30 November, 2012

Christmas time at Ralliement square

The strings of fairy lights had been set up almost a month ago in the Angers down town streets. For several weeks, stores front sides had their tinsels, their fir trees and of course their snow of cellulose. But something was missing. Something as compulsory as the red hats children will wear till the end of the year. The Christmas village has deployed its wooden huts (opened on Sundays...) in the core of the city.

Instantaneously, the Christmas atmosphere is back and, with it, the sweet bouquet of the hot wine with cinnamon people love to savour gathered around a red barrel. About thirty chalet style houses have warmed, but not sufficiently, the icy and coulourless Ralliement square whose the trolley is now, for the rest of the year, the unique source of excitement. Cakes, wines, cheeses or hats, gloves, sweaters or candles, Christmas crib figures and other decorations are now waiting people who have always been filled with wonder for Christmas atmosphere.

Even if the weather is not yet the coldest of the year, people have already started to taste the hot wines as if it was a "Beaujolais nouveau". The first pictures of girls with red night cap have started to be shot. The merry-go-round welcomes already its first children. The huge Christmas tree is the only element lacking in the setting. The paths between the wooden huts give to the village the look of the craddle. That is not unusual. Everybody is back to childhood during Chrismas time.

29 November, 2012

Arena, the second commercial park of Angers turns to a food superstore instead of a cinema complex

Change could be on the way in the superstores landscape of Angers. The managers of the Arena commercial park located at the South of the city have just annouced that the Megarama, a cinema complex, whose opening had been rejected by the Commission nationale d'équipement commercial (Cnac) last may, would be replaced by a food superstore. But the presence of that food superstore in the South commercial park of Angers could lead the North-West commercial park, Atoll, to ask the installation of its own food superstore.

Arena (Credit Picture : Faubourg du commerce)
That would not be favourable to several superstores already opened in Angers and to the down town retail trade because for many households, food purchases and clothes or multimedias shopping are done at the same time. The opening of a new food superstore at Arena would make that park less original and weaken its attractivity. What could the managers do in order to gain new customers?

One of the possibility would be to enlarge the schedules of opening, eventually on Sundays. But, till now, local as well as national authorities (Angers Loire Métropole, the prefecture) or trade unions have rejected such an evolution. And it is not sure the retail store owners of Angers would be able to follow the rythm. It is not unlikely that the company running Arena begins to find that the time of completion of its original project is too long (€ 40 millions have been invested). Time is running out because Arena was due to open in 2012.

28 November, 2012

The purchase at Sotheby's auctions of a XVIIIth painting puts Angers in unexpected perspective

Credit Picture : Sotheby's
The recent purchase by Angers city at Sotheby's auctions of a French classic painting could be considered as a strange idea by some local communities involved in the assistance towards the most humble inhabitants. The master work, "L'amour à l'espagnole", was painted in 1773 by Jean-Baptiste Leprince, a French artist who was a leading student of the great painter François Boucher. The painting doesn't depict the former Angers landscapes or inhabitants. 

It has been bought € 240 750 on November 12 by Angers city and several other public authorities. The only link with Angers of "L'auberge à l'espagnole" (representing a sleeping woman who a young man is attempting to wake with his guitar) is to have been part a collection of master works gathered by Pierre-Louis Eveillard de Livois, an Angers antiques collector of the XVIIIth century, whose belongings were seized by the Revolution française.

Wikipedia : Angers Museum of Fine Arts
While the city and its inhabitants face an economic crisis which led public authorities, private companies and of course households  to restrain their lifestyle, such a purchase could be considered a little bit luxurious. In difficult economic circumstances, choices - even symbolic - have to made up. That choice to buy a painting (not disclosed by the Angers city website), whatever be its interest, mays raise questions. 

Every day, signs of a growing poverty appear : more an more inhabitants are eligible to a social housing, caritative communities, like recently Les restaurants du coeur, notice an important increase of low income or even penniless families. Lamour à l'espagnole will be displayed next year at the Angers museum of fine arts, returning to the place it was more than 200 years ago. Its contemplation will envetually warm the mood of inhabitants but some of them will think that in difficult times, the first thing one do is not to buy a painting. 

27 November, 2012

A possible issue of next Angers municipal polls comes out

The right contender for the municipal ballots of 2014, Christophe Béchu, would prefer to go without the increase of taxes he will probably decide next year at the Conseil général de Maine-et-Loire. The situation is clear. If, apparently, 2012 resources (492 millions €) are more important than expenses (440 millions €), those do not include the debt (the capital borrowed and the interets), two figures not disclosed by Angers medias. In 2012, 53 millions euros were due to be borrowed. Without that new loan, the overall amount borrowed by the authority over the years totals up 430 millions €.

One of the way to reduce the gap between resources and expenses consists in the decrease of the debt year after year : from 70 millions € in 2012, to 60 millions in 2013 then 50 millions in 2014. But "that is not in keeping with the projets of the Département", indicates the authority website. So, unless an increase of the subsidies from the state, the conseil général will have no other way but to increase its revenues, what involves the increase of... taxes.

Hopefully for Mr Bechu, one of his possible competitors for the Angers municipal ballots of 2014, Jean-Luc Rotureau, member of the Conseil général and deputy-mayor of Angers, does not seem to have something better to offer. But, for him, the most important is not to get a brilliant idea, but to have something to criticize, just at the right moment, to his possible opponent. So what is financially at stake at the Conseil général is politically very important at Angers city hall.

26 November, 2012

The Angers political centre is on the back

Laurent Gérault, former spokesperson of the opposition in the Angers city council, recently fired by his fellow town councillors, is anymore seated of the front row, but in the third, and the last, in the hall of the municipal meetings in Angers town hall. That position is made more uncomfortable because of the identity of his closer neighbour.

This one is Bernadette Caillard-Humeau, herself former deputy mayor of the previous mayor, Jean-Claude Antonini. Both, in the past were allied. Their relationship ended when Mrs Caillard-Humeau choose, in the 2008 municipal polls, to leave the leader of the center-right list in which Mr Gerault was himself a member. She decided to join the socialist majority and was given huge responsabilities (and "the sunny office" she wished to get as reward for her rallying). But problems of misconduct led her outside the majority camp and from her office. 

Mr Gérault didn't got a similar office at town hall but recently choose to join the new Union des démocrates indépendants set up nationaly and which aims at supporting candidates to the next municipal elections of 2014. That was not appreciated, but not at all, by his former colleagues of the minority at Angers town hall. They support Christophe Béchu, the future rival of the Angers left political side for the next ballots. 

Mrs Caillard-Humeau and Mr Gérault, former allied, then adversaries, are now companions in misfortune. Two town councillors don't make a party. They are not partners for all that.

25 November, 2012

Agression for a French song in Australia, a Us head of the "Catho" puts things in (another) perspective

Angers printed medias largely reported the verbal agression whose a young French woman was recently victim because she song in French during a travel she made by bus in Australia. That event led Le Courrier de l'Ouest to ask to John Webb, deputy chairman of the Université catholique de l'Ouest (Uco), in charge of international relations (himself American citizen) his point of view. Mr Webb, native of an English speaking country, answered that he had already been criticized in France for talks he had in English. "In France, we must speak French" was the critic he heard. Hopefully John Webb didn't say that he was threatened the same way of the young French student in Australia.

Nevertheless, that reaction from (probably) French people in France (or in Angers?) about the use of English raises questions. Hitherto, French people don't criticize foreign people coming (temporarily or definitely) in France from very different countries (Asian, African or European) to speak their mother language. So, according to Mr Webb statement, the critics he heard were not triggered by the use of a foreign language, but because that foreign language was English.

France behaviour has always been ambivalent towards English. That behaviour is mixed both by admiration and repulsion. In Angers, many stores front sides use English words (an example is presenty by Texto, a store located in Lenepveu street). English classes delivered at the Institut municipal or Université du temps libre are overcrowded... But these are not isolated examples. And at the same time, French, who are legitimately pround of their language, have the feeling they are colonized by English. Are French masochists?

The Confédération française des travailleurs chrétiens does its shopping in a Muslim place

The Monplaisir open air market is a symbol of the miscegenation of Angers population. The passer-by of Angers stock as well as the pedlars mix with persons come from Northern as well as Eastern and Central Africa. Others are native of Eastern Europa or Asia. But people come from Arab speaking countries are, from far, the most numerous. Most of them live in Monplaisir district. 

A newcomer was highly visible on Sunday : the Confédération française des travailleurs chrétiens (Cftc) looking for supports for the next elections of employees representatives in the very small companies due to take place from November 28th to December 12th.. Because most of the onlookers walking throughout the open air market were Arab speaking persons, the Angers Cftc section had affixed in a stand enlived by blue flags declaration of faith written in Arabic next to others in French.

But most of the people walking throughout the Monplaisir open air market are also muslims. With that stand in the middle of that arabic and, from time to time, muslim atmosphere (some stalls next to the Cftc stand were also selling books about Islam or clothes symbolizing the Muslim religion as headscarfs), the Cftc illustrates that the difference of religion has not to prevent it from recruiting in members of muslim faith. The opposite is (maybe) possible but on that Sunday, the only list people had in mind was the shopping list!

The prohibition of opening on Sundays justified by debatable arguments

The idea of the opening of Angers down town stores looks to butt against the opinion of the president of the Angers Loire Metropole authority, according to the reports of several local medias. The last reason he points out has to do with the level of life of Angers inhabitants : their purchasing power. According to some recent statements of Mr Antonini, his opinion is shared by many other persons, there is not interest for store owners to open on the last Sundays of the year because local custumers will not buy more.

This is not sure. If it was the case, why are the mobile wooden hut st up on Ralliement square as well as nerby streets opened? If it was the case, why will the giant whhel recently set up on the Alsace Lorraine square be opened on Sundays? If there is no purchasing power on Sundays, why are others merry-go-round authorized to work on Sundays. It would be therefore consistent even to limit a little bit more the schedules for opening because such a shrinking could increase the purchasing power. Will the store onwers have to rent wooden huts too?

Another argument of the Alm president used to probihibit the opening on Sundays is that day must be dedicated to rest and family life. So, why are the Angers restaurants opened on Sundays? If the family life needs to be protected for someone, it deserves to be protected for everyone. Mr Antonini's stance was maybe justified when the country had growth. But is it appropriate now?

23 November, 2012

New surge of the debate for an opening of down town stores before Christmas

The issue of an opening of Angers down town stores on the Sundays of the end of year holidays is dividing the city retail shop owners and town hall. A few days ago, the Angers mayor made a move towards the stores owners adding a free hour of parking in several car parks of the city. While the conflict between store owners and town hall seemed to be eased, the professionnal organizations of retail trade of Angers demanded to get the right to work during those Sundays of December which are for many of them very important for their annual turnover.

The prohibition to open on Sundays was decided a few weeks ago by the mayors members of Angers Loire Métropole. That stance regarding that specific period looks unclear. More than a year ago, a similar question had opposed the mayors to an E. Leclerc superstore which had decided to open all Sunday mornings. At that time, the public authority got the end of that use, claiming that Sundays had to be dedicated to family life. That is also the opinion of local trade unions. But none of them explained why they were able to decide what was good or bad to do for famililes on Sundays.

The representatives of the retail trade point out that in other cities of the Maine-et-Loire, stores will have the right to open and that, in Angers, the wooden hut setp up at Ralliement square and Atoll would be authorized to work. "This is discriminatory", complains Zohra Gallard, president of one of those organizations while a member of the Chambre de commerce et d'industrie notices that "town hall spends money for more hustle and bustle in Angers and, at the same time, deny to store owner the right to open! ". For the president of Angers store owners, Fabien Rebours, "the city needs a living city center all year long". So the debate is not closed. Even on Sundays! (Credit pictures Angers city and Vitrines d'Angers)

High increase of unemployment in Angers during the second quarter of 2012

The statistics of unemployment will not give trust to Angers inhabitants regarding next year. The latest figures published by the Pôle-Emploi agency of Angers notices an increase of the unemployment rate from 8.8% at the second quarter of  2011 to 9.4% one year later. Angers city, few by few, gets closer to the national average. Within the limits of Angers Loire Métropole, about 23 000 persons are jobless. 
According to local observers, those figures could worsening in the months to come given the closure of Angers Technicolor and its impact on sub-contrators. Among the most affected categories are the elder employees and he women. The turnover of companies looks also depressed because the number of temporary workers is declining (-9%) between July 2011 and July 2012.

If, of course, the present mood will be focused on Christmas and the end of the year during next weeks, the beginning of 2013 could be a little bit sobering. An soon or later, candidates for the municipal elections will have to do some proposals to get the city out of difficulties.

21 November, 2012

Channel your Angers

Angers city has stood up for its project of a new tv channel on November 21st in front of the French Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (Csa). The cause of the new local station was pleaded by the Angers mayor, Frédéric Beatse. If that one had indications to give to the persons he was talking to, regarding the investors, the organization of the team managing the future tv channel and its positioning with Angers city, nothing has been disclosed, till now, about the content of the channel.

Mr Beatse nevertheless revealed what Angers tv will not be : the voice of the mayor. "It will not be my channel", he said promising to set up an ethic committee entrusted to ensure that independance of the structure face to the town will not be endangered. That is patently obvious given that a tv channel in the hands of politicians would not last long. The leaders of the opposition in Angers town council are doubtful about that independance and attempt to sow their trouble. But will such the assurance given by Mr Béatse be sufficient? 

Crédit Picture : Csa
 It is not sure. Nothing has been disclosed about what the Angers inhabitants will watch from March 1st. So the managers of the project have three months ahead to imagine the programmes, their schedules and their costs. Angers experienced two channels, Tv 10 and Angers 7 which were both liquidated. Has any teaching already got from those previous failures? Up to now, the future tv looks more wished by the institutions than the Angers public.

20 November, 2012

The Russian pianist Nicolaï Lugansky gave to the Angers audience the "measure" of his talent

One of the most famous pianists all over the world, the Russian Nicolaï Lugansky, performed in the Grand Théâtre d'Angers on November 20th for an exceptionnal concert organized by the Angers Société des concerts populaires. Janacek, Schubert and Rachmaninoff were on the programme of that Musical Tuesday and gathered numerous public, in which, many young members. The Grand Théâtre is the perfect place for those classical programmes because its old-fashioned charm and the warmth of its style are themselves an invitation to an intellectual pleasure. 

Lugansky is typical of these great Russian pianists : cold, distant and even stiff in his deportment, he only delivers his feelings through a incredible playing, alternately soft and brutal, both full of poesy and technique. During the first part of the concert, the Angers audience listened a work of Janacek, a Czech composer of whom Lugansky played "In the mist". The pianistic master work evokes the Eastern landscapes : their mystery and also the warmth of their atmosphere. In the Schubert Impromptus, Lugansky perfectly expressed both the the melancholy of the composer sometimes punctuated by michievous passages which delighted the audience.

But it's in the repertoire of the Russian composer Sergueï Rachmaninov that Lugansky gives the full extent of his art and of his mastery. The first sonata was the ideal field to deliver to the Angers audience the intensity of the Russian music played by a Russian. Warmly applaused, after that real symphony for piano, Luganski choose, and he was asked, to perform again this composer with two of his preludes. Lugansky, who received several world awards for his interpretation of that composer has given to the Angers music lovers a real travel inside the Russian soul.

19 November, 2012

Angers city get drunk on rights

The slogan looks already has been. Twenty years old. "Angers Mix'Cité : a day to become rich with our differences" is the headline of a gathering, December 1st, in Le Quai theatre, which will surely be as pompous as useless. "That will be a time of exchange views, debates and organized activities to promote a better understanding of the other", declares Sylvia Camara-Tombini, deputy mayor in charge of diversity, participative democracy, youth, town policy and decentralized cooperation. Phew!

Credit Picture : Angers city
Pomposity in the announ-cement of the event in which participants will launch attacks against discrimi-nation aspects "so many walls of a fortress to bring down", writes the Angers city website in clear reference to the storming of the Bastille. My goodness, the revolution is going to break out in Angers! More than 100 do-gooder associations will stand in their dignity for widows and orphans all over the world proclaiming universal rights where daily qualities, formerly French caracteristics, would be sufficient or perhaps necessary

It is of course much more easy to go on about intoxicating abstractions rather than to remind to many inhabitants the basic principles of the living together : cleanliness of the streets, night silence, temperance... But those are not rights, but duties. Oh sorry!

18 November, 2012

Members of Ump Angers look to have given priority to unity over divisions on election day

As 300 000 members of the Union pour la majorité présidentielle (Ump), the Maine-et-Loire supporters voted on November 18th for the future president of the movement : François Fillon, former prime minister of Nicolas sarkozy presidency or Jean-François Copé, past president of the movement. Waiting for the national results of the ballot, members of the Ump in Maine-et-Loire, most of them youngs, gathered quietly at the party office on Rabelais street, drinking (in moderation) while a tv set displayed the sport results of the weekend. The office saw comings and goings of some proeminent representatives of the movement in Maine- et-Loire.

The political party had opened a ballot station in all the consti-tuencies of the department, every member of the Ump having to vote in the constituency where he lives. It was also possible to vote with a proxy form. If he aggressive arguments exchanged all day long between the supporters of Fillon and Copé, didn't not resurfaced in Rabelais street where the atsmophere looked rather friendly and dispassionate, that was not alway the case sometimes among members of the same (real, not political) family.

The pratical details of the ballots was sometimes criticized. Some of the sympathizers of the Ump were suprised not to receive an invitation to join the party while they followed the meetings of former French president Sarkozy. According to observers of the Ump, the results could be close in Maine-et-Loire where the political party lost two of the constituencies it held till may 2012. 

Angers opposition town council performs "scuffle"

Laurent Gérault
The rattle of arms for the 2014 Angers municipal polls starts to be heared inside the minority of the city council. On November 16th, the opposition town councillors withdrew to Laurent Gérault the responsability of being their spokesman in Angers city council as well as in Angers Loire Métropole agglomeration council. In spite of what these representatives said, it's hard to believe that that decision has nothing to do with the recent membership of Mr Gérault to the new Union des démocrates et indépendants set up by a former minister of the previous French right government which plans to stand for the municipal 2014 elections.

Christophe Béchu
Such a move would not surely taken favourably by the outside leader of the political opposition to the present majority of Angers city council, Christophe Béchu, senator. That one, who missed by a few margin to win the last municipal ballots in Angers four years ago, would probably have better chances to compete - alone - with the present Angers mayor, Frédéric Béatse or its contestant, Jean-Luc Rotureau. For that matter, the press release of the minority side of city council points out that Laurent Gérault "didn't honoured the spirit of the 2008 common involvment".

That one, who competed, unsuccessfully, with the former deputy Hervé de Charette, to the last legislative ballots, is now led not to withdraw his candidacy. But that aim becomes suddenly more difficult without the support of his former fellow councillors. On the Angers city council right side, things are clearing. On the left side, majority of that authority, primaries would be a way decide who will run for Angers mayor's office. But the two candidates, Frédéric Béatse and Jean-Luc Rotureau don't look all right about such an idea.

17 November, 2012

I pads in Angers schools could lead pupils to listen to Bbc before to learn "abc" of English

Touchscreen tablets will be available in all Angers primary schools next spring.  The implemen-tation of those tools had started a year ago. The tablet choosen by Angers city is the famous "i pad", manufactured by the Us company, Apple. About 1 300 unities have been bought. The overall cost of the purchase is 350 000 €. Such a policy would be, according to Luc Belot, Angers deputy mayor when it was decided, the most important scheme in that field at the European Union scale.

According to teachers of the Marcel Pagnol primary school where the idea was experienced, the pupils, even those who never used touchscreen tablets, have had in short time a perfect command of the tool. The Angers city council looks much more convinced by the interest of the i pad at school, as indicates the page of the municipal website very similar to an ad for the Apple item. Moreover, the supply of i pads is part of a policy aiming at "social justice".

Credit Pictures : Angers city
The idea will be extended to forty schools of Maine-et-Loire. According to the state education authority, the numerical environment will allow pupils to download British Broadcasting Corporation (Bbc) programmes to learn English. But, in that field, as in many others, will the touchscreen tablets sufficient? Before listening Bbc, it's useful to master, through books, the "abc" of the language.

16 November, 2012

The French state reminds the limits in Angers for hosting displaced populations

The French state has reminded to Angers associations and maybe others that the policy dedicated to homelesses against winter should not lead to host more refugees. "The winter operation we are working on is not designed as a draught to asylum seekers", said François Burdeyron, prefect of Maine-et-Loire. The state representative notices that last year more than 300 places out of 400 were used by asylum seekers instead of homeless people. About 10 000 overnight stays have been paid to hotels last year 7 000 of whom for asylum seekers. 

Their cost was above the subsidies received by Angers city from the French state. "These came here because they found in Angers an hotel. We must find for them rustic instead of comfortable solutions", said Mr Burdeyron. That one criticized Angers associations and even representatives who, in the past, claimed their pride to host displaced populations (coming from Eastern African and Eastern European countries) before recognizing that the necessary resources local authority could dedicate were limited.

The French state had found, as it promised to do so, a temporary facility to host refugees and homelesses in a disused gymnasium located not far from the Saint-Laud railway station. Very uncomfortable, the place is nevertheless best than the street and cheaper than an hotel, said the prefect who added that Angers city has offered to implement a further facility for twenty persons.

15 November, 2012

Angers and Nantes meet world investors and retailers

The cities are neighbours but didn't always got on together. That could change. Angers Loire Métropole (Alm) and Nantes, the most important town of the Pays de la Loire région, share a common stand at the International market for retail real estate (Mapic) which takes place every year in Cannes. The event is dedicated to help facilitate retail real estate development. If retailers, investors, developers, and other real estate professionals attend, 110 local authorities like Angers and Nantes are there to meet potential partners coming from 63 countries all over the world.

Angers and Nantes share a stand because they have a common interest : to seduce brands and investor. Seen from other continents, Angers and Nantes look rather medium towns located at the extreme end of Europe. Given the present economic situation, Angers is right to stick to the town leader in the West of France. If Angers Loire Métropole has some assets to display (a customer catchment area of 400 000 inhabitants, commercial surfaces of 500 000 m2, 2 000 commercial points), it has also weaknesses to overcome (declining purchasing power, increase of unemployment, low wages).  

More and more, the economic difficulties of France could lead the two towns to collaborate for major issues : economic development, teaching and facilities (like the future Notre-Dame des Landes airport). If the website of Angers Loire Métropole display these "entente cordiale", it should explain it in English. The Angers Loire Valley concept has apparently not convinced everyone of Alm of its usefulness.

14 November, 2012

Demonstration against austerity and for the sharing of wealth

Between 500 and 600 persons demontrated today against the austerity measures decided by the French government. Several trade unions, but not all, had launched an appeal to their supporters to join the demonstration which gathered on Ralliement square, then walked throughout streets of Angers down town. The main demands of the demonstrators are a stop of the austerity policy and another sharing of wealthnesses among people.

(A former demonstration in 2010)
The leaders of the event have denounced the increase of the value added tax which is the same for the low and high income households while "it should be proportional to those incomes". Some criticized the "gifts" to private companies "without economic and social duties". Others claimed that the present capitalist model does not fit to workers and constitutes something the government has imposed to citizens.

If the austerity measures are already tough, and will probably become tougher in the months to come, the demonstrators content themselves with the sharing of wealthnesses among people and do not not worry about the ways the wealthnesses have beeen created and how to increase them. It's also original to consider that competitiveness measures are "gifts". It's widely considered that France, as well as many others countries, has lived beyond its means with deficitary budgets while others didn't have the minimum ressources to finance basic needs.

13 November, 2012

The Loire à vélo awarded by a British tourism association

The British Guild of Travel Writers has, for its 2012 nominations, awarded to the Loire Bike circuits the title of "best European tourism attraction category". The Loire à vélo is a completion of a safe 800 kms cycle trail from Nevers to the Atlantic Ocean realized after 10 years of work and whic goes through six departements.  The price is awarded every year to projects located in UK, European Union and overseas by a panel of British editors members of the Bgtw.

Two main qualities appear to be at the origin of the decision of the organization : the touristic potential and its economic benefits for the towns and villages located along the circuit. The Loire à vélo is "an immense cycle tourism route which runs from Cuffy (near Nevers) to Saint-Brévin-les-Pins (near Saint-Nazaire and wich crosses the Centre and Pays de la Loire régions along the banks long the banks of France longest river, the Loire.
The itinerary has been developed since 1955 "for people who all have one thing in common : that desire to get away from it all", says the Loire à vélo website. Most of the stages are no more than 40 km long, i.e. 4 hours of cycling per day.  (credit pictures : La Loire à vélo)

12 November, 2012

The opposition to the Notre-Dame-des Landes airport scheme is landing in Angers

The project of a new airport located at Notre-Dame-des-Landes which is due to replace the Nantes-Atlantique airport starts to ignite protests in Angers. A few days ago, while a meeting of the council of Angers Loire Métropole was almost finished, a representative, member of an ecologic party, demanded the end of violences against the adversaries of the scheme. The president of the authority, Jean-Claude Antonini, refused to accept a new debate on that issue beause it had been already discussed. More recently, several communities hostile to the project have made public their decision to support the Notre-Dame-des-Land opponents.

Some leftist and ecologic formations have constituted a committee which, from November 12, will gather daily on Ralliement square from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm in order to explain to Angers inhabitants the reasons of their opposition to the Notre-Dame-des-Landes project. It has announced that he will take part to a new demonstration on the site of the future airport. For that purpose, it will organize a transport to the scene on November 17 (at 9 am, on Kennedy square).

Credit pictures : Wikipedia
On its side, Alm has decided to support the project because it considers that the equipment will better connect Angers to foreign countries. That airport should to be linked to Angers by rail and road speedways. According to the opponents to the project, that one is conflicting with the Grenelle de l'Environnement (a series of political meetings which listed numerous commitments in the ecology field and which was endorsed by Angers city) while others regional airport are already under used.

11 November, 2012

False notes in the state of mind at the Orchestre national des Pays de la Loire

The words are tough and the views without ambivalence. In a long interview in a local media (1) published on November 12, the future past conductor of the Orchestre national des Pays de la Loire, the American John Axelrod, recalls his course at the head of the orchestra and details his opinion about the state of mind of the musicians he is about to leave for others in Italia. The ideas Mr. Axelrod develops are about the behaviour regarding the working life and the change. They seem to refer to a community of people much more larger than an orchestra and give a light about the course of the Region where Angers and its inhabitants are in the middle and may be the sample.

The conductor reminds that he was told to enhance the level of the orchestra but noticed that this one "was not ready to change" because most of the musicians had a state of mind of "civil servants" : "comfort, routine, security are things some musicians are looking for. Not the stress, challenges, international competitiveness and search for quality. The resistance to changes causes a incredible apathy. The musicians are paid whenever there is or there is not audience".

Credit pictures : Onpl
Having conducted others orchestras over the world, John Axelrod compares the ability of the musicians he managed to assimilate new works. The Onpl members "need time and numerous rehearsals because they considered the programme was stressing and heavy" while " others orchestra wished to be conducted bluntly, without shortered repetitions, [they wanted] to stretch their limits". Mr Axelrod regrets he was not able to plan works because he was afraid of "complaints or strikes. That is specific to this country" compared to Italia where musicians "fight for survive". In Onpl, "in spite of success, musicians don't want additional work". Are they in tune with their environment?

(1) Le Courrier de l'Ouest

10 November, 2012

Angers customers and stores owners already tuned on Christmas

If almost there are still two months before Christmas, streets and front sides of Angers down town have already a look of celebrations. Town hall has just hang illuminations in the streets which wait to be lighted. Only the mobile wooden huts are missing. Streets are full of people who, apparently, think to the gifts they will have to do in the weeks to come. And they are invited to question themselves by stores owners who have started to adorn their frontsides with Christmas trees onrnaments : candles, tinsels and bowls.

These are the visible part of the care Angers stores owners are preparing the end of the year, a period providing a large part of their annual turnover. According to an observer of the trade sector of Angers, the decision of the city council to prohibit openings of stores the Sundays before Christmas is difficult to understand. "The best way would have been to let the retailers to decide themselves and to let them conclude if the decision to work on those Sundays was appropriate".

So the end of the weekends of Angers will have, as always, sharp constrasts : lively on Saturdays and demoralizing on Sundays. The atmosphere is even happier now than in Christmas. Probably because streets are not disanchanted by the depressing melodies like "Petit Papa Noel", a famous French song, abyss of sadness.

09 November, 2012

United bags of Angers gather more and more inhabitants

The idea is generous but gives a glimpse of the difficulties more and more Angers households are facing and will, maybe, face in the months, and years, to come. Since spring 2011, Les Jardins de Cocagne, an Angers association member of a national network, started to distribute to low income families of the city unsold fruits and vegetables collected on the Marché d'intérêt national, then packaged in string bags. The idea offers a double interest, says the Angers city on its website, first by reducing the wastes coming from the destruction of unsold products, secondly by allowing households to get access to fresh items. Moreover, the work resulting from the sorting of the fruits and vegetables, their packaging and their transport has given a work to several persons.

Credit : Angers CCAS, Angers city
After it was launched in the Justices-Madeleine, Saint-Léonard and Les Hauts de Saint-Aubin districts of Angers, the idea has been extended to the Monplaisir and Deux-Croix-Banchais and will be implemented in La Roseraie and Belle-Beille districts. The string bags are put aside for low income families who must vouch they are economically modest. The prices range from 2,5 to 6 euros a string bag according to revenues while a part of the cost is met by the Centre communal d'action social.

Magnified par the word "united", this trend is not reassuring about the purchasing power of more and more Angers families. Two conclusions may be learnt from the experience. The more and more common recourses to associations in numerous aspects of daily life demonstrate the Angers inhabitants become few by few unable to face the economic costs of the contemporay life. If such honourable experiences must be continued and generalized to others field (energy, transportation, clothing...), that must not be on the expenses of persons (employers employees) facing the social and economic costs of a commercial business.