31 October, 2012

Angers cemeteries from stone to lawn

Credit Picture : Angers city
Few by few, silently, the Angers cemeteries borrow to the English graveyards their main caracteristic : lawns. This resuraction of green comes from the duty of the city to limit the use of pesticides in the maintenance of cemeteries. The massive use of pesticides during the 70's led that numerous undesirableplants became much more difficult to kill. Moreover, the presence of those substances in cemeteries made compulsory to reduce their access to the public. That became difficult during period like the Toussaint day when graveyards are overcrowded.

Credit Picture : Trees of memory (Pruillé)
Rather than fighting the botanic intruders, the Angers city now tries to make them disappear by sowing surfaces with grass seeds. "By covering the spaces with lawn or ground cover plants, we limit the appearance of undesirable species. And when, nevertheless, those grow despite everything, they integrate themselves in a vegetal environment in which their presence becomes less troublesome", explians Gilles Mahé, deputy-mayor in charge of environment and greens.

An Angers cemetery has, from its beginning chosen to cover its surface with lawns and trees : "The trees of memor" located near Angers which could be unique in France. On the Eastern cemetery, about 3 200 m2 have been sowed with grass seeds in  2012 in the place of paths and between gravestones. But to make more similar to gardens, the three Angers cemeteries will take a long time. They cover about 24 hectares. It will need more than a lifetime.

30 October, 2012

The remains of the last Plantagenet king of England, could come back to Angers rather than the Crown Jewels

If in Angers, the family name of "Plantagenet" has now disappeared from the news, in England the name of that Anjou dynasty who ruled the country from 1154 till 1485 is still on the front pages. In August, archeologists discovered under a car park located in Leicester the remains of a man who could have been Richard III, the last Plantagenet king of England, defeated and killed by his rival to the English crown, Henry VII. A reader of Angers Daily News in England, reports that the remains could be those of Richard III.

In spite of the fact the DNA test have not been yet completed, "early indications suggest that the remains may well be those of the king".  "There is some sign that he had scoliosis (and) one shoulder being slightly higher than the other", as demonstrated by historians, reports our correspondent. " In addition there is some indication of a break in the skull which does seem consistent with the story that Richard III fell from his horse at the battle of Bosworth and was clubbed to death". 
"A debate has now started as to where the bones of Richard III (if they are proved by DNA tests to be the true remains) should be buried. Some advocate they should go to York Minster, others prefer Leicester Cathedral, some prefer Westminster Abbey in London", reports the reader. who adds that "a spokesman for the Abney-Hastings family said that they would certainly support a claim that as Angevin the body should perhaps be returned to Angers Cathedral!"  
According to that one, "This has a much greater chance of success than the return of the Crown Jewels which in fact were destroyed by Oliver Cromwell some 200 years later. The existing crown jewels were given by Charles II. Come along Angers - just imagine the tourism that this burial would create!".

29 October, 2012

The change has yet to be done

If the Angers down town retail trade sector is not in great shape, the political offer looks itself a little bit ailing. A few weeks ago, the committee room of Luc Belot, socialist candidate to the French national assembly was buoyant. Votes had to be collected. So the candidate was tuned with the inhabitants of his constituency throughout the opening of its committee room. The electoral campaign is over now and the closure of the office may mean the representative doesn't need anymore to be connected with voters.

In the "store", everything has gone. The inside is absolutely empty. So empty that the vacuum is visible. On the front side, notice boards and posters calling people to give their votes to Mr. Belot have vanished, except the tagline banner at the top of the front side which still says (on Barack Obama's mood) : "The change : it's right now". But that change doesn't look very attractive and that is the point of view of pedestrians who stopped their walk in front of the former committee room to shot a picture, a little bit dumbfounded by the incongruity between the catch phrase and the condition of the store, by the discrepancy between the words and the facts.

It would have been more appropriate, more consistent, and simply more kind, for the former candidate to remove the tagline banner and the candidate's posters at the same time. But it was not the case. Why? Simple omission, indifference or Freudian slip? What does it mean? "Polls are over now : see you again in five years?". Representative and French president are not anymore on the same line? The first option would be shameful. The second looks unlikely. So what does it mean? The change (not only of occupant), it's right now and it could be a sobering experience.

28 October, 2012

Angers city council satisfies store owners about a free car parks first hour for end of year holidays

Credit picture Angers city
Finally, after several demon-strations of Angers store owners, the city council met, at least for a part, their expections. For weeks, these had asked permission to work on Sundays before end of year holidays and a less costly access to car parks for their customers throughout that period. If the first demand has been denied by Angers majority representatives, these nevertheless granted satisfaction to the second.

The town council will give a subsidy of about 16 000 € to the association of down town stores owners, Vitrines d'Angers. These will convert that money buying car park cheques for the customers of Angers stores. Then, all these could benefit from a no charged car park first hour. Regarding the first claim, the Angers city had promised a few weeks ago, along with the other cities members of Angers Loire métropole, to deny the right of opening on Sundays to store owners. That triggered wrath from the city council minority representatives who described the majority's decision as "reactionary".

The Angers retailers have nevertheless learnt that sales event will be organized in the city during the end of year holidays. A big whell will be set up on Lorraine square and a circus will take place in La Rochefoucauld square. Store owners just hope they will not experiment a lack of purchasers.

Letter from the editor

The article "Angers down town retail trade sector afraid of its future and of the town's future" published on October 22 led a reader of Angers Daily News, himself store owner, to express his fear that the end of the year animations of down town have not been already devised by the representative in charge. "I wonder about the management of that issue. We have been told that sales events are not yet completed and assessed. Christmas arrives in about a month and a half. That' s a little bit skimpy".

This store owner urges the Angers city council to reconsider its stance about "the opening of stores before Christmas, a no charged car park first hour and the access to the city hall car park closed on weekends". He recalls that Angers retailers "must be able to work all year long and not only three weeks". Adn thanks the reader for his comment.

27 October, 2012

Adverts of discounted prices in Angers down town stores may hide troubles and concerns for the future

Angers stores owners recently claimed that the economic conditions for running their business were deteriorating. A walk throughout down town streets may confirm their worries. In the main arteries of the city, some frontsides are covered by panels "for sale", "for rent" or "discounted prices before closure". If that would not be strange at the end of a commercial season (i.e. summer), the trend at least may raise questions from pedestrians. Lenepveu, Saint-Aubin, Röe, des Lices streets are among the Angers commercial ways affected by the disappearance of stores.

It seems that women clothes stores are the most hit by unfavorable conditions. Behind large adverts of clearance, female customers take benefit of items at discounted prices. These stores were designed for medium income customers who have decreased in most of French towns like Angers. The most intriguing in that situation is the privilegied locations of some of these shops without taker. At the corner of the Prefecture mall and des Lices street, a prime location is waiting for months (perhaps more than months) a new occupant. Some others, free for a long time, are now in works. 

It would not be impossible that Atoll, the "eco-commercial park" opened in April at West of Angers may explain some of the difficulties experimented in down town. Its owner, the Phalsbourg company, recently said that 3 millions visitors came since the opening. That number would be well above the forecasts but (curiously) the promotor has no figures about the global turnover. Some of the locations are still available and, as it was feared by Angers retail stores owners, the Phalsbourg company is now looking for a food superstore and a culture products brand. That are not news which will make the Angers down town retailers more comfortable.

26 October, 2012

Angers town council is fed up with day and night over drinking behaviours and damages

Angers city, one of the places of the French wine producing sector, distances itself from alcoholic drinking. The town council has just published a regulation preventing the consumption of alcoholic beverages in down town from 10 h 00 to 19 h 00 every day for a year. The most interesting part of the measure lays in its origins. The municipal regulation, passed on October 22nd, is due to "gatherings more and more important of persons [in the streets] with an overconsumption of alcoholic beverages [which] causes troubles to public order : altercations, sound nuisances, miscellaneous disturbances, broken glasses and soilings".

According to the mayor's bylaw, "these disturbances around Romain square and the Republic district come often from overconsumption of alcohol and threatens public peacefulness". These could have something to do with homeless persons sat on the pavements and squares who drink alcoholic beverages to warm themselves up. The phenomena indicates the increasing impoverishment of a part of Angers (young) population.

Recently, Angers has launched an initiative towards students regarding their own safety with binge drinkings. A few weeks ago the Angers mayor, Frédéric Beatse, had announced he would implement repressive measures in case of the continuation of incivilities (some of them caused injuries). And, more recently, down town store owners have complained about the loss of attractiveness of down town because ot its lack of cleanliness. In April 2001, the former mayor had already banned sales of alcohol in down town after 22 h 00.

25 October, 2012

The Point on the English side of Angers

The English universe of Angers, people and places, is getting itself talked about. The issue of the French weekly Le Point publishes this week an insert about the city whose the cover refers to "The English...". There is a British connection in the city which goes through places like the English Language Library in Angers, previously "The American Library" opened in 1993, or My favourite place, a tea room opened almost two years ago, in Angers down town.

Those are good evidences of the dynamism of the English community in Angers and the attractiveness of inhabitants for British civilization. The library located in Boisnet street recorded in 2011 a 15% increase of its members (more than 1 800 vs. less than 1 600 in 2010). And "the book sessions of the tea room attract numerous Angevins", says Mary Green, its owner, to Le Point. The English community of Angers has even founded a garden club (England is a nation of gardeners). In the surroundings of Angers, others use to gather for a lunch one time per week. The town council of Angers hosts Angers International Welcome, an institution dedicated to cater for new arrivals from abroad.

British citizens do not look uprooted. "In Angers, English people are very busy and, above all, they love to make themselves useful", says Phoebe Marshall-Raimbeau, manager of the Library. British Airways opened a few months ago a route from Angers to London which is not talked about in the medias. For Le Point, "the Angevins have English blood and made it known to United Kingdom", claiming the restitution of the British crown jewels to their city. In the absence of English blood they have at least the English sense of humor.

24 October, 2012

A petition for "citizen primaries" inside left must convince first

The team of Angers inhabitants claiming the organization of primaries to select, inside the majority of the city council, the candidate who will face the challenger of the minority, is far from having convinced supporters. After they suggested that it would be wise, and fair, to have such primaries elections between the two candidates, in the majority left side of town council, Frédéric Béatse, present mayor, and Jean-Luc Rotureau, his challenger, they launched at mid october a petition.

Credits : http://www.facebook.com/municipales.Angers.2014
But that one has not (yet?) convinced a lot of people. About 115 persons registered their names on the website. Under the (a little bit overused and prepos-terous) title, the signatories demand the organization of "citizen primaries" (as if the official poll was not "citizen" itself) in order to give to the candidate "an "indisputable legitimacy", open critic about the present mayor who took office after the resignation of Jean-Claude Antonini, former Angers mayor, this year. 

But is such a project tuned with the present worries of Angers population recently informed about an important increase of unemployment, more than 5% in a single month (september)? Moreover, some of the signatories are, or were, or will be involved in the policital game of Angers :  among them, the senator Corinne Bouchoux, the former municipal representative Sophie Briand-Boucher who left her charge because she didn't "swallowed" the way the present mayor was choosen and (n° 76) Mr Rotureau himself. So the "citizen primaries" could be charged to smell the setttling of scores. Above all, the idea would not be considered favorably by the French socialist party Mr Béatse is an influent member.

23 October, 2012

Angers city wants its inhabitants to take more care of food

Indication of the deterioration of the local economic context? Angers city took recently two initiatives regarding the food habit of the inhabitants. First, the town council launched a campaign against the food wasting. Angers want to catch the attention of the public to the issue through hustle and bustle in open air markets, exhibitions and even lectures in schools. According to national studies, a French household throws away food for an amount of 175 € per year.

That figure does not include the wastes coming from the professionnals, i.e. agricultural products directly thrown away without the stage of the stalls in stores. At the same time, the Centre communal d'action sociale, an authority set up by the Angers town council towards low income publics, enlarges another campaign : the "united string bags". 

Designed to retrieve the unsold food items at the Marché d'intérêt national of Angers and to resell them at a price correlated to the resources of the families, the operation will be deployed to six Angers districts in 2012 and more next year. While food becomes more costly along the years, would be more numerous the Angers inhabitants facing difficulties fo food themselves properly? The worsening of daily conditions for humble persons is not yet overcame. (Credit pictures : Jardins de cocagne, Ccas of Angers and French ministry of agriculture)

22 October, 2012

The Angers down town retail trade sector afraid of its future, and of the town's future

The store owners of Angers down town do not desarm. Saturday in spite of the rain, a delegation gathered on Ralliement square and delivered a message imprinted of concern for themselves but also, what is new, for the city. After an appeal to other retailers, but also employees of the Angers retail trade and inhabitants, their spokesperson warned about the deterioration of the local economic conditions and, with more shades, what is new too, of the Angers city policy.

First, they established a clear link between their own problems (many of them get the minimum wage in spite of the number of hours they dedicate to their business) and the general climate. "At the time of a difficult context of companies closures which toss out employees, we have some difficulties to understand why our city council is static and why it buries its head in the sand", pointing out they noticed "dreadly the deterioration of the city and of the retail stores standing".

Apparently, specific claims of the Angers retail trade sector have not been mentionned like the openings on Sundays during the end of the year holidays and the increase of car parks fares. But, these statements indicate that the Angers retail trade economy is starting to experiment difficulties and foresees a dark future. If the Angers mayor "is not to blame for everything", the demonstrators urged him to quickly implement solutions wihtout saying what these could be.

21 October, 2012

The erotic novel "Fifty shades of grey" made a stuning start in the Angers bookstores

The news doesn't make Angers a specific case in France. But it doesn't make Angers a different city in France. The English erotic novel "Fifty shades or grey", in spite of critics, is a huge success in France and in Angers. The book in three volumes (the 2nd and 3rd are titled "Fifty shades darker" and "Fifty shades freed") "traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate and a young business magnate". The story is "notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual pratices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism".

According to some Angers booksellers, "Fifty shades of grey" made a stunning entry. "The book is doing great" in Angers, comments a city bookseller while one of his colleagues notices that the success exists in spite of a"teasing campaign relatively short". About 550 000 copies have been printed since the book arrived in France a week ago and 350 000 are already available in stores. Critics have not always been good for the book : the characters have no personality, the style is bleak and regarding sex, there is better elsewhere.

In Angers, some news coverages are not favourable and even disparage the purchasers. One of them harshly criticizes the novel and its readers through the title "The porno of housewives". These will appreciate... Why the Angers houswives should remain desperate?

20 October, 2012

Angers primaries : left is not all right

Frédéric Béatse
The debate about the interest to organize primaries inside the socialist majority of Angers municipal council is, maybe, already over. After the recent appeal of some Angers inhabitants in favor of a poll between the two socialist candidates to the function of mayor, Frédéric Beatse, present holder, and Jean-Luc Rotureau, his challenger, the French socialist party indicated that a decision in favor of such a scheme is far from being taken.

Jean-Luc Rotureau
There is a real danger for the left side to loose the municipal polls of 2014 in Angers if one of the candidates aforementioned doesn't withdraw his candidacy in spite of a defeat after the primaries. This is not impossible because the conditions of the accession of Mr Béatse to the function of mayor have deeply divided sympathizers inside the Angers left side. And it's not sure, even if the defeated candidate at the primaries gives up, that his voters will grant their votes in favor of the winner. If such an hypothesis comes true, the danger for the left to be defeated by the right is not theoretical.

Christophe Béchu
In the 2008 municipal elections, the left, at that time led by Jean-Claude Antonini, previous mayor who dismissed in 2012 and set up Frédéric Béatse the mayor position, won with a narrow margin over Christophe Béchu, right. If that one retains or even increases his influence among inhabitants, and if the left side is divided by internal primaries at the polling day, the city could then swing over from the left to the right. This could not be the scheme of the socialist party... This debate on the left side recalls another one inside the national right side between the former prime minister, François Fillon and the leader of the previous majority party, Jean-François Copé. The Angers present debate could make the left similar to the right. And maybe such an issue is out of tune with present economic worries of many Angers inhabitants.

19 October, 2012

Offers of job in Canada and Australia welcomed with contempt by Angers Technicolor employees

The news, published on Tuesday in the Angers medias, looks to outrage editors. Though, what was disgraceful in the offers of redeployment sent to former employees of Angers Technicolor factory? These apply, not only to French sites of the group, but to foreign countries where Technicolor has subsidiaries : "Poland, Australia, Canada, Thaïland, Vietnam", writes a local daily newspaper adding three laconic points : "...". 

If such offers of job in foreign countries presuppose important changes in life for employees who would agreee, was it appropriate to title under the catcher "The sentence of the day" : the statement of a Technicolor employee : "I saw a job in Thaïland? Do you see me going there? For holidays, I'm ok".
Above the preposterous tune of the statement, that one looks completly wrong regarding the kind of life people may face in Canada and Australia which are Western countries and where unemployment is much more lower than in France : 7% in Canada at the end of 2011, 5% in Australia and 10% in France...

Credit Picture : Technicolor Australia
It is sure that, in simply mailing these offers by post, Technicolor only succeeded to disparage them (it would have been wiser to gather the employees first). On the other hand, these opinions, and moreover, their reproduction crossbred with contempt in newspapers, traduce maybe an ignorance about foreign reality and above all, an overestimation of the competitiveness of the social and economic French model.

18 October, 2012

Technicolor employees in the middle of a battle between government, France Telecom and their heaquarters

In the failure of the takeover procedure of Angers Technicolor, who is responsible? The government, through its minister of Numerical economy, Fleur Pellerin, who claimed, when she came in Angers to inaugurate the new Eseo campus, that a contract for the manufacture in Angers of decoders has been signed between France Telecom and Technicolor and that this contract has been broke by Technicolor France? Or, is it France Telecom, noticing that Technicolor would not be able to produce the decoders in time, which broke the contract and gave the workload to Sagem?
The employees says they are not able "to tell fact from fiction"? But,"in the end, it's the Angers employees who will pay the price while they could manufacture decoders for a company in which the French state has 27% of the capital stock", say the angers trade-unions.
The minister's arguments are called into question by those. Why could be the interest of Technicolor to break a one year contract? Moreover, if the deadline was so important, why Sagen has not yet produce the item? One of the trade unions leaders, Odile Coquereau, accuse the government to protect France Telecom. During that time, Angers employees of Technicolor demonstrated under a heavy rain in town among colleagues of other local companies.

17 October, 2012

The Angers city will not allow stores to open on Sundays before Christmas

The negative trends in the Angers economy have, maybe, not yet be understood by local representatives. In a series of meetings with inhabitants of the Lac de Maine district, and among them stores owners, the Angers mayor, Frédéric Beatse, announced that not a single mayor of Angers Loire Métropole authority will grant authorization for shops to work on the last Sunday before Christmas. 

It's not sure such a decision will please store owners of Angers down town who will demonstrate once again on Tuesday against the city policy regarding shops. The opening of stores during the no working days of the end of year holidays is one of their claims. It would be consistent that, at the same period, the city decides that wooden huts set up during the same period be closed too. But that would perhaps reduce the interest to get from town hall a (charged) place in down town streets.

The Sundays before Christmas are "an auspicious period for shops" said recently the president of their association, Fabien Rebours. "The wooden huts rent by the town are authorized to open but at the same time the store owners have not that right. This is unfair competition. We ask fairness for all, the same rule for all". Such a demand, for a few days per year, will contribute to the vitality of Angers down town, an issue which certainly interests the mayor.

16 October, 2012

Political concerns for 2014 Angers polls risk to be out of step with present economic worries

The slow approach of the 2014 municipal polls start to worry people and politicians, both from the right and the left sides. The potential candidates to head Angers town hall may have been themselves surprised by some initiatives. 

Credit Picture Angers city
On the right side, Christophe Béchu, present president (Ump) of the Conseil général de Maine-et-Loire, has clearly expressed his disagreement and even his bitterness after Jean-François Copé, a proeminent character of French politics, announced that Mr. Béchu will be candidate to Angers town hall. On the left side, the present Angers mayor, Frédéric Beatse, discovered that week that some left personalities of Angers, and among them a Maine-et-Loire senator, launched an appeal for primaries between himself and his contender, Jean-Luc Rotureau. 

It's not sure such initiatives are really well-timed given the economic difficulties Angers inhabitants are facing. With the closure of Technicolor, a page of economic history of Angers is turning over. Recently, the statistics disclosed a worrying trend of unemployment in the city : 9,3% of the persons able to work in the city are jobless. The store owners of down town announced a new demonstration against the deterioration of their business because of town hall initiatives, what could be linked to a new slowdown of households expenses. Are Angers inhabitants already interested by 2014 elections?

15 October, 2012

Angers Technicolor : smoke of distress

In spite of the liquidation of their Angevine company pronounced last week by a bankruptcy court of Ile-de-France, the Technicolor employees are still in the factory hanging themselves on what will be soon their past. In front of the factory entrance, technicians wearing their white overall are seating around a fire of pallets, symbol of the burning anger of all the Angers staff. 

The higly visible smoke and the iron fences closing the Birgé boulevard on which a portrait of the Technicolor chairman is displayed are the clear signs that something has turned wrong in the long adjusted lifetime of work of these men and women. Inside the factory, the atmosphere, while less visible, is even more pathetic.

Some offices are desert with only a desk and empty chairs facing each others. Shelves formerly filled with reports, documents and listings are already empty. The identities of their former and last occupants are still on the doors. All of them left their office clean and in order, still motivated by a moral duty and the will to let behind them the souvenir of people caring their job. In other rooms, computers are still ligthed and a few papers give the idea there is yet work to do. In other offices, some technicians are still in place, working as if nothing has occured, as if they wanted to take, for an ultimate time, what will be soon their past forever disappeared.

On the floors of stages, sheets with graphs and figures display statistics people don't pay attention. Some of these informations already break away and will soon fall on the ground as dead leaves passers-by will walk on. More surprising, some technicians record their presence to the timekeepers of the factory as they had to do it like "before". The temperature is low. In the first chilly days of the season, the factory is not heated. The doors are opened, leaving a cold wind grabing the place. Within a few weeks, the dry air will invade the long and deserted corridors of the Technicolor factory. All lifetime of work will be gone with the wind.

14 October, 2012

Angers town hall vomits over-drinking behaviours among students

The alcohol consumption among students still catches the attention of Angers city. That one, with 33 000 students, about one person out of five, has had to deal in the  past with the consequences of students parties on nocturnal calmness of town for its inhabitants. The measures it recently took point out that Angers representatives are also worried by the consequences of over-drinking for students themselves. If on October 10th, about 30 students associations signed an agreement in favor of more calm parties, the text also tries to inform young people to risky behaviours.

In different campuses of the city, kits of alcool prevention have been distributed. Those, made up thank a cooperation between town hall, students mutual insurance companies, unviersitarian preventive medical department, students associations, include men and female condoms dedicated to warn people about the risks of unsafe, even suffered, sexual relations, and documents about dangerous situations coming from over-drinking. All these items are gathered in a sick bag.

On November, that initiative will be accompanied by a video competition opened to people from 15 to 30 years old. In order to introduce its initiative to students, Angers city had used a theatre company who performed sketches in the different campuses of Angers university.

13 October, 2012

Hundreds of Angers dancers for a flash mob in front of the Grand Théâtre

The bleak sky which covered Angers city on Saturday afternoon didn't dissuade five hundred or so dancers to gather in Ralliement square for a Nrj flash mod announced on You Tube a few days ago. The forecourt in front of the Grand Théâtre was the floor for a Gangnam style dance whose sequences were described by the radio channel on internet. The phenomena apparently attracted young boys and girls from very different social classes, some of the girls put in fancy dress, like a sexy nurse uniform, for the event. 

A flash mob is "a group of people who assemble suddenly in a place, perform an unusual and seemingly pointless act for a brief time, then disperse, often for the purposes of entertainment, satire, and artistic expression", indicates Wikipedia. The Angers Nrj flash mob was organized via Facebook. The topic of the Angers dance had someting to do with horse universe because people were due to move as if they were riding horse with a lasso. But dancers didn't respected closely the intructions of the organizers most of them waving arms as if they were demontrating.

 What looks amusing for an observer (who doesn't dance) is that the piquancy of the event comes both from people who dance and people who look at dancers. If the adults present on the square were apparently amused by the sequence, some elders persons looked more dumbfounded...

An English visitor expresses his trouble regarding the lack of cleanliness of Angers down town

The Adn post "Angers down town inhabitants complain about unbearable conditions" published on October 8th led an English reader to react. "What a horrifying piece of editorial", he wrote. " A friend of mine works in France at least twice a month, and knowing my interest in the area around Angers he stayed in the city last week for a couple of nights". That foreign follower "spoke with (his friend) and (that one) was quite embarrased to tell that he felt that the City was very dirty".

But that lack of cleanliness was not his unique trouble. Because of "his obvious Englishness", he triggered unvoluntarily "load and abusive comments" by "a group of yobs" walking around down town. Nevertheless writes the English reader of Adn, "I am encouraging friends to visit Angers". "But, he concludes, please tell M. Beatse (the Angers mayor) that he must do something as tourism should be actively encouraged for strong economic reasons".

12 October, 2012

The quiet Angers at fast-forward speed

"Let us turn to the Angevine Hour" are two curious short videos recently introduced on the Angers city website. The two movies describe in fast-forward speed the pace of a city mostly considered as a quiet (and sometimes, a little bit lazy "person") on early morning and at lunch-time. The two short pieces, accompanied by a mind-blowing music were directed by Angers town hall. Both are inspired by the atmosphere of the city when "she" is taking an autumnal aspect. 

"Good morning Angers", the first video shots mainly two illustrative places of the city : the maine River viewed from the Bout du monde walkway. The river remains a kind of vital arteria. As the sun is rising, animation around the river appears : a bakery opening its frontside, the cars traffic starting to accelerate. And the Maine itself gets rid of veils of fog like a lady who would leave a four poster bade opening thin curtains. The second emblematic place, the Ralliement square is the stage of the daily set-up of terraces preparing to welcome customers.

"Angers lunch time" is the following sequence and it starts where the previous one has ended, on Ralliement square. After the increase of pedestrians and bikers, the camera goes in the Toussaint library where it's so nice to read close to the Fine-Arts Museum garden. Then the video stages the trolley which, at the fast-forward speed, slips and squeezes throughout down town. After a little walk at an open air market which whet inhabitants appetite, it's time for a quick but tempting lunch. 

Others episodes should be waited by Angers lovers because nice moments in Angers daily life remain to be staged.

11 October, 2012

Technicolor : black screen

Since the jugment of the Nanterre bankrupcy court on Thursday, Technicolor, previously Thomson, belongs to the industry past of Angers. About 350 employees, most of them in the factory for numerous years, find themselves without job. And the end of a gloomy day for them and the Angers city whose Technicolor was an industrial symbol, silence and dark hung over the factory : the car park was empty, the doors closed and, except two red fashing lights looking to a medical alarm, the frontside without lights...

A back banner has been set up along the fences of the factory : "plot of land for sale". That one has already buyers : Angers city and Angers Loire Métropole which want to maintain to the place its industrial purpose. That will not be easy because the loss of competitiveness of the site is largely due to careless national measures, and first of all the preposterous reduction of the work time whose Technicolor employees foot the bill. 

It is possible that Technicolor has organized the liquidation of its last industrial site in Europe because consumers of tv decoders want lower prices. But it is also sure that the French state, which owns about 27% of the capital stock of Technicolor, was unable to ensure a workload to Angers Technicolor to overcome the necessary period for a possible takeover. That demonstrates that Angers must think about the local ways to recover from such a disaster.

10 October, 2012

The Angers local authorities announce they will buy the Technicolor site

Even though the Nanterre bankcupcy court has not yet returned a verdict about the liquidation of the Angers Technicolor factory, Angers Loire Métropole and Angers city have announced they will buy the site and the production facilities. Their aim, officialy passed on the Nanterre tribunal, is to keep the area available for every new industrial project.

This is a good idea even if, in the difficult economic period Angers is brought face to face, a single or several industrial projects could hardly need all the surfaces of the Technicolor site. The surface of the buildings has a total of 70 000 square metres while the industrial site covers 13,5 hectares. Is a development of industrial activities economically conceivable? Is it technically feasible (if the grounds are polluted, they will have to be cleaned out and the two local authorities will have to finance the cost given the site will be their own)? And is it desirable because the Technicolor area is now surrounded by collective and individual homes?

Desjardins district
Probably a part of the area could be converted from activities to housing. While the costs of fuel is soaring, many people think it would be wise for them to live not too far from the places where they work. Angers is involved in the development of sustainable districts (Les Hauts de Saint-Aubin or Desjardins), has the implementation of a similar district in the Technicolor area already be considered? Property taxes and housing taxes could possibly compensate the disappearance of the revenues generated by Technicolor. Maybe have the Angers authorities already thought about it? 

09 October, 2012

Angers city will have to learn from the Technicolor end of story

After Continental, Nec, Act, Angers should face in the days to come a symbolic disappearance : the closure of Thomson, the jewel of the industrialization of the city during the 50's. Having employed till 3 500 persons to the manufacture of tv sets, the factory will lay off its last 350 technicians. If that sad event has something to do with the madness of the time work reduction law which, since 15 years, drove uncompetitive dozens of companies and thousands of employees all over Angers, it is now desirable that the city learns lessons from that event. 

The first is there are no employees without employers. And, in that way, the opinion of an Angers real-estate agent a few weeks ago was right : Angers doesn't lack housing, it lacks companies. If the quality of life in the city comes from public facilities (a giant swimming pool, new banks along the river, a new congress center...), this is not sufficient. Inhabitants need jobs, so employers. But are the conditions gathered in Angers to fuel new companies? Here is the second lesson. A few years ago, the companies have to finance a large part of the first trolley line. How will the city do to finance a new one? Few by few, all these expenses financed by private companies increase the overall cost of work and makes other workers, even with low qualifications, in other countries, more competitive... In the Technicolor case, it is not sufficiently said that all to work load is leaving Angers to Manaus (Brazil)...

A few weeks ago, all the cities members of the Angers Loire Métropole launched a "battle for jobs". Its chairman, Jean-Claude Antonini was proud of "a common will to take part to the return of growth" in Angers. All the conditions are now gathered to implement that policy.