have to manoeuvre between the pedestrians or to insert themselves between cars and trolley. 

But, in some sections, cars and bikes share the same lane while in others cars, bikes and trolleys do. But in some parts (Létanduère street or Avrillé main street for example), pedestrians, bikers, drivers and trolley will have do live together! It's clear many inhabitants using the three first means of transport will need desperately some teaching about the traffic rules.

In some places, the traffic ways are far from being completed. Along the Capucins Plateau, there are still huges piles of road wastes compelling the bikers to dismount and walk. If Angers town hall has increased the bikes mileage, even  if the level of safety is variable. One of the less visible dangers are the small difference of pavements and road which can cause falls and legs casualties to elder inhabitants.

02 June, 2011

The managers'trail in Angers next June 17th

The owner-managers trail will stop in Angers on june the 17th at Leclerc square. The aim of that presence is to give useful solutions to the people who want to set on, to take over or to sell a business. The candidates will be welcomed by a panel of experts ranging from chartered-accountants, insurers, lawyers, bankers or marketers who, for free, are available to advice, at an individual level, the future managers.

Credit : Vincennes Hebdo
Several workshops on the way to develop one's business thanks to professional networks or how to find the necessary money to launch a project will be accessible all day long to the visitors. This trail is the 8th of a serie which, annualy, cross France to stimulate the desires to begin a project. Apparently with some success : almost 200 companies are set on every year, some of them, subsequently, may create jobs.

This initiative recalls to everyone, included to the the local representatives, the Angers inhabitants do not only need - and live on - solidarity because when there is less to share the only way to overcome the economic difficulties is to create wealth, and new products or services are the unique way to create jobs. And profitable jobs are stable jobs.