31 August, 2013

The Accroche-coeurs 2013 : an implicit wish of "elsewhere"

Are the Angers inhabitants looking for new horizons? The theme of 2013 Accroche-coeurs may indicate it. If the summer holidays were rather sunny over Angers, the economic and social conditions of the september resumption are always critical because of the unemployment and the absence of recovery. So it is not surprising that, unconsciously, the organizers of the Accroche-coeurs and the Angers city hall decision-makers choose, for the annual event, the topic of the Atlantide.

The program published and the Angers city website gives to the reader the idea of a collective desire to go away, for another country, another way of life and, implicitly, another future. "The general consulate of Atlantide gives to everybody a atlante passport which grants the nationality, the rights and duties of all Atlantide citizens". That country, and the Accroche-coeurs will dedicate time for that, will have its constitution of which the Angers inhabitants will be the "founding fathers", like those who drafted the American constitution.

With the 2013 edition, the festival "ends" a world tour it started three years ago : toward the South , then the East, last year the North and now the West. Through that periscopic search, the Angers inhabitants look to dream of a better future. Who will dare to blame them for that?

30 August, 2013

The Centrist force of the Angers city council tries to become central for the 2014 municipal ballot.

The political topics are about to resume in Angers. Just a few hours before the end of the summer holidays, Laurent Gérault, who is member in Maine-et-Loire of the Union des démocrates et indépendants (Udi), lauched an appeal to his colleagues of the Angers opposition town councillors "to overcome the egos" and be united for the 2014 municipal polls in which he could himself run for the mayor office.

In fact the centrist family in Angers doesn't look to be (yet?) a central force in the outcome of the ballot. That political family in the city council is openly divided and Mr Gérault has been excluded of it in 2012. So, the september return is a favourable moment to put the pieces back together. If Mr Gérault is right to start his campaign for the gathering of centrist forces, the task will not be easy because at the same time, the doubts he expressed about the opportunity of a new ice skating triggered critics from members of majority and minority city council.

Credit : Laurent Gérault's blog and Conseil régional des Pays de la Loire
It is obvious that, without unity, the Centre will not weigh in the necessary alliances for an electoral success. The Socialist majority of the Angers council could be, as in many other French towns, severaly weakened, and even defeated by... the economic crisis instead of Udi or Ump (Union pour la majorité présidentielle) competitors. But if Mr Gérault's appeal is listened, it will be a first step to open a dialog with the future Socialist list led by Frédéric Béatse or even the conservatice one, led by Christophe Béchu.

29 August, 2013

Mobilization... for peace

Opposed to a military intervention in Syria, which could include France, the Angers section of the Mouvement de la paix called for a demonstration due to take place on Thursday evening in front of the Maine-et-Loire prefecture. "No to the military intervention in Syria. No to France's participation", says the peace movement. About 50 supporters had set a panel on the prefecture's metal gates "No to war".

If that organization firmy blames the use of chemical weapons, it notices there are, as far as it knows, no evidences of the use, banned since 1993, of such weapons by Syria's government. The pacific organization nevertheless acknowledges that up to now, "the Syrian regime has answered by a fierce crackdown denying every opportunity of dialog" leading to " a dreadful balance : 100 000 deads, 4 000 000 displaced persons, 1 500 000 others exiled and a devastated country".

At the same time, the Mouvement de la paix calls for a "dialogue" and urges "the international law be respected" even if it doesn't details how to implement that respect and who must comply with it. At the beginning of 2013, that same organization had disapproved French military action in Mali when that country was threatened by islamist terrorists.

28 August, 2013

One year after Technicolor, another Angers symbolic company launches "worrying" signals

Credit : Ardoisières d'Angers
Another industrial symbol of the Angers economy coud be theatened. The Ardoisières d'Angers, created in, 1891, is facing a drop of its output since four years. The company has lost € 10 miilions during the last four years and is looking new deposits of high quality shists. But the researches have not yet got a result and 160 employees (the company hired thousands of workers in the past) are in short-time working. A resumption of activity, planned for mid-august, has finally, been delayed until september.

The outlook in housing, the Ardoisières' main outlet, are presently grim. In France, the domestic market of the Ardoisières d'Angers, the number of projects in implementation phase has decreased by 13% during the last twelve months and should not resume before months... "So the company situation is still very worrying", has said the operating manager to the local medias. The slates produced in Angers are more and more in competition with those coming from others countries. First they came from Spain. Now they come from China. About two years ago, the Chinese slates were choosen by Angers Loire Métropole for the paving of the Ralliement square.

Twelve months ago, another local symbolic company, Thomson, renamed Technicolor, had to go to closure and fire 350 employees. The output of decoders has been transferred to Vietnam. If there is nothing definitive regarding the Ardoisères d'Angers, the worrying about that comany should fuel a wider concern about the industrial future of Angers. The city mayor has met the prime minister regarding this point which could be of course an important issue of the next municipal polls.

25 August, 2013

Back to "NG"

How it looks like to be back in Angers after 6 years abroad? Jessica, a young US editor for a website dedicated to fashion, and Aï, a Japanese air hostess, studied French in the "Catho" during several months in 2007. The fluency they got in that language has maybe weakened but their understanding is almost the same. After their arrival at Angers Saint-Laud station, their former host family drove them to André Leroy square where the buildings where they studied looked unchanged.

The stability of the shapes and the atmosphere of Angers is their main feeling but "This is good for us because that sends us back in our student life. And the pace things change depends on the place you are. In some Japanese or US cities, evolution is rather slow or fast". Regarding Angers, the most dramatic change is the trolley which has completely redesigned the Foch boulevard and whose colours are rather appreciated by the two youg women. They tought Ralliement square looked especially enlived by the vegetable settings.

But the mood was judged quiet in the streets of the city that Sunday. And even a little bit sad because of the quite numerous panels "closure" on stores front sides and some pedestrians grumbling against the Sunday closing. After a quick incursion in the streets around, it is time for return to the railway station. The impossibility to park close to the hall made the women had to run to be on time for the train. Angers does not know how to keep its former inhabitants.

22 August, 2013

English on the tracks in the second tramway line is something the city should think about

Several French cities are experimenting the use of regional languages in their public transport networks. In Ajaccio, Strasbourg, Rennes or Toulouse, the travellers are informed about the progress of their trip both in French and in a regional language. But a lot of French cities, and among them Angers, do not have a regional language or, at best, speak French with a regional accent.

So the Angers public transport network, and especially, the tramway, should take advantage of that situation to introduce a foreign language to inform travellers. English would be appropriate because the city host thousands of students, hundreds coming from foreign countries, because it is good for brains to work in two languages, and because that would make Angers Loire Valley closer to its new English sounding communication.

The success of English training in Angers institutes or associations, but also in private training centres, as well as the number of ads, names of stores, or recently the recruitment of girls for a pom pom girls group, illutrate the interest of Angers people for English speaking countries culture. So why the second Angers tramway line planned for 2020 would not give announces in English?

20 August, 2013

Blog busters!

Frédéric Béatse's blog, after a cyber attack on mid-August, is said, by his owner, Mr Béatse himself, free from any disturbances. Launched in 2012, the blog gives infomations on the activity of Mr Béatse as Angers mayor throughout the city and so, on some of the topics he has in mind. During the last weeks before the summer vacations, the policies regarding some aspects of the development of the town were clearly on his recent agenda.

One of the latest news is dedicated to the new electronic campus Loire Electronic Valley which aims to join the resources of public authorities, companies and higher education  to boost that sector. If the issue has been widely reported by local medias, perhaps it is not the case about a meeting mentioned by the blog between Frédéric Béatse and the prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, which took place in July regarding "the strategic stakes for Angers development".

The details about that appointment are quite scarce in Mr Béatse's blog and, maybe, will be given later. "The main development schemes" have been discussed and the Angers mayor talked to the prime minister "economy and jobs" what may predict that some initiatives could be introduced by the mayor in the months to come.

It was recently written in the medias that former president Mitterand would have said that the swing of Angers from right to left would predict his own election at the top of the state. Angers is presently on the left, so Mr Ayrault has, maybe, carefully thought about the national consequences of an Angers change from left to right...

17 August, 2013

The remains of the last Plantagenet king in search of a peaceful resting place

The last Plantagenet king of England, Richard III, is still creating quarrels more than five hundred years after his death. Killed by his successor, king Henry VII, of the Tudor dynasty, at the battle of Bosworth in 1485, the Richard III's body had been discovered only last year under a car park of Leicester city. The Leicester university, which organized the successful archeologic search in 2012, planned to bury Richard III's remains in the cathedral of that town, now faces a contest.

A Plantagenet Alliance, gathering descendants of Richard III, wants the former king buried in York! That Alliance got from a judge a decision saying that the plan to bury the last English Plantagenet king should be, at least, postponed in order to give time to a wider consultation. The judge also permitted to the descendants of Richard III, to start a legal procedure.

So the fate of that sovereign, in York or Leicester, is not yet decided. In order to avoid an agonizing choice between the two cities, Angers should announce its candidacy to host the last Plantagenet king!  That would boost Angers Loire Valley fame in the English speaking kingdom.

16 August, 2013

Malian presidential elections may revive Angers and Bamako cooperation

The fact presidential elections have finally took place in Mali and given to the country a new president, is something favourable to the continuation of cooperation between Angers and Bamako, the capital of this Western African country. Because of the turmoil that state faced during the last months, mainly due to islamist rebels in the Norhtern part of the country, the cooperation had been interrupted for a year.

That one resumed since the end of the internal revolt in Mali, Angers and Bamako being able to organize the staying in the capital of Anjou of 14 young Bamako inhabitants aged from 18 to 30. Hosted by Angers families during three weeks, they took benefit of visits of some Angers facilities like the universitarian hospital centre and had activities in some city districts.

Credit : Angers city
The next step is the departure, in 2014, of some young Angevins, to Bamako. That gives time to Angers and Bamako responsibles to look for fields of cooperation. Angers, which has worked for years about the topic of involving inhabitants in city's life, could transmit its own experience to its African counterpart if that could help democracy to settle for good now and govern the Malian capital and, from there, the country.

14 August, 2013

Tempo Rives, a good note for Angers

Tempo Rives, a musical event due to Angers city and which takes place on the Maine bank with the Angers castle in the background, is, year after year, becoming a "launch pad" for young bands, some of them local. If, with Tempo Rives, the town has found a way to promote its support to art through the last musical styles, the festival looks to be an appropriate manner to open the city to foreign cultures.

Credit picture : Angers city
But the main characteristic of the event is, with the year, that the new bands which emerged have all choose an English sounding name what does not worry the city. Since 2009, the bands which have been launched are "Tumy & The Volume", "The Spasm Band", "The Narcycist" and "Blitz The Ambassador". The 2013 edition of Tempo Rives host (among others) "Joe & The Winger Accident", "Birth of Joy", "Warsaw Village Band", "Fire Water" and "The Lemon Queen", that last "made in" Angers, as "Pony Pony Run Run".

Around 20 000 people were waited to the nocturnal shows of Tempo Rives between mid-July until August 20th. Of course the Angers event has not the fame of the "West by Northwest festival" the twinned US city, Austin, hosts every year. But music is surely an appropriate bridge to get Angers best known from abroad.

12 August, 2013

Angers liberation anniversary : forgotten stars and stripped history

The presence of America in the mind of people living in Western France looks to be variable. On August 11th, some local flag-bearers present on the 69th anniversary of Angers liberation found regrettable that "too few persons stopped to attend the ceremony" on Leclerc square. But, in the same time, ads were published on another local media website about a West Country Festival taking place a few days later in a neighbouring city of Loire-Atlantique where "40 000 persons" were waited.

The indifference of Angers people for the Liberation anniversary may be explained by a lack of knowledges about that historical event but also by the feeling Angers inhabitants were not actors of those days, what is illustrated by the story detailed by the Maine et Loire archives website. If a few Angevins did really take part of the Liberation of their city, their names have been forgotten by the public and even by official authorities. One of them, Pierre-Yves Labbé, died a few weeks ago and no officials were present for his burials.

If only one American banner was present on Leclerc square on August 11th, many will be displayed during the next West Country Festival as that is illustrated by pictures galleries of previous editions. That would to mean that American culture is more present in French minds than French history in which French people didn't always had (like in 1944) a great part.

10 August, 2013

No hedges between Thaï L'Inde and the Angers gourmets

Credit picture : Thaï L'Inde
Is the success of Thaï L'Inde due to the wish of Angevins to know other cuisines? Maybe, but the fame of that restaurant, transferred a few weeks ago from Roë street to Deux-Haies street is surely due to the hard work of its two managers natives, one from India, the other from Thaïland, but now Angevins. They move their business in a former mansion located near Ralliement square. And, according to local medias, there is frequently no room to host people wishing to taste the fusion of the flavours of those two countries.

The chef is Paritosh Gupta. Born in India, he studied cuisine in Australia then came to Angers for a tourism cursus where he met his future partner, herself student at Angers for the same purpose. They decided to gather their knowledges and their know-how. Mr Gupta is sorry for not being able to welcome more "gourmets" but he wants to gather for them the best conditions as it is possible.

The success of that cuisine came from a country formerly under British sovereignty (India is independant since 1947) is not unique in Angers. Nor far from Deux-Haies street, there is also in L'Espine street an English tea room which has frequently to limit the entrance of customers warning on its frond window "sorry we are full".

09 August, 2013

The opening of Angers stores on Sundays all year long is the goal of But

The debate was far to be closed and was due to surface soon or later because facts are obstinate. Because the timetable of Angers inhabitants has changed, because it is more difficult for stores to balance their management, the topic of the opening of stores on Sundays is back. And, this time, not only for the Sundays before Christmas and New Year day but about every Sunday!

That was the operating manager of a furnitures store of L'Atoll, the commercial park the Angers city is proud, said to the daily Ouest France. "We wish to be able, eventually, to open on Sundays all year long", explains Olivier Philippe who manages But, a French superstore chain and who is not afraid to put the foot in it because its is necsssary "to make things going on".

But the result is also far to be got even if the Angers mayor had, a few months ago in front of local managers, said that he was not dogmatic about that point. All the Angers trade unions are against the opening on Sundays, as well as many mayors of cities members of Angers Loire Métropole. But their reasons are unclear. All say that Angers inhabitants do not have the purchasing power to go for shopping on Sundays. So, if that is true, Angers stores should have to close on Saturdays in order to give to inhabitants a supplementary revenue. 

On the eve of the electoral campaign, and with the dissatisfaction of Angers store owners in the background, the topic will surely be part of the public debate between political contenders until April 2014.

07 August, 2013

Angers, still too shy in English communication towards tourists

Since several weeks, a leaflet published by the Angers Tourism Bureau is available for visitors wishing to discover the city from "another way". That mention indicates that the booklet has also been designed for Angers inhabitants who can't, and they could be more and more numerous, to go away for holidays. If that purpose is laudable, the town office apparently didn't published all these useful informations in English version while it has noticed that the number of English speaking visitors is increasing.

That would not be difficult. If some sentences ("Angers by night" or "Welcome") are clearly understandable by foreign people, maybe the sponsors of the leaflet should have dedicated at least one page of their work to tourists coming in Angers from abroad. So in the "visites de bienvenue" page, it is indicated (in French) "Visites possibles en anglais sur demande" (visits are possible in English upon request" while a bowler hat and a beret are printed side by side.

Credit Pictures : Angers Loire Tourism
It should be appropriate for Angers to draw conclusions from its new English sounding brand "Angers Loire Valley" designed to enlarge the spotting of Angers city by foreign people. The association Angers greeters has gone for it. Its website uses more English words while greeters are Angers inhabitants. An Angers booklet about summer events and animations next year would be greet, sorry : great.

05 August, 2013

Tourism : analyses differ in Angers and Anjou about the tourism season

Credit : Angers Tourism Bureau
Two opinions apparently contradictory have recently been expressed about the results of the tourism season in Anjou. According to a Maine-et-Loire authority in that field, the month of July was not a success in spite of the favourable meteorological conditions (the same opinion appeared in French national medias for France as a whole). On the opposite, the Angers tourism bureau looked more optimistic and explained the city was rather on good tracks for a successful season.

According to this one, the momuments, as the Angers castle or museums, attracted more people than expected and the main sources of visitors are English speaking countries like Uk and Usa (some tourists are even coming from Australia). It is clear that the historical atmosphere is something foreign people are eager to find in the city recently linked, through communication policy, to the Loire valley, an orientation which should be enhanced.

Maybe the favourable results Angers said it has gained until now could be widened to Anjou with a joined communication aimed towards English speaking communities. The economic interests and assets of Anjou and Angers are the same. Why are the analyses of the tourism outcome so different? For political reasons? That would be a pity.

03 August, 2013

Angers is looking for its soul

If summer is a propicious period for individuals to have some reflection, it could be also an opportunity for communities to do so. Angers, as a community of inhabitants, looks to dedicate a bit of time to such a topic. An exhibition of pictures, "The soul of Angers" is taking place in Chemellier hall until the end of August. And the core of the city, the Ralliement square, is experiencing such a exercise all summer long.

Frequently criticized for its cold atmosphere due do the over use of stone materials, that place is transformed in a garden during summer. The event, which consists in enlivening the square with green materials, is called "The ephemeral garden" but the idea to give it another aspect is far from short-lived. And that worry is visible in many other fields of the town life.

Credit Pictures : Angers city
Urban redevelopments of some Angers districts, the launch of a structure dedicated to promote electronic or the start or a survey about a second trolley line are the late clues of that general reflection about the face Angers should have in the years to come. If these reflections are necessary, they have to be questionned in order to know if the are sufficient to fuel growth inside the city. Maybe the soul of Angers will have to be changed. Change is never ephemeral.

02 August, 2013

Angers links to Loire and environment, leverages towards a wider fame

If Angers city makes continuous efforts to increase its fame abroad, it is not always known how foreign people look the city. The Spanish daily El Mundo gives some informations on that issue through a recent coverage about Angers city located in the middle of the route "La Loire à vélo". The city is considered as the entrance of the Loire Valley, what fits to the position Angers Loire Métropole choose a few years ago with the brand Angers Loire Valley.

Regarding Angers itself, the river harbour is the first place the Spanish daily advices to visit what should encourage the promoters of the New Banks of Maine project which includes that area in the redevelopment. The Angers region is depincted as a place where mansions, castles and museums are the main points of interest. If tourism was the topic of the editor, nothing else than history and theatre are pointed out.

Credit : El Mundo
Nantes, in comparison is described as a city involved in environment what should stimulate Angers to strenghen its fame in that field wher it has a lot of assets to display. Margin of progress is still ahead : on 25 pictures about the course between Nantes and Saumur, only one was shot by El Mundo in Angers[credit pictures : La Loire à vélo]