31 January, 2012

The minority side tries to unsettle the new Angers mayor during the 2012 budget discussion

If the serial about the unexpected resignation of the former mayor of Angers, Jean-Claude Antonini, is over, the disappointments and the disagreements which have been expressed along the last days inside and outside townhall, could have left an imprint about the tone of the debates of the municipal council. That was highly visible during the discussion of the 2012 city budget with the clear intention to unsettle the new Angers mayor, Frédéric Beatse.

The critics of the minority side of the municipal council were concentrated on several projects and especially the aqualudic complex whose costs could be higher than corresponding projects in other cities. But, the arguments were marked by a politician tone they didn't have before. The French presidential elections could invite themselves in the debates of Angers municipal council between the left (majority side) and the right (minority side).

Credit picture Angers city
An aspect of the budget, nevertheless quite important, has not been refered : the unequal increases of capital budget and of the operating budget. The first, consituted by investments, raises by 1,6% (62 against 61 millions €). The second, which gathers the expenses for everyday functionning, increases by 2,5% (from 177 to 181 millions euros). The operating expenses are three times more important than the investments expenses. And the total is still increasing... Are left and right OK about that? 

30 January, 2012

Post from the editor

Thank you Ben for your post. We are happy you think that blog is informative.

Snowfall on Angers : a test for Angevine mildness

The winter arrived on Monday 31 of January. The change was unexpected. On the previous day, the city benefited of a sunny weather. And, up to now, the weather was rather mild. Flowers, especially daffodils, believed spring was there. Humans were surprised too. At the end of the day, people choose to go back home, foreseeing icy roads. 

In Angers downtown, the cafés terraces were deserted and the owners had to alleviate the large sun umbrellas from the weight of the snow. For the place itself, its the first time pedestrians have the opporunity to test its surface under the snow. Apparently without any casualties. 

The snow started from the very morning and lasted till the end of the afternoon. The visibility, although secure for the traffic was nevertheless reduced by a light fog. The meteorology forecast a worsening of the weather along the week. The temperatures could lower to zero up to the end of the week. 

The traffic could be difficult in the days to come if, during nights, the thermomether goes to zero. Heavy snowfalls are predicted and later the region could face a dry and cold weather, with ice. The famous Angevine mildness is gone for a while...

29 January, 2012

The 1ers Plans Festival, a good plan for Angers

Probably, the event 1ers plans is seen in its cultural aspects. But this exhibition of young talents, which holds in Angers its 24th edition, has another value the cultural dimension may hide : the entrepreneurship value. All those first movies are, above all, an attempt to realize a project in spite of its, mainly financial, difficulties.

Of course, all the "actors" of this event are anonymous but some coud become facmous. About a hundred professionnal directors screaned their first movie in Angers. That event is largely opened on the international world and a tribute has been paid to an icon of the British director of the seventies, Alan Clark, who worked for the BBC. He depicted the Thatcher years from a point of view totally diffrent of the one, seen in the new film "Iron mowen", with Meryl Streep.

Credit : Angers city
The propotor of the event, Claude-Eric Poiroux, is himself a man dedicated to cinema and searched to check the advantages of the 1ers plans festival through a survey ordered to the Maine et Loire Chamber of Commerce and Industry. According to that inquiry, more than 900 000 euros benefit to the Angers city thanks to the expenses of the visitors of the festival. And its of common sense that "there is nothing more business like the show business".

28 January, 2012

Angers inhabitants set out to "winter economic time"

With the economic crisis, Angers inhabitants borrow new habits in their daily life. One of the most visible change is, because of the electricity rates are soaring, the lighting of their homes. It's easy to realize the change on the evenings when darkness invades streets and squares. For example Lorraine square is half surrounded by residential buildings erected at a time when energy was cheap. Large windows open on the square above letting the pedestrians catch sight of life inside the flats.

January 28th of 2012 08:22 pm
Now its quite difficult. Leaving, on the eve of a working day, the famous La Salamandre restaurant after a dinner served at usual time, the customers who walked on the new Lorraine square could count ont the fingers of one hand the lighted apartments where shutters were not closed. This new trend overlays other changes, some old, some new. Since years, Angers inhabitants have choose to use bike for short travels in down town. The use of bike is increasing. If it's good for the planet, it's also good for the wallet (even for people who are wealthy)! The recent discount days displayed huge decreases in prices : till - 70% and sometimes more because the shop owners have to come apart of thire last collection.

The city itself foresees difficulties for the inhabitants who used to go to Lamoura, a village located in Jura, a mountain department in Eastern France. The village were rent by several cities. Some of them have not anymore the financial resources to share the costs. So Angers inhabitants who used ski could be deprived of that pleasure.

27 January, 2012

The Angers castle Renaissance

After months of burying under tarpaulins and scaffoldings, since a few days, the royal home of Angers castle is again visible. Rejuvenated, clean, bright, the core of the monument stands up and displays its neat and sharp shapes under the wintry blue sky of Angers, perfect as a crystal. Within a few months it will be released of all the materials its complete renovation demanded. All the damages of the January 2009 winter will not let any scar.
Because of a malfunction of a heat device, a fire erupted in the building destroying the framework and the slates roof of the building built in 1410. The city rallied for the restoration of the place which - apparently - is now over for the civil work. Probably, a lot of repairs and redevelopment are still necessary inside. 

Simultaneously, the restoration works on the battlements of the castle are on way. On the Maine river side, scaffholdingsmake disappear entirely the towers. The stones have suffered from pollution and need to be cleaned and to stick again. The most symbolic monument of the city (which doesn't belong to the city) could be one of the winners of the future Maine banks once got rid of pollution.

26 January, 2012

The new mayor sets up a council for employment with corporate managers

The circumstances around the resignation of Jean-Claude Antonini, more than the election of Frédéric Béatse, as new mayor of Angers, will leave marks on the climate inside to city council, inside the majority side of that authority and may be inside the voters. But Frédéric Béatse immediately marked the beginning of its office with his top priorities : "the economic development and employment" because "the crisis interpellates us".

Credit picture Angers city
One of the most significant decision of the day is to set up "a strategic council about employment" whose members, quoted first, will be "the corporate managers". The new mayor pointed out that he will go on the field, close to the corporate managers and the employees in order to listen to them". He will probably hear (justified) complains about the fiscal pressure the city hall has just annouced it will raise through the transportation tax!

That could be a way to rally voters to the left side in 2014 because, in two years 2011 and 2012 households and companies will have seen their taxes soared. The resignation of a representative of a majority member is the clue of a shock the Angers opposition will strive to capitalize at its advantage.

25 January, 2012

Angers mayor succession, a controversy is spreading in medias

According to local medias, the resignation of Jean-Claude Antonini, mayor of Angers for yet a few hours and the election by the town councillors of the majority side at city hall of his heir, Frédéric Beatse, would be the result of a plot.

The roots of that plan could be partly due to a resentment of Mr Antonini against Jean-Luc Rotureau who, a few years ago, followed, regarding the project of an express way at the South of Angers a stance slightly different of the mayors point of view. The secret scheme between Mr Antonini, Mr Beatse and two others persons, Daniel Raoul, senator, and the head of the mayor's cabinet, aimed at avoiding the organization of primaries between the candidates to the Angers office of mayor, whose effects could be unwanted.

The disappointment, or at least, the bewilderment of some majority town's councillors was today reported by local medias what could weakening the position of Mr Beatse, what Mr Rotureau could exploit. According the the medias, Paris company was even hired to help these four persons to settle the problem. A crisis communication agency could be needed soon...

24 January, 2012

Employment and economic attrativeness of Angers, the top priorities of the next mayor

The balance sheet of Jean-Claude Antonini could be a little bit damaged by the method he chose to leave office. If the opposition side in Angers town hall widely criticizes the form of that end of office, the most critical assessments came from some supporters of the next former mayor of Angers. The critics do not mainly aim the candidate who will succeed to Mr Antonini, Frédéric Beatse but his predecessor himself.  

Credit Angers city
If the next head of Angers will take office in the middle of a turmoil, he could deflect the policy planned by Mr Antonini. Mr Beatse comes from the private sector. He runs a company dedicated to digital technologies so he should know how the difficulties the companies, employees and bosses, live presently. He recently disclosed what will be his top priorities in the next two years. The first is economic and Mr Beatse links two words : "employment, attractiveness". Yet, the Angers city has just plan to increase the transport tax in order to finance a second line of tramway. Mr Beatse should look to the local taxes weighting on employment. The second results logically from the first and they are "solidarity, social link".

The challenge is difficult so Mr Beasts is eager to turn over a new leaf. The next polls are in 2014. 

23 January, 2012

The resignation of Jean-Claude Antonini openly criticized in his own side

The resignation of Jean-Claude Antonini from the head of the Angers town hall after he promised, a few weeks ago, to continue his office till the end of the mandate, is widely crtiticized in his own side and, of course, in the opposed side. If Mr Antonini did what Jean Monnier, his predecessor, did in 1998 - to put on orbit a successor - two differences appear : Jean Monnier did not promised to his inhabitants he will stay at the head of Angers city till the end of his own mandate and it was in 1998, about a quater o century... 
In the mind of Angers inhabitants of 2012, a mayor is there to promote ideas, to design policies, to implement projects and not for appointing someone, even if he or she has the abilities to face the challenges. From that point of view, such a gift could be poisened for the apparent heir.

Jean-Luc Rotureau, deputy-mayor of Angers has openly announced his disapointment and his disapproval : "I have expressed a huge disagreement about the method. [The mayor] said he would go on : that's disrespectful". Another aspect is quite incongruous. Just before leaving office, Mr Antonini had submitted to the Angers representative a deliberation regarding the allowances of satellite companies of town hall, he will preside very soon...

22 January, 2012

The second Angers tramway line is on the tracks... with a new increase of transport tax for local companies

The recent debate about the budgetary directions of Angers Loire Métropole (Alm) for the fiscal year 2012 has confirmed that the announcement by the president of the territorial authority, Jean-Claude Antonini, regarding the stability of local taxes was, only true for households but not for local companies. As the city is Angers is already planning the construction of a second tramway line, Mr Antonini and his colleagues mayors of cities and villages members of Alm, plan an increase of the transportation tax.

This one had yet soared for the first trolley line and will be heavier in 2012. The rate of the tax will increase from 1.8% to 2% and will give 4.5 millions Euros more for Alm. So what the Angevins will not pay as households, they could foot the bill as employees... And Bernadette Caillard-Humeau, recently ousted from her charge of 1st deputy mayor at Angers, complains the tax doesn't bring back more money!

This second tramway line is so "on the tracks" and some inhabitants communities want it whatever be its cost. Mr Antonini promised that the studies would be finished in 2014. Recently, some Monplaisir district inhabitants urged the mayor to build half a line. While the second line is due to link Beaucouzé to Saint-Sylvain d'Anjou through Monplaisir, these suggested the line could only link Angers down town to Monplaisir district. But what will say Angers districts and villages which will not get it?

21 January, 2012

Frédéric Beatse, as next mayor of Angers? is now in orbit for the next municipal polls in 2014

The majority side of Angers town hall, constituted by members of the Parti socialiste and of Europe-Ecologie-Les Verts, gathered on 20th of January, choose Fréderic Beatse as successor of Jean-Claude Antonini, who has resigned the same day of his office. The sequences were politically perfect and the competitor of Mr Beatse, Jean-Luc Rotureau, is doubly defeated: first because because he got 14 favourable bulletins against 28 for the winner, secondly because the municipal primary he wanted becomes useless.
Mr Rotureau didn't comment the results of the majority side's vote but will talk next week. Logically, if Mr Beatse, supported by Mr Antonini who stays at the head of Angers Loire Métropole, a territorial authority whose Angers city is part, he could be the natural candidate of the present majority at city hall.
Some Angers inhabitants could think that they have been misled by Mr Antonini who should not have commented on the rumours regarding his possible dismissal because of health problems. That makes the difference with the choice Jean Monnier, made in 1998, when he resigned two years before the end of his term, in favour of Mr Antonini. The opposition, and its leader, Christophe Béchu, know who they will have to challenge in 2014. After the next presidential and legislative polls, the municipal campaign could start in Angers...

20 January, 2012

The Angers mayor resignation renews an event 14 years ago and prepares the next term

The mayor of Angers, Jean-Claude Antonini announced today his resignation. Mr Antonini, who suffered from cancer about a year ago, came back to office after his recovery. An uncertainty was allowed to persist. A few months ago, many Angers medias predicted Mr Antonini could resign about two year before the next polls. The person most directly concerned said it was not true and asserted, at several public events within the last months, that he would continue his mandate till its regular end in 2014...

That strategy is now an advantage for Mr Antonini's side because this one will have time to prepare the next polls within two years. His successor, Frédéric Beatse or Jean-Luc Rotureau, will have time to get ready for the elections. But this is not suiting perfectly with the idea of primary elections Mr Rotureau wanted to set up. Staying at the head of Angers Loire Métropole as chairman, the former mayor of Angers will be a closed allied to the next first representative of the city.

This withdrawal can also relaunch the campaign of the opposition who, in 2008, near missed to win the city hall. In fact Jean-Claude Antonini, beyond the debate about the choice of the Maine reconquest scheme which will be implemented on 20 years, renews the formula he had himself benefited in 1998 when his predecessor, resigned two years before the end of his mandate.

New English words for the English world designed for Angers youth

"To live an expérience abroad needs organisation" tells the Angers City through its website to young inhabitants. And there are new ways to go there. Among these, two are expressed in English - "woofing, couch surfing" - but the city website doesn't explain them.

The woofing expresses the idea of a housing paid by four hours of work. Couch surfing is a way to visit by staying in people's houses with the wish to meet the locals. But are these available to meet and talk for free their mother tongue? This is not sure.

Apart the mention of the two Englicized words for the discovery of foreign countries a lot of workshops are set up during this event organized by the Centre information jeunesse : studies and internship abroad, the necessary measures to fix before leaving, the ways to improve one's skills in a foreign language, how to work and how to get a job abroad?

All these informations on the town hall website are written in French. In order to stimulate the desire for such experiences, sometimes far from Angers, the municipal website should write them in English!

18 January, 2012

The interest of Angers inhabitants for one of the Maine banks projects is emerging

Credit Angers city
While the exhibition dedicated to the Maine banks reconquest project is extended, demonstrating the interest of Angers inhabitants to the future of their river in the city, local medias predict the Grether team gets their preference. The scheme is founded on the idea that the river is the matrix of the city. So the banks are enlarged and vegetalized to attract inhabitants toward their river. More original is the choice for the laying out of slates folds along the paths.

This leads to transpose the core of the city just on the river because the Maine is the main artery of the city. In order to reach that goal the Grether project increases the bridges and footbridges while it also totally reconsider the function of existent ways like the Verdun bridge and the Segré railway bridge. But the creation of two little islands on the North part of the Main inside the city is one ot the most original ideas of the competition.

The echo the Angers town hall initiative met within the population (3 000 people visited the exhibition) is also a positive clue for the "participation democracy" it wants to implement even if a point (which is not minor) is not already fixed : the cost. But it also true that, for now, it is time to dream. The inhabitants may do so at Le Quai theatre till the February 7th.

17 January, 2012

The Artaq 2012 edition weawes yarn links between Angers and Austin

Credit : wikipedia
The 2012 edition of the Angers Artaq festival is englicizing. This event, planned between the 11 and 13 of May will launch a new artistic expression called, on town hall website ("in French") : the yarn bombing. According to Aurélie Mathigot, a Paris plastic artist in charge of the promotion of the event in the city, "the yarn bombing consist in wrapping the street furnitures with yarn. The trend appeared in the United States thanks to an artist, Magda Sayeg who lives in Austin". With the yarn bombing, "it's possible to improve the urban landscape with bright colours to urban shapes often rigid and gloomy".

Credit Angers city
In Angers, the scheme is to dress all the Mail garden furnitures with yarn : kiosk, fountain, benches and even the Lions statues. From now and up to the end of the Artaq festival, Mrs Mathigot will advise all the workshops of Angers involved in the leisure of knitting. Other parts of the cultural places of Angers will be wrapped of yarn : the Ronceray cloister, the Turc walk and the Ralliement and Saint-Eloi squares. These trend is promising : it doesn't pollute, it weaves links between inhabitants and even with Austin, the Texas city Angers is about to twin with.

16 January, 2012

Angers workmen builts confidence

Construction site located Boreau street
 At the beginning of every New Year in Angers, the weather turns colder and the lengthening of daylight is hardly noticeable. These conditions apparently do not slow down the pace of building work in the city. The building site located a the corner of the Carnot boulevard and Boreau street shows it. At 7.30 pm on monday, it was dark. Nevertheless, workmen, guided by cranes lights, were very busy on the construction of the concrete walls and floors of a housing building due to be delivered probably at the beginning of next year.

The night, and the temperature, didn't raise problems for the workmen to go on in a true jungle of woven-wires, iron bars, cables, floors of different levels, so many dangers in the shadows of the night and the thin fog.The summit of the cranes were barely visible : nevertheless the cranes operators were manipulated tons of concrete above the site.

At a time when France has just lost its AAA (UK has kept its grade, till now), that could be heartwarming for inhabitants to see such construction site going on what be the weather and the time. A French popular common saying tells "When the building business runs, everything does so". If the economic weather for France is getting harder, it's reassuring to see humble people who do not give up.

15 January, 2012

The Ralliement newspapers kiosk will never give news

As dreaded at the very end of 2011, the little newspapers kiosk located at Ralliement square definitively ended its business on mid-january leaving behind him an immediate grim future for its owner, sad customers and an animated merchant place in the core of Angers. A few weeks ago, the news agent had warned  - without be answered - the city town hall about the necessity of an immediate relocation, closest to the tramway station or, at least, of a quick new orientation of its front side. Apparently, the Angers town councillors didn't pay attention to his distress call.

Only three little posters are stuck on the iron curtain, giving a few details about the bad fortune of the project. "No viable!", the business attracted 150 customers a day when 400 were waited (according to city forecasts?) to balance receipts and expenditures. The Ralliement square is not now what it was before : with the suppression of bus stops, pedestrians are not waiting sufficient time to buy a newspaper. And the travellers coming from Avrillé or La Roseraie could not be as so numerous as planned.  

According to confidences to customers, the kiosk manager had invested 30 000 euros in the project, an "enormous amount, I am not able to refund", he said thanking, nevertheless, his faithful customers. The walls of the kiosk are full of front pages newspapers and magazines about the crisis and the questions it raises. It also induces a lot of damaging consequences for humble people who only mistake was to believe in future.  

14 January, 2012

The new design of the banks of Maine will require those of manners

If Angers town hall is looking for new financial resources, one could be legitimate: a tax on inhabitants (or visitors) throwing away cigarettes buts, chewing gums, packagings, bottles, cans and so on. These incivilities, close to offhand manners, cost money for the cleaning of the streets, pavements and lawns of the trolley line.

These little offenses are often due to car drivers who open their window and throw away their cigarettes. This is not only a damage for the maintenance of the streets, contempt for the work of municipal employees but above all an ecological irresponsibility. Because when these tobacco garbage's are collected by sewage network, they have then to be sorted out in order to make the water reusable for others purposes. The same thing could be said for chewing gums spitted on the pavements, what led the city to hire a machine to remove them off the asphalt.

These irresponsible behaviours should not be tolerated anymore by the city. They are above all damaging for the grass section of the tramway line soiled by the paper bags of the neighbouring Mc Donald's at Blue House station. The overall image of the city is also suffering because that doesn't reflect favourably the intellectual level of the Angers population. At a time when town hall representatives are going to choose the way the make the Maine river banks more attractive, it would be wise to educate Angers people to the respect of their environment. Many people in France are inclined to speak on self-respect: the self- respect consists in giving to others a favourable image of oneself.

13 January, 2012

With Rives Nouvelles, Angers lands to the Maine

 "Angers new banks" is the most completed of the three projects of the Maine banks reconquest... by the Angers city. The scheme, designed by the Grether team architects, turns around a center ot the Maine lenght which is, at the same time, the core of Angers. Moreover, the Angers new banks is looking for two clear aims : the redevelopment of the two Maine banks and, at the same time, the development of ways of communication between them. The spirit of the scheme is furthermore well explained in the space dedicated to it in Le Quai theatre up to the end of January.

Many originalities constitute the project. The progressive re-design of the Maine banks leads along several years to the complete disappearance of the expressway, its sliproads and its underpass approaches. The concrete and asphalt universe leave room to natural spaces which follow fods with paths, cascades and lawns drawn by slates folds where the Maine crosses the city center. Another bright idea is the set-up of a little harbour along the present Saint-Serge industrial zone and the creation of a little Maine branch who draws two little islands.

Another big change at the downstream of the Angers city is the redirection of the traffic through the Atlantic bridge which will not "vomit" its cars at the bottom of the castle but will lead them to a futur road circling Angers from the South. In the space of the Le Quai theatre is displayed, tiv screens give glimpses on the dramatic transformation and revival of the Maine banks and the city.

12 January, 2012

"Convivence angevine", an anglicism consistent with Angers Loire Valley

"Convicence angevine", the brand of the Reichen team, one of the three cabinets selected to design a project for the Maine banks reconquest (exhibited at Le Quai theatre), is, from a linguistic point of view, consistent with the new brand of Angers Loire Métropole : "Angers Loire Valley". Both are borrowings to English vocabulary. But, beyond that linguistic aspect, the goal of the Reichen team is to launch a double size project, urban as well as social. In order to trigger such a change, there is only a thing to do : to delist the motorway.

This founder act aims to give back the motorway to the Angers inhabitants, warns the Reichen team. This "dowgrading" is in fact an "upgrading" policy. Instead of the motorway, the team imagines to set up a "crazy motorway", a space dedicated to events which will be sometimes a sports, a gardens or a communities motorway (which, physically, will disappear). These two steps (the delisting of the road and its transformation) make possible the restoration of the links between the districts of the city and the river, where inhabited islands will be created.

The new designe of the Maine banks will take 15 years to be implemented and it involves changes in Angers inhabitants uses regarding their daily trips. in that way the Reichen team projects is both urban and social.

11 January, 2012

Maine Park project : the Angers river finds again its complicity with town

Till the 26 of January, Le Quai theatre hosts the three strategies of the Maine reconquest banks, a project launched by the Angers town hall which will have to choose the candidate in the coming months. Designed by the Lin team, a European group of architects with offices in Berlin and Paris, "Maine Park" sums up the aim of its authors : to give back to the Maine river along all its length (12 km) a consistency the place has lost with the years.
Three goals are pursued by the Lin team. First a better accessibility to the Maine river through its two banks with the evolution, with years, of the express way. Secondly to give to each of the different places crossed by the river a distinct part : city or natural landscape because the choice between a those part is helpful to structure the river. And third to allow the river to spread its water in redesigned banks.
The promoters of these ideas leave a large initiative to the city to plan the Maine banks reconquest. Different degrees are possible. Small but important changes of the banks in the centre of Angers thanks to a pontoon and the creation of paths for pedestrians. More important changes are also possible : suppression of slip roads between the express way and the city. A large terrace is set up overhanging the river. The third option called "quantic jump" consists in the complete new design of the express way, the recovery of all passages between city and river and the design of new natural landscapes at the North and the South of the city.

10 January, 2012

The Maine on scene

In order to stimulate the interest of Angers inhabitants regarding the reconquest Maine banks project, an exhibition has been set up till the end of January at the Le Quai Theatre. Faithful to the part of that place, the municipal project and the choice between the three selected schmes have been staged. One of the original ideas of the designers of the exhibition is a huge floor of the surface of the project : the visitors can walk about the perimeter of the project as if they flied ober the city.

Tv screens, pictures, maps, panels diplay the different and numerous aspects fo the reconquest. Moreover guides are available to answer questions of visitors. Of course, leaflets are distributed and questionnaires collect the opinions of Angers inhabitants. Regarding the three schemes themselves, each of them is diplayed in a specific space where the tems of architects exhibit their ideas, their methods and the spirit of their work. But what is the most visible is the wish of town hall to allow inhabitants to express their opinion and so their vision of the Maine banks.

What is also visible is the will of town hall to give a new face of the town thrugh the project. The comparison of the Maine banks before and after the implementation of the scheme points out the Maine has been caught by the traffic instead of inhabitants : the travellers who croos the city intead of the population who lives there.

09 January, 2012

The desire of Angers inhabitants to progress in English, a way for the city to differ from others

Through conversations with Angers inhabitants whose children are in touch with foreign countries, it seems the ability of speaking English, or at least to understand daily words in English becomes a wish, sometimes a project. The reasons Angers inhabitants put forward to justify their inability in foreign languages, not specifically English, are common (in France) : the poor skills of French people regarding foreign languages and difficulties to practise, in that case, English, in daily life.

That second obstacle reveals an aspect of French society, and in that way Angers is typical of France, a very centralized country, which lays in its reluctance to recognize that the defence of French language, of which The Angers inhabitants, as well as those of the Val de Loire (well known for the pureness of their French), doest not necessarily go with the refusal to speak another language. The denial of that ability to speak English is often use as an excuse. But things are changing: the English courses of Angers municipal institute are full.

Regarding that aspect, it should be wise that Angers city, where the Plantagenet inheritance is still visible (the name of a street, a statue in the Saint-Jean old hospital - there is another one at the Canterbury cathedral - restaurant, an English speaking library, etc) take initiative in the revival of English culture and history among its inhabitants. That could be an original position in France, where towns are in competition, and a testimony of the new brand Angers Loire Valley whose ambition is live large.

08 January, 2012

Dies solemnis : double belonging to history

An exhibition devoted to a famous religious procession ended on January 8th at the Saint-Martin collegiate church. Through that annual event, eight centuries of the Angers history were displayed. The "dies solemnis" should have been officially established in the 13th century in Liège but, according to Angers historians, the first edition took place during the 12th century. 

The long cortege started its course in front of the Saint-Maurice cathedral and gathered all the religious and civilian authorities of the town. Up to 5 000 persons walked throughout the streets of Angers dressed in prestigious clothes. Moreover all the streets of Angers were specially decorated for the event. Besides the religious cortege, the Dies solemnis was a trade fair. The event was attended by about 15 000 persons till the end of the Second World War. Only interrupted during the French revolution, the event ended in 1968, a year of political as well as social troubles in Angers and France as a whole. 
In less than a half century, the Angers city has evolved towards, not dechristianization, but a kind of detachment regarding the religious duties. The "dies solemnis" looks to definitively belongs to history.

07 January, 2012

The Angers river banks reconquest : a main project in the years to come

What be the winner of the contest regarding the Maine bank reconquest, the municipal project launched by town hall attracts the Angers inhabitants. An exhibition displaying the schemes of three architects' teams at the Le Quai Theatre during the weeks to come has yet got in hundreds of visitors. So the cause looks already won for the Angers mayor, Jean-Claude Antonini : the projects will become reality in the twenty years to come. 
Beyond the complete reversal of people regarding the preservetion of environment, this apparent support means the Angers inhabitants do not withstand anymore to see their city divided by an ugly and polluting express way and want it to be reunified thanks to its river. And if the project is implemented before the next municipal elections in 2014, it will be almost impossible to the present opposition side in town hall, in case of victory, to change its shapes.

Such a project could be helpful to structure the support of inhabitants to the left candidate who will be designated to take over after Mr Antonini departure. That kind of scheme, which will mark the city maybe a hundred years after its completion, could explain why the present Angers mayor has finally decided not to leave office before 2014. The reconquest of Maine banks is, finally, a very clever scheme to mobilize the inhabitants energy. Considering the challenges Angers is facing, the Maine project will be the main project.

06 January, 2012

Made in Angers 2012, a useful event for the inhabitants outlook

The 2012 edition of Made in Angers sees large. If, as it was the case in the previous editions, the visits of local companies are yet at the core of the event, the organizers attempt, this time, not only to open the doors of agricultural, industrial or services places, private or public, but to open the mind of visitors. In 2012, Made in Angers enriches of thematic evenings with guests. About the issue of the economic mutation and what is at stake for the Angers territory, Made in Angers has invited an economist, Philippe Moati, for a conference followed by a debate with the inhabitants (February 13th at the convention center).

In order to stimulate creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, Made in Angers has invited artists as well as businessmen who will tell through the story of their works, their own course. Another novelty is the implementation of a pace dedicated to families. About 24 companies have planned visits of their places specially suited for parents with children from 6 years old!

Several accents are related to special jobs explained by professional in their work environment. Others will explain sustainable development and others innovation. The event will last almost a month (February 6th to March 2nd) and will undoubtedly contribute to close links between Angers inhabitants and the local companies. 

05 January, 2012

The Angers tax rates stability could only benefit to households in 2012, not to the companies they work for

Some Angers medias wrote maybe to hastily regarding the stability of local taxes in the city and its surroundings during 2012. During a press conference which took place at the Le Quai Theatre on January 5th for the New Year ceremony, the mayor of Angers Jean-Claude Antonini announced in a video that "the town and the Angers Loire Métropole authority will not increase the rates of [local] taxes for households". That doesn't mean all the taxes will stay at the same level. A part of the Angers tax payers could foot the bill instead of the inhabitants : the companies where many of these are working. What the inhabitants could avoid as households, they could have to pay as economic agents.

Angers city
Mr Antonini, and the local medias, forgot last year Angevins had to bear the brunt of costly projects, and first of all the trolley line. But new projects are arriving which, in spite of their different interest, will have to be financed : the Maine banks reconquest, the Grand pays d'Angers (another public authority?), a new congress centre and an aqualudic complex...

These mayor's New Year greetings had, because of an electoral year, a political colour. Mr Antonini bluntly (and easily) criticized the ratings agencies as if these were responsible of the national indebtedness. But from where comes the money Angers has borrowed? From the markets. If, unfortunately, France losts its AAA grade, Angers will suffer from it because a large amount of its resources comes from the French state. How the financial grade of the city could be better than the grade of the state where the first gets its money? Times for new tax increase could be back for households later...

04 January, 2012

Angers families love globalization in first ... names

The Angers town hall has just published on its web site the list of the most frequent first names the inhabitants have chosen for their babies last year. Curiously, the number of first names directly coming from English speaking countries are almost the same for boys (9) and girls(8). Others don't come from these countries but, nevertheless, sound English even if their spelling is not faithful to the original.  The last have the same spelling in French and English.

Angers city
Regarding the boys, the pure English first names are : Tom, Ethan, Adam, Evan, Eliott, Lenny, Charly, Owen and Dylan. Others, even they are not specific to English speaking countries, are nevertheless frequent in these area like Nathan, Sacha, Arthur, Paul, Martin, Thomas, Simon or Benjamin, Aaron, Nathanaël, Rayan, Eliot, Joshua and Alex. For the girls, the most typical English first names chosen by Angers families are : Emma, Clara, Sarah, Lily, Julia, Emy, Tess or Naomie. And the most favourite, common to French and English speaking countries are Rose, Anna, Lisa, Eva and Laly.

What can be the origin of such choices? Events regarding songs, sports, movies may have impressed local families who thought it could be helpful to give to a child a different personality thanks to an English first name. Same Angers families are creative with the gathering of two English first names in a single one : Nolan comes from Noah and Dylan. But the list published by town hall indicates a globalization of the christian names because some are latino.

03 January, 2012

A young Angevine messenger about Resistance and Deportant receives a national award

Credit Angers : Ms Messager and Dr Borland, interned
A young girl, pupil at the Bergson lycée of Angers, received on December the 16th, the first national prize of a national contest in memory of the French resistance and deportation, from the France Republic president, Nicolas Sarkozy. Béranger Messager was awarded for a 3 hours assignment regarding "The repression of resistance movement in France during the 2nd world war".

Her work is astonishing because of the extent of Ms Messager's knowledge about the issue and, in the same time, the clarity and the style of her essay. The young girl depicts with numerous and local details the resolutenees of French resistant and the violence of the nazi - and Vichy - repression. Her work gives names of Angevins, some Resistance fighter, others allied with the occupation army.

The Bergson lycée got, through the award of its pupil, the recognition of its own effort to explain and to increase the awareness of boys and girls to the  fate of humble Angevins citizens who suffered and even lost their lives because of their involvement against a foreign and barbaric domination.Since the end of the 90's, classes of Bergson visit concentration camps of Auchwitz and Birkenau where some of their eldests were deported. 

02 January, 2012

Christmas trees back to streets

 The end of year festivities being over, the symbols of that period are now put aside. That is particularly true for the icon of the last days: the Christmas tree. Yesterday illuminated with candles, tinsels and Christmas tree balls, located at the core of the "sweet home", centres of all the family's cares, receptacles of gifts, they are now laid bare of their ornaments and left to the cold and windy atmosphere of deserted streets in Angers. Their loneliness inspires sadness and pity.

If, during the Christmas and New Year eves are propitious periods to good wishes and resolute decisions, bad uses are quickly coming back. The presence of these trees in the streets recalls that, in fact, Christmas and New Year festivities are now contaminated by a raging consumption. And these trees sum up the fickleness of behaviour as well as superficiality of links people have with material resources even if those are nevertheless living materials.

If households' behaviour is questionable, public authorities' line of 
conduct is not always, in that field, exemplary. A giant pine set up in Ralliement square will probably pull down and sent to a squaring factory. If natural ornaments are often preferable than artificial materials, sometimes these could be more appropriate. Artificial Christmas trees reusable save money and souls of people.

01 January, 2012

Demographic staggering contradicts Angers real estate boom

While one of the most visible changes in Angers, and of Angers, is, since a few years, the growing number of real estate projects, especially in the future Les Hauts de Saint-Aubin district. But local medias published recently a news which could lead the municipal and agglomeration authorities to reconsider the pace of these kind of housing projects. The number of inhabitants in Angers is decreasing.

This was not foresaw and, moreover, this contradicts one of the - appropriate - aims of Angers policy : to stop the spreading of the town for environmental and, above all now, financial reasons. This phenomena, which lasts for 40 years, in Angers as in many similar towns, is not ready to disappear. Even if the households have to pay more for their daily travels from home to work or school. Even if the city and villages around cannot afford anymore expenses in scholar transportations, garbage collects or setting up of electricity, water or gas networks.

The most common question everyone is asking is : where are the people who will live in these buildings? Because Angers is, as the mayor, Jean-Claude Antonini, stated it, in competition with other towns, the rescue could come from outside. With the implementation of a new railway section at the North of Angers which could shorten the travels time to Paris, maybe companies from Ile-de-France will experiment difficulties in their business because of the shortage of housing for their workforce. These real estate assets will be helpful to Angers to overcome a staggering of its population and of its economic development. Is the main question of 2011 will get an answer in 2012?