31 August, 2011

Bikes cages in Angers stays desperately empty

If it were a scuplture, it would be particularly hideous. But it looks useless too. Since a few months several districts of Angers are equipped with cages designed to keep the bikes. Black with big bars, if they may dissuade burglars to steal bikes, apprently they dissuade the bikers to store their bikes there!

Since a few months, some of them higly visible from the streets and located in places where the traffic is heavy are desperately empty. Are they secure? Are they easy to handle? One of the problem could be the people do not know the use of these objects which, moreover, disturb the walk of pedestrians because they encroach partially on the pavements dedicated to pedestrians.

Their places where they are settled are very different : at a turnabout (in front of the exhibition center in the direction of Saint-Sylvain d'Anjou) or at the base of buildings (as in des Gars street near the Thomson factory). The website of angers city doesn't refer to these specific objects excepted the bike park facilities located at the end of the trolley line (La Roseraie) or at the Saint-Laud railway station.An explanation would be welcomed.

30 August, 2011

Students on the eve of the new school year

Students in Angers universities are about to be back in their classes. The students of the Essca should be the first for the start of the new school year and the procedures of integration of the new students are starting this week. In the past, many coverages about rumored excesses from these young people have been dedicated by the local press.

In order to prevent any turmoil, the Belle-Beille school has already set up a series of measures ranging from the prevention of addictive behaviours thanks to special tuitions in the school to the signature by every new student of a chart making compulsory the respect of rules of behaviour outside the school and, as a consequence, sanctions in case of offenses.
Credit Angers city

From its side, Angers town hall admitted some new rules had to be implemented to limit the problems. In april 2011, it has forbidden the sale of alcohols from 10.00 pm to 07.00 am by the mini-markets in down town. That only impacts a little dozen of stores. But the city was already entrusted to prohibit consumption of alcools on the streets. The Noxambules team had bee created. Voluntary students are walking in the streets in order to alert any night bird about the risk of his behaviour for others and fort itself.

29 August, 2011

The last glance on summer days round Angers

While that sunday 28th august was the last of a not very shiny summer period, many Angers inhabitants tried to get a last chance of taking advantage of mild temperature. A bicycle ride throughout Angers surroundings was appropriate. Round Maine lake, many bikers were enjoying some of recent improvements of the dirt road. Before july, it was necessary for them to step down before and sometimes after every bridge because the way was not levelled and that may cause some mecanical problems to bikes and even falls of bikers. Now the way is flatter now.
Some improvements are nevertheless have to be implemented by the inhabitants themselves. Somes places have been destroyed not only by pollution but almost by unconscious behaviour of walkers, bikers of dirvers : a pond located on a hill before Bouchemaine village is completely destroyed by garbage and pollution. No signals from public authorities prevent tactless individuals to respect environment.

Hopefully, others parts of neighbourhood, like the Maine river still attract a lot of people. A triathlon run (?) gathered teams who canoed up the Maine river before starting a run on the bank. Angers inhabitants love to circumnavigate their city before coming back in it for a new working year.

26 August, 2011

A new face for Lorraine square in 2012

Few by few Angers down town becomes less and less accessible to cars. While the entire core of the city is now for pedestrian traffic only since the running of the trolley, now it's up to Lorraine square to ban cars. From the 25th august, and up to the beginning of 2012, works will trnaformed the surface of the square. A few months ago, the trees aroud the square were cut and the ground was excavated to exhume possible relics of ancient town. Some pieces of ceramics dating from the 1st century were discovered.

After its transformation, it appears - on picture - that the levelling of Lorraine square makes the location wider that it is presently. Trees will be planted on two of the sides of the square, underlining its geometrical shape. The square will also integrate the lanes of the buses, making it clear, that the center of Angers will be be more and more accessible to inhabitants using public transports.

The square will have a face completely different. Formerly, the place woas the crossroads of numerous bus lines. Its new design is harmonious with the aerial and vegetalized architecture the city wants to put forward.

22 August, 2011

Palma de Mallorca in the air...drier

If Palma de Mallorca is a city where heat is part of weather normal conditions, the last days, and the days to come, are and could be caracterized by the highest temperatures ot the year. Since a few days, the weather was always above 35° and, during the last weekend, soared till 40°.

If, usually, the city has a little and fresh breeze coming from the Mediterranean sea, this has not be the case recently. The atmosphere is under influences of Sahara climate and the only wind the city gets looks like the air coming out from an hair-drier days and nights.
At that time, there is no very much people in the streets (except in the historical center).

In spite of campaigns warning tourists and inabitants to the risks of sun exposure, many people still go the beach all day long but with large umbrellas and iced botlles of water as well as food for lunch. All the public buildings are climatized and are not reluctant to lower the temperatures. But the risks of troubles are even larger with the differences of degrees out and in...

19 August, 2011

The historical district of Palma hit by the crisis still resists to heat

Unlike Angers "cité", the historical district of the town, the ancient core of Palma de Mallorca is alive. Hundreds of stores are along the narrow, dark and sinuous streets of the capital of the island. But changes are nevertheless on way. Since a long time, the stores owners born in the island gave up and sold their shops to international companies, still eager to reach hundreds of thousands of tourists who walk in the streets for (officialy) local products.

But the economic crisis which hit Spain since 2007  has lead Mallorcan stores owners to sell their shops to Chinese traders, most of them specialized in garments and shoes, easily identified by pedestrians thanks to the piles of cardboxes on the frontside of the stores. Most of the streets are prohibited to cars and those which still circulate with do it with difficulty in the ways where there are still admitted because the bikes are much more numerous than before.

The schedules for shopping are strict. Open from 9 am to 2 pm, the stores shuts abruptly at the same time and will reopen at 4 pm till 8 pm when suddenly the streets become empty and silent. It's not the case during the very hot temperatures the city experimented that week : 37°. The crowd appreciates to walk in the historical core of Palma eager to find a milder atmosphere.

17 August, 2011

The old trolley of Soller as a travel in landscape and journey in past

If everybody in Angers is informed about the running of the tramway line since the end of june, maybe numerous persons don't know the city had yet a trolley up to the end of the 50's. Other cities in Europa never abandonned the trolley and it's the case in Soller, a small coastal town located in the North of Mallorca island which runs such a transportation system since 1913.

Soller implemented that year the first and still unique electrical trolley in Mallorca. The line isn't very long, about five km, and goes from Soller city to Port of Soller. While the trolley was designed for the transportation of passengers it became used for the transport of freight, mainly fish, as well as coal for a submarine base. The trolley has never been put aside and some new cars were brought in from Lisbon.

Hundreds of travellers use every day the trolley. Most of them get there thank to a train, as old as the trolley, which snakes throughout the mountains of the inland of Mallorca covered by orange and lemon flowered trees during spring. The soft speed of the trolley and the train, and of course, their atmosphere, are also a travel in the past. So Angers should study the implementation of old wagons coming from its former trolley, if they still exist...

15 August, 2011

The contrast between touristical and rural landscapes in Mallorca erased by the prices

As in Angers, it's possible to go for a ride on bicycle around Palma de Mallorca. At the limits of the city, cyclable lanes stop, leaving room to the old, sinuous and narrow island roads who lead the bikers, in less than 30 mn, in the rural landscapes of the past.

And as in Angers, the real estate development of the capital of Mallorca has not yet "swallowed" little villages still centered on agriculture and whose ancient architecture has, up to now, survived the urban growth. But for them, the changes may appear inside their own limits. More and more "fincas" (farms) have been bought by people from abroad and their restoration works don't always suit to the charm of the rural Spain.

At that time of the year, the fields are litteraly burnt by the sun and, if the temperatures were not in summer 2011, as high as in 2010, they nevertheless reached 37°. There is still a sharp contrast between Mallorca coasts, over built by real estate companies, and the inner part of the island, except for the prices. A "finca" in the middle of nowhere is worth 4,5 millions €, in spite of the standstill of the construction economy...

12 August, 2011

In Mallorca, maybe the king doesn't like "La petite reine"

As many others European cities, Palma de Mallorca want to develop the use of bicycle. The issue looks quite important here, as testifies a sudden and dramatic change of the cycles lanes map in town since a new town council has been elected only a few weeks ago. The works for a new net of "carrer bici" are underway, but the roadsigns indicating the change are far from be effective... 

But round the city, there are a lot of cyclable lanes completely separated from the road and forbidden to motorcycles. Pedestrians and bikes look to experiment a pacific coexistence on these lanes circled by trees and flowers. From time to time, areas equipped with plays of kinder gardens are availaible to families with young children. These ways look very appreciated by tourists as well as inhabitants who find there a very suitable place to do sport or just for to walk. Adults of very different ages meet themselves on these ways. 

There is only a difficulty on the "carrer bici" linking the capital of the island to the West coast. In a district called "Marivent" (sea and wind), the pavements are narrow and in very bad conditions. That is quite surprising because, every summer, the king of Spain comes there for holidays. May be he doesn't like what French call "la petite reine"?

10 August, 2011

The beauty of Palma is at large

If the city of Palma de Mallorca has many points of interest, history (the city was designed by the arabs before the XVth century), arts (it is the place where the painter Míro lived) or linguistic (as other provinces of Spain, the Balearic islands has two official languages), one of them is not in town but, at the large of the town. It is the bay of Palma.

The bay looks as wide as La Baule's. In a book untitled The prisoners of Cabrera, and written by a contemporary French author, Palma viewed from the sea is like a woman laying on a bed. Every yearn the city contemplate one of the most popular sailing event of the peninsula, the Copa del Rey, a competition in which the king of Spain, Juan Carlos took part.

Palma de Mallorca is often painted from the sea. The brown and yellow colours of the city appear between the blue of the sea and the green of the mountains, themselves often dominated ( even during this year) by a no clouded sky. Many Fench tourists are in town this year thanks to two French low cost companies.

08 August, 2011

The European public finances are... on the sand.

Citizens of European countries may complain about the behaviour of the state of their public finances whose evolution doesn't inspire confidence for the future. But is their own individual behaviour well above any critics? Their use of the seaside during holidays could be a perfect example of the unconsciousness of people regarding the safety of the world - economical or ecological - they will transmit to next generations...

Like ruined public finances, with heavy debts, the locations of holidays are also devastated. Along the Mediterranean sea, crowded beaches are full of garbages : plastic bags and bottles are floating on the water or laying in the sands, yet full of cigarette buts. The cities set up huge garbage cans in the beaches, near the tourists, but many of them don't use them. After having lunched on the beach, they go back to their cars, letting to municipal workers the task of cleaning up the mess, at their own expenses. In fact, most of these people are Spanish and live in Mallorca island so will have to foot the bill for their own misconduct!

When they leave the beach, free showers are available they over-use. Would they waste the same quantity of water (in a country where water is already scarce) at home? In fact, during two generations, people didn't act as responsible persons, respectful of the environment they inherited and they will have to transmit.

06 August, 2011

"Los indignados" Spanish protest movement now present in Angers

The Spanish protest movement "los indignados" has spread till Angers. Regularly, and almost weekly, small groups of young people gather at Ralliement square and talk about reforms they wish to be applied in order to get a world more close to their hopes.

In Spain the movement is still alive and would not probably end soon. The rate of jobless has soared in recent years after the economy of the country experimented a true boom up to the world financial crisis in 2008. In some of the Spainish provinces, like Baleares, that rate is above 20% of the population. Even if, in Angers, the crisis is not so deep, many young people face a difficult life : the money they earn since the reduction of work time is less important than before, while, at the same time, prices of food or housing have severely increased.

The name of the square "Ralliement" has now something to do with the word of ideas. Those of the new generation do not seem to attract attention from pedestrians. The boards they exhibit are not very precise about the reform which would have to be undertaken according to the "demonstrators". But are they true demonstrators? In Angers, the gatherings at Ralliement square were not very crowded and not agressive at all. Young people taking part in it introduce themselves as victims. And that is may be they are in fact.

04 August, 2011

Islam at the doors of Angers town hall

The presence, since almost a year, of immigrants coming in Angers from the Africa Horn, in front of the main entrances of city hall may not end soon because they acquire, few by few, uses there. Men slept there by groups of twenty laid down on cardboards and receive food help from caritative communities or families. But where they are they carried with them their ideas and,therefore their confessional belief : islam (as probably anybody would do - if permitted - in a country where state and confessionnal institutions are separated).

So one of these men was praying yesterday, in direction of the Mecca (direction which goes roughly through Lorraine square) visibly insensible to the presence of fellow citizens and to the ideological restraint anybody is expected to fullfill in a location whose symbol is laïcity.

At that time of the day, the public offices are closed so these people may settle there more comfortably. These groups, probably drove till Angers thanks to professionnal rings, settle in front of city hall for a few days then disappear, soon or later replaced by others. Most of the settlers are men et have the same facial feature : tall and rangy. When they don't stay at the entrance of town hall, the sit at the bottom of the flowerbed in front of the classic front side of the building for endless discussions like in the distant villages they come from.

03 August, 2011

The death of an Angers pedestrian reminds the dangers of the trolley

Credit Angers city
The death of a person hit by the trolley on august 2nd, after a woman was severely injured a few weeks ago on Foch boulevard, sounds like a tough warning to caution to Angers pedestrians crossing the line. It is beyond understanding that, nor the victim nor the driver of the train couldn't stop their run in time. It looks like if a lack of understanding regarding the rules was responsible of such drama.

In fact, the new signals announcing to car drivers the arrival of the trolley change compared to the usual traffic lights. People, for decades, who have been used to the meaning of orange flashing lights, do not realize that red flashing light mean "stop". For the pedestrians the trolley is a fascinating vehicle : its absence of noise during running may instil the idea its a light vehicle able to stop in one second. But it's not the case.

The behaviour of pedestrians, bikers or drivers are explained on the website of Angers city, but it doesn't appear clearly on the opening page that the trolley has always priority. It is necessary to open a guide to read that the first of the six main security rules indicates : "in every circumstances, let the trolley first". But the description of the trolley en environment indicates that pedestrians may use the right of way passages. But even in that places, pedestrians have no priority.

02 August, 2011

Angers Ralliement square in august : sun of a beach

Thanks to the return of sunny days and the heat which - usually - goes with the summer season, the Ralliement square often criticized for the lack of greeness gets at the least an advantage. It suits perfectly to the desire of people in search of a place to suntan. Some of the cafés facing the Grand Théâtre may have understood it. All of them set garden armchairs and low tables for their customers who love to stay there much more longer than necessary to swallow a drink.

Because there are not trees, nor monuments in the center of the square, its stone surface reflects the rays of sun and the heat stockpiled all day long. People stretch their legs as if they were at seaside. Even the babling of the fountains may replace the murmur of the waves. The trolley bell interrupts the dream. 

At the center of the square, other café owner have installed classic chairs and table. These are not as comfortable as the others and don't have the same attraction. They ought to reconsider their offer and make good use of the architectural coolness of the Angers central square. In summer, a water atomizer would even be wecomed...

01 August, 2011

The Guillaume Bodinier's double resurrection

Angers inhabitants, during 2011, have the opportunity to rediscover some of the points of interest of their beloved town. After the three years of works paralyzed, and disfigured, the streets in down down, a double ressurrection is on way with Guillaume Bodinier, the painter... and the eponymous street.

Angers Fine Arts Museau
An exhibition at the Angers Museum of Fine Arts presents till the end of september 200 pieces of the artist, mainly studies of landscapes and personnages. If some of the works of Bodinier are visible all over the year at the city museum, it's nevertheless, almost for a long period, the first time this artists gets an entire exhibition. A portrait of a young Italian girl with a grim look standing near a fountain, looks to reproach to Angers inhabitants their lack of interest during all those years. But this resurrection of Bodinier is not the only one.

The eponymous street in downtown has been completely redevelopped from the Louis de Romain square, with its fountain and its restaurants terraces, till it crosses the trolley line on Roe street. The pavements have been enlarged and the way embellished with iron gates and large flowerpots. Restaurants and cafés made the most of it, setting up tables and large sunshades in the vicinity of a town house whose the luxuriance of the garden spalshes ont the street and attracts the sight of pedestrians. Other stores are enlarging or completely refurbishing their design. Like the painter, the street exhibits its assets.