30 September, 2013

Christophe Béchu opens his aggregating blog

Less than a month after the announcement of his candidacy to the Angers mayor office, Christophe Béchu starts to formalise its platform through a new blog www.angersbechu.fr. Under the title, "For a new municipal contract", Mr Béchu analyses the Angers situation and gives his vision about the job of the Angers mayor. In his essay, the senator and president of the Conseil général de Maine-et-Loire holds the current municipal team responsible of a "drop" of Angers face to other Western cities : the town "lost 5 000 inhabitants between the last two census [2004 and 2010]" and recorded "an exponential unemployment : +33,5% in Angers between June 2009 and June 2013".

Credit : www.angersbechu.fr
According to Christophe Béchu, "Angers has real assets but a sizeable handicap : the inertia of the last town councils, breathless and weary". If he praises Jean Monnier (the socialist mayor of Angers from 1977 until 1998), he tackles the current and previous Angers mayors, Frédéric Béatse and Jean-Claude Antonini, for their "petty arrangements [which] override the common interest, even on condition of legality", a clear allusion to the resignation of Mr Antonini in 2012 in favor of his deputy-mayor Mr Béatse, for the mayor office, what also led another former deputy-mayor, Jean-Luc Rotureau, to be himself candidate in 2014 municipal polls.

For Mr Béchu, "the time for action has come" in several directions : entrepreneurship", the "reinstatement of the dialog with store owners and actors of the economic and social circles" instead of "an appearant participative democracy". In his manifesto, Christophe Béchu also unveils some of the main lines of his action once elected. "If a governing principle is necessary : it must be the vegetable. Angers, vegetable capital? I sign with both hands", points out the candidate who wants "to stop the over densification of free areas". In the weeks to come, Angevins should have knowledge about the projects of Christophe Béchu in "employment and economic development", two top priorities of his administration.

29 September, 2013

To Antoine

Hi Antoine, Thank you for your remark about the first name of Mrs Capron. I made the rectification as you may have noticed. Edgar 

National and local factors may lead the issue of the stores working on Sundays to be... reopened

The current evolution of the debate about the Sunday opening of stores on a national scale may have consequencies about the policy implemented for years on that issue by Angers Loire Métropole (Alm). That authority had decided to prohibit for store owners or managers to work on Sunday. More than a year ago, a debate took place between Alm, Maine-et-Loire prefecture, local trade unions and the owner of the Leclerc superstore of Saint-Jean-de-Linières. After months of opening every Sunday morning, the  commercial centre was finally led to close during that period.

Because facts are stubborn, the topic had to resurface one time or another. First, the store owners of Angers down town demanded the right to open their doors on the two Sundays before Christmas and New Year days. After a negative answer from local authorities in 2012, their president announced they got from Angers city council the right to work during those days in 2013, because of the importance of those periods for their turnover. Another trade community, some of the store managers of the Atoll commercial park, sent the same question last summer to the Angers representatives, without any answer until now.

But they have reasons to hope. On one hand, because the Angers mayor, Frédéric Béatse, pointed out in 2013 he was not, as a matter of principle, opposed to such an idea. Another economic fact may lead the future mayors members of the Alm board to reconsider their stance : the level of unemployement which continuously increases in the Angers and surroundings area for years is now close to 11%.  This late parameter and the attractiveness of the city centre could become important themes in the 2014 municipal elections. That will help candidates' states of mind to evolve.

28 September, 2013

Two days around games with the topic "Bread and Circuses"*

The games festival which planned to set up in Angers down town on September 28th and 29th with a new topic for the 14th edition of that event, cooking and love of good food, was thwarted by the weather on Saturday. Hopefully the "menu" included two main "meals" : the festival and the living room. The first was due to take place in the streets near Ralliement square. There, around 60 organisers should explain a hundred of games to visitors. Those games appeal all qualities : speed, reflection, stratgegy, construction, improvisation, spiel and are designed  for all ages. Because of the topic of that edition, some of the games were about food and cooking.

Hopefully a living room had been located in Curnonski Hall during the week end from 10.00 am to 6.30 pm and there a lot of board games will be explained with tourna-ments for experienced players. The two stores of Angers which cannot be circumvented in games field, La Luciole and Sortilèges, were able to exhibit the last innovations in board games. In spite of rainy conditions, persons interested by board games discovered those under the flaps of stores but most of the open air stands had been cleared off. Previous editions of that event met no problems with the rain. The next one should choose a theme about the weather.

* in latin : "Panem and circenses"

A new EP 3 titles from the Angers band I'am fresh! You're pretty!

The Angers band I'am fresh! You're pretty! has just published its first EP (extended play) three titles L'amour, la vie, Dance Disco, New York je t'adore which are possible to download for free. One of the originalities of that band founded in 2008 is to mix French and English languages in its songs, even if its three members, Matthias Lebreton, Benoît Lebreton and Olivier Basset don't look to have family links with English people. 

The titles were shot in Angers famous locations : the Mall garden, Lenepveu street and the terrace of the Le Quai theatre. Specialized medias praised the qualities of the Angers band because of its ability to make different musical trends, some current, others more ancient, to converge. The French channel Direct 8 recently made a coverage on the three boys who performed last June in Ralliement square. But the band has also played its music "made for the dancefloor, on several European scenes.

27 September, 2013

Frédéric Béatse between obligations and aspirations

Frédéric Béatse with Angers students representatives
The unofficial entrance of Frédéric Béatse in the electoral campaign for the municipal elections has been confirmed by... himself. Given the fact that posters of the mayor "Aimer Angers with Frédéric Béatse" start to appear in different locations of the city, Mr Béatse considered that a press conference announcing something everybody already knew was now useless.

Nevertheless it should be appropriate that, in the next months, his supporters and, above all, the indecisive persons may notice more formalisation in his campaign, giving them knowledge about his platform and confidence in his resolution. Because the conquest of Angers town hall will not be easy.

and with French prime minister (Credit : Fr. Béatse's blog)
One of his adversaries, Jean-Luc Rotureau, recently got the support of two political centre groups both led by Sophie Briand-Boucher, former town councillor which dismissed after Frédéric Béatse succeeded to Jean-Claude Antonini, previous mayor. Mr Rotureau, who also resigned from the presidency of the minority group in the Conseil général de Maine-et-Loire, after he did so as Angers deputy mayor, visibly wants to have idle hands.

Mr Béatse, on his side, received the help of the French prime minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault. This one, during a recent visit in Angers where took place a seminar of ecologist members of government and parliament, called for unity behind Frédéric Béatse's candidacy and urged Socialists and Ecologists to join the Angers mayor. That was important but now the campaign of Mr Béatse must gain pace and get independance from his mayor's duties.

Campus Day : happy New (university) year !

Hundreds of students have answered to the offer of Angers university and its partners, to join the Campus Day, an event emphasizing the start of the school year 2013-2014 which took place on September 26th on the park of Belle-Beille. On the green area planted of trees between the different departments of the university, many animations have made possible a discovery or a re-discovery by Angers students of the environment in which they will work until next summer.

If games looked to attract most of students, many stands gave informations about the activities they could register in addition to their studies. The political concerns were not absent even if, that day, they didn't look to be the most attractive topic for the audience. The current debate about the servicing of the campus by the next (half) tramway line was not (yet?) a topic.

For Angers university, the scholar year starts with an important increase of the number of students. For the first time, they will exceed the threshold of 20 000 persons. In comparison with the previous year, the increase reaches 7%, versus less than 2% on a national scale. Such trends could be due to the favourable ranking of the Angers university for its rate of success in the licence three years course and on the recent reports about the quality of life for students in Angers published by French medias. About 10% of students are foreign and for the first time for years, the scientific departments recorded more people.

26 September, 2013

Prohibited by the prefect, supporters of La manif pour tous demonstrated face to members of government and parliament

In spite of the prohibition decided by the Maine-et-Loire prefect, one hundred Angers inhabitants gathered around 6.00 pm in front of the Saint-Laud railway station for a demonstration against the assisted reproductive technology ("procréation maternelle assistée").

These, with adhesive white and red tapes on their mouths, some of them wrapped in the French flag, reminded to the ecologist members of government and parliament present in Angers for a seminar of their party, they were not decided to give up their opposition to the "Wedding for all" law. Indeed, that one, they believe, may make available the assisted reproductive technology to couples having the same gender.

If the French political men and women seen in front of the railway station just before their departure for Paris were whistled, nothing in the demonstraters' behaviour could explain why their presence was unwanted by the prefect. Old ladies with handbags and pearl collars, men of a respectable age and quiet youngs were really not a threat for the officials and the security forces dispatched on the place.

Given the law about the gene-ralization of the marriage to the two genders is now implemented, all opposition to that measure looks to be useless. But, on the other hand, the prohibition of such a gathering gave relevance to slogans supporters of "La manif pour tous" shouted : "No to the dictatorship". France has sometimes, face to civil movements, autocratic reactions.

25 September, 2013

The Campus Day starts the university year

The Campus Day is a rendez-vous given by Angers university to its 20 000 students on September 26th  for the start of the 2013-2014 scholar year. Through the event, the organizers wish "to launch on a festive way" the 9 months leading to the annual exams. The gathering will take place on Belle-Beille campus at 11.00 am. and will end around 5.45 pm. Music, picnic, different activities and an "open challenge" between students will be the main components of the event.

Some of them look to be pure plays while others seem more intellectual. On one hand, Crazy'r'Ball (mix of soccer, volley and basket), a laser game in a labyrinth, sumo, space ball or elastic trampoline are some of activities available for fun. On  the other hand, a lot of stands set up by students communities about music, cinema or food will awake visitors interest for possible recruitments.

A more solemn touch will be brought by Jean-Paul Saint-André, president of the university, who recently got good news from the ministry of higher education about the means granted to his organization to fulfill its mission. The university which had experienced financial difficulties during the last year, looks to start the new year in a better shape while the Belle-Beille campus is at the centre of a conflict between Angers political circles regarding its servicing with down town thanks to a new tramway line.

The day will end with a free concert offered by Angers city in Le Chabada. It is not sure the hundreds of participants to the event will be able to work on the following morning...

24 September, 2013

The Angers mayor's unofficial entrance in the electoral campaign

The communication takes an unusual way. Frédéric Béatse's candidacy to the Angers mayor office becomes few by few official. Several days ago, the Facebook page of Aimer Angers, the association of the city council majority, made public a logo quite similar to the one Mr Béatse uses on his blog. "Aimer Angers avec Frédéric Béatse" appeared in a pink text block. Today, the same Facebook page makes official that Rachel Capron, current deputy-mayor of down-town in charge of contemporary music events since 2006, has been choosen as Mr Béatse's campaign manager.

Frédéric Béatse
In a press release, Aimer Angers says that "in the weeks to come, it will suggest several actions which will mobilise the Angevins about the great stakes of the 2014-2020 project".  For the community, Mrs Capron points out that "We are going to meet Angevins citizens to talk about the future of our town. We also wish to stimulate them to register on the electoral roll because it's important that women and men may decide about choices which will be decisive for Angers tomorrow".

Rachel Capron
The method differs from the formal involvement of Frédéric Béatse's challengers (press conferences of Christophe Béchu, then Jean-Luc Rotureau) and has prevented them, until now, to criticize the current mayor's entrance in the campaign. The form has also two advantages. First of all, it makes appear Mr Béatse's commitment is more about a project than an office. Secondly, this one has not to make public his application to a charge he already assumes. That may lead Angevins to understand he is the natural mayor (Credit pictures: Aimer Angers Facebook page and Frédéric Béatse's blog).

23 September, 2013

Second tramway, the choice of the half line will be a whole problem

If the construction of the second line of the Angers tramway has to be staggered, because of the financial tensions the city may face in the years to come, the problem may come from the choice of the first section. Which half of the line the future city council will choose? According to the Angers section of the Union des démocrates indépendants, whose leader is Laurent Gérault, town councillor and maybe candidate to the mayor office, the city will not have in the medium-term, the sufficient resources to set up, in one go, the entire line. Mr Gérault's proposal has been endorsed by the lastest candidate to mayor office, Jean-Luc Rotureau.

But that one didn't detailed which half of the second line he would choose to built first. Laurent Gérault offered to start with the section from Angers railway station towards the Angers exhibition park throughout Monplaisir and Banchais districts. Is that choice appropriate?

According to the Angers members of the Nouveau parti anticapitaliste, such an option would be a terrible mistake. Thousands of students registered inf the numerous departments of Angers university go and come daily from Belle-Beille and so from September to June, while the exhibitions park welcomes visitors less frequently. "The avoidance of Belle-Beille was already a scandal" when the first line was implemented, bemoans the Npa. The idea would have another interest : to allow employees working in Beaucouzé to use the tramway.

It is reported that the project would cost € 358 millions in which 201 millions would be in charge of state through allocations, the balance having to be raised or received in taxes Mr Gérault believe they could be increased. In the months to come, the Npa could awake the interest of the students and the employees regarding the route of the next (half) line. The companies located in Beaucouzé would not necessarily hostile to the idea given the finance, through the transport tax, the tramway. But an alliance between them looks unlikely. But in electoral times, who knows?

Noirmoutier, favorished by nature and favorite of Angevins

Because of its natural environment, its insular geography and its proximity from Angers, Noirmoutier is one of the most appreciated places of the Angevins inhabitants. The late mild weekend of September 21 and 22 was a opportunity to discover the peninsula through the foot and cycle paths which travel that flat landscape of dunes, pinewoods and salt marshes, a mix between Brittany and Nederlands.

It takes two hours to go there from Angers (in normal traffic conditions). So the city inhabitants may exchange the mildness of the Maine river to the sea sprays enlivened by the fragance of carnations. Because of its old villages with their church towers, the small white houses with their blue shutters and its old fashioned beaches where reigns the atmosphere of the past, Noirmoutier has a family look.

The island would even have a kind of Angevins' district. Those would prefer to stay in the Bois de la Chaise, a wooded part of the island where summer mansions are concealed among trees. That part of Noirmoutier has beaches with blue and white beach huts. The landscape looks to be unchanged since 50 years. Movie directors made no mistake about it. The second episode of "Le Petit Nicolas" is rolled. Soon, Angers cinemas will screen Noirmoutier.

21 September, 2013

With stable tax rates and higher costs, savings could be one of the Angers municipal election topics

A promise of Jean-Luc Rotureau regarding the stability of the tax rates during his office as Angers mayor, once elected, raises the core of an issue no candidate has talked about and, maybe, will not do so in the months to come. If everyone should be ok with such an idea, that one has a consequence because, if it is implemented, the resources of Angers town hall will not increase or, at worst, may decrease. But the expenses are likely to raise because the costs of workforce and equipment (eventually, the price of money) will do so.

Face to resources which will not evolve and expenses which will hike, the only way to overcome the problem is to lower some expenses. And here the difficulty starts. What will be those expenses? Operating expenses (staff, administrative costs, social policies)? Capital expenses (investments, facilities)? The candidate has already said that the congress centre will not be built and only half of the second line of the trolley will be implemented. But will that be sufficient? What about the ice skating, the Maine banks reconquest?

These cuts are not very popular, above all in an election year but on the same time, they can be understood by inhabitants who already complain they are overwhelmed by state taxes which will raise next year. One of the characteristics of the next campaign should be could be : where are the savings?

20 September, 2013

Jean-Luc Rotureau speaks in favor of changes in ways to do politics and in resources management

 Next to his candidacy to Angers mayor office in March 2014, Jean-Luc Rotureau, gives a hint, in his blog, about the  sources, the great lines, and the objectives of his platform. One of the origins of his proposals is the necessity of a reappraisal about the lower resources Angers has, and will have.  In his statement, the candidate warns that some projects will have to be reconsidered in their planning (the second tramway line) even in their principle (the new congress centre). 

 Given that " a lot of our fellow citizens feel that they foot the bill for things in which they have no responsability", Mr Rotureau promises that "Tax rates will not increase" during his administration. In his pledge, the candidate speaks in favor of "a new way to do politics", scratching the current majority : "In 2014, democracy must be stronger, even inside a municipal team. The management of a city with 150 000 inhabitants does not belong to a political party" betting that "clannish or classical  approach are now has been".

If the candidate has in mind the closure of some Angers flagship companies (Act, Technicolor), his vision of what he will do in economics is not (yet?) detailed. The top priority given to employment must be precised by the means Mr Rotureau will use. The development of "landscape and heritage assets" could not be sufficient.  But the platform "will be enriched by Angers citizens before the municipal ballot".

Being candidate to Angers mayor office, Jean-Luc Rotureau enters in the "first division"

Announcing on September 20th his candidacy to the Angers municipal elections in March 2014, Jean-Luc Rotureau obliges the current mayor, Frédéric Béatse, to a primary inside the left political parties. A few months ago, such an idea was rejected by the Angers members of the Socialist Party, which is the majority of the city council. Doing so, Mr Rotureau has cut the links with the Angers mayor, his team and the Socialist Party. All of them having severely criticized his decision, the now former deputy-mayor - he dismissed from that function the same day - has immediately placed his candidacy under the political label "Left Centre".

Having talked to several political parties of the centre, Cap 21, Rassem-blement citoyen, Modem and Udi, Mr Rotureau said that the idea of that last party - the construction of a half tramway line for lack of resources - "was interesting", even if he didn't detailed where that half part should take place. Doing so, he broke away with ideas of the city council majority about major projects like the new line of tramway but also the future congress centre. Regarding the arrangement of his team, Jean-Luc Rotureau said that one will be "largely renewed" and will integrate persons of "different political parties". In a tribute to the past, he made a reference to the former Angers mayor, Jean Monnier, but not his successor, Jean-Claude Antonini, and the deputy mayor in charge of finances, André Despagnet, by not to the mayor.

If the comments of Angers right and centre to Mr Rotureau's decision were not all critical, the left reactions were on the other hand quite tough. Frédéric Béatse deplores the choice of his former deputy mayor and points out that he tried "relentlessly to build with him a program which matches the inhabitants wishes and that its door is still open" pointing out he was hoping that, in case of defeat, Mr Rotureau would withdraw. Others were less tactful. For the Ecologists, Gilles Mahé "disapproves" and fears that his colleague's choice will "scatter" the supports of the Left. For the Socialist Party spokesperson, Jean-Luc Rotureau "is not any longer united with the left forces [and that] his choice carries heavy consequences". As to Christophe Béchu, the main challenger, he said such a candidacy was "in line with the way Mr Béatse was elected mayor" and mentionned "the values and the involvment" of Jean-Luc Rotureau.

19 September, 2013

Until now, the municipal campaign looks focused on alliances than voters' expectations

Twenty four hours before Jean- Luc Rotureau, Angers deputy-mayor, and one of the key-men of the March 2014
municipal elections, will announce his decision to run, or to not run, for the mayor office, several left and centre parties made public, on the same day, their intention to be part of the campaign. If the Left Front officialized its decision to present a list in Angers with the choice to improve what is presentlty done in town regarding tranports or districts houses, it above all warned that there will not be alliance with Socialists (Frédéric Béatse's party) on the local level.

Bernadette Caillard-Humeau
On the centre, the Citizen Rally (formerly Cap 21), whose the spokesperson is Sophie Briand-Boucher, former town councillor, plans to invite the voters to think about a program aiming at improving the quality of life in the city. But that formation is also thinking of an alliance for the second run and has already identified three options : Mr Rotureau's list, the Modem and the Udi, these lasts belonging to the centre. Another former town councillor, but that one first deputy-mayor, Bernadette Caillard-Humeau, has even founded a new party, the New Democrat Ecology, she will introduce on September 20th.

Sophie Briand-Boucher
The dispersal of platforms will make necessary for many local leaders, maybe including the main contenders, Frédéric Béatse, current mayor and Christophe Béchu, Maine-et-Loire senator, his challenger, to settle alliances for the second run. The risk, for Angers inhabitants, is to move in the background the answers to their expectations.

18 September, 2013

Angers, always more praised for its quality of life than for its economy

If Angers has, once again, been honorably ranked by a survey about the quality of life for households. In its latest issue, the weekly L'Express, which has analysed the assets of fifty French towns through safety, environment, health, transports as well as cultural and sports facilities, "Angers has numerous qualities which make of it a city where it is good to live. Families vote for Angers". Nevertheless, it is not sure the economical climate is equally attractive.

Two news recently published by La Maison de l'Emploi and the Angers commercial court let glimpse that for people who would leave Paris for Angers in search of a new job, things are less favourable. From July 2012 until 2013, the rate of unemployment has increased near 11 % (10.8%). On the same period, the number of laid off employees for economical reasons has also increased by 8%. According to the statistics about temporary jobs, the figures are also declining. Between February 2012 and February 2013, they decreased -16% what is not good auspices for the months to come.

At the Angers commercial court, the activity is not better. The number of companies having declared difficulties to the jurisdiction has increased : 428 during the seven first months versus 372 during the same period of the previous year, i.e. +15%. And the number of employees having lost their jobs was 2 380 vs. 2 230, during the same time (i.e.+7%). Those figures and the mood they drag will fuel political debates in the months to come about the ways to put things right.

17 September, 2013

The Sunday openings of retail stores before Christmas and New Year between "symbol" and reality

After having constantly rejected the idea of a commercial activity in Angers on Sundays during Christmas and New Year, town hall has changed its mind. The news, a few days ago, announced by the president of the retail stores owners (Angers Daily News, September 11th), is confirmed by six local trade unions which, in a common press release, denounce a "U-turn" of Angers town hall and a calling into question of its historical opposition to Sundays opening. According to the trade-unions, the Sundays must remain "a symbol of rest, leisures and time dedicated to personal and family life".

The problem is the "symbol" looks to rise up against reality. It is visible that Angers is much more enlived on Sundays when people have something to do there. The recent Heritage Days attracted, once again, a lot of inhabitants and visitors around the monuments (where employees were working). When the down town streets host the mobile wooden huts for Christmas, they are all crowded on Sundays. So, the retail stores owners ask the right to open during those no working days considering it is unfair that wooden huts owners are allowed to do business. And in a few days, the yearly real-estate exhibition will receive thousands of visitors in a place made avaiblable by Angers authorities.

While the figures of unemployment rose again above 11% of the Angers active population, the Maine-et-
Credit pictures : Angers city
Loire Chamber of commerce and industry has submitted to town hall an authorization for city shops to open those two Sundays. In case of a positive answer, trade-unions warned that they would mobilize employees. The affluence in the streets these days would be a indication of their audience. Those didn't detailed if they would call to demonstrate on Sundays.

Bikers : a "green light" is in sight

Few by few, cycles are becoming, not queens of the streets but at least heirs. After Angers town hall lowered the maximum speed from 50 km/h to 30 km/h all over the city, road signs have been set up during the last weeks on traffic lights which authorize the bikers to turn right even if the signal is red. Most of those road signs are currently hiden by large strips of black sellotape but some of them have already been removed, and not necessarily by bikers.

The decrease of parking lots, the increase of fares in car parks with the new speed limit and now the new ease given to bikers indicate the will of Angers to master the number of vehicles crossing the city and, consecuently, the control of expenses dedicated to facilities for cars as well as the air quality. But, such a trend may generate new demands from cyclists.

The first of those could be the safety. A terrible accident which occured a few months ago near the roundabout at the bottom of Kennedy square, highlighted the necessity to revise the traffic rules and the layout of intersections in the city for security reasons. But, the main evolution to get is in the minds of cyclists and car drivers. Bikes are vehicles. That should force many car and bus drivers (who problably never use a bike), but also bikers themselves, to be more scrupulous : drivers for bikers, and bikers for pedestrians. Distinct lanes would sure be helpful.

16 September, 2013

A Georges Clooney's movie takes inspiration from a book written by the Maine-et-Loire senator Corinne Bouchoux

An American film starring Georges Clooney, planned to be screened in February 2014 and entitled "The monuments men", took a part of its sources in Maine-et-Loire, precisely in a book published in 2006 by Corinne Bouchoux, elected in 2011 senator of that department. Mrs Bouchoux, who got a doctorate in history in Angers university, wrote a biography of 100 pages about Rose Valland (1898-1980) who was attaché at the Jeu de Paume museum (Paris). In that place, where passed through numerous works of art stolen by the German army during the second world war, Rose Valland began secretly to record more than 20 000 pieces brought to that museum.

The copyrights of Mrs Bouchoux have been bought by a Texan
bilionnaire, Robert Edsel, who did the same with other books and wrote "The Monuments men : allied heroes, nazi thieves and the greatest treasure hunt in history", later introduced to Georges Clooney. Upon that story, that one decided to make a movie in which he will be one of the actors, by Cate Blanchet, Matt Damon and Jean Dujardin' sides. The fate of works of arts stolen in French museums, but also to French Jewish families, had already been filmed by the American director, John Frankenheimer ("The train"), in 1964.

It is said in the daily Ouest-France that Mrs Bouchoux "dreams" of Georges Clooney's presence in Angers for the first of the movie. For getting his coming, the ecologist senator would have to tug at the heartstring of the actor. That one, democrat, is involved in many humanitarian causes and has supported the right to marriage for same sex persons, something Mrs Bouchoux had also defended.

15 September, 2013

Pierre, "taxi-biker"

A new mode of transports has recently taken place in Angers. It is new from a technical aspect, but, above all, because of the atmosphere it drags behind him and on board. A taxi-bike is running throughout the city since the end of summer-break. Pierre is recently involved in that new business that will surely seduce a lot of Angers inhabitants and visitors, not only for the competitive cost of the fares (5 euros to go from down town to Saint-Nicolas park) but also for their charms.

Silently and smoothly, "the taxi-bike goes where cars can't go", points out Pierre whose vehicle looks especially suited for people wishing to rejoin down town quickly for business or leisure. In that last field, the new service gives to travellers a privilegied view on the urban landscape without that impression of confinement they may have, sat at the back of a cab, in the middle of traffic jams. Moreover, using Pierre's vehicle, they get "live" the sounds, the smells and the temperature of the places like a simple pedestrian.

And, in case of cold weather, Pierre plans to give to his customers the comfort of a heating blanket as
if they were passengers in a carriage. On that sunny and mild September 15th, when Heritage Day attracted people in town, Pierre drove his elegant taxi-cab along the Maine, leaving the bikers on their own lane and respectfully followed by cars. The little vehicle awakes pedestrians, bikers' and even car drivers' interest. These lasts should take care. While the speed limit has recently been lowered at 30 km per hour all over the city, Pierre could travel as fast as cars!

The Angers mayor office candidates through their "starting-blogs"

During the next months, Angers will be the theatre of tough confrontations between candidates to the mayor office. A lot of arguments will be discussed and all the means will be used to strenghen the competitors' links with the population. Among them, there are the blogs. Frédéric Béatse, Christophe Béchu, Laurent Gérault and Jean-Luc Rotureau, likely candidates, each has his blog. But the attractiveness of those is far from to be the same.

The blog of the left candidates, Frédéric Béatse and Jean-Luc Rotureau, looks to be better designed.  Regarding the Angers mayor's blog, its quality is maybe due to the former job of Mr Béatse who was a professional in internet and run its own company. The blog is professionnal with pictures, news, sections as well as numerous links with social networks and other local websites. Regarding Mr Rotureau, the blog releases through pictures of the man sympathy and closeness which could be a difference with the mayor's blog, the first pointing out the man's skills, the second the character.

The center and conservatives, likely and official, candidates have blogs of a lower quality. Christophe Béchu appears in a institutional light : those of senator and president of the Conseil général. The candidate to the mayor office shares the blog with Catherine Deroche, herself Maine-et-Loire senator. That stance introduces a distance the candidate should be aware because in a local election, voters give price to closeness. The most perfectible blog is surely the one of Laurent Gérault. Old fashioned and without any friendliness, it should be completely redesigned.

These blogs surely do not sum up the character  and the qualities of their authors but they give their image. And the image is, today, something important in elections time.

14 September, 2013

The Heritage Days lift a corner of the veil on unexpected Angers places and people

The Heritage Days, which take place in Angers on September 14th and 15th, give to visitors, and among them  inhabitants, the opportunity to discover famous places because of their architecture, history or locations. At the same time, others testimonies make the past to resurface and allow to discover some Angevins under a new light.

That is the case in Valdemaine street where an old hats factory welcomes visitors during the event. "I didn't have the slightest idea about what was behind that door", points out an old resident who, nevertheless, walks daily along an anonymous building. "A hats manufacture was set there and produced items for the French and English markets until the end of the 50's". 

Founded in 1760 in Angers, the hat business was during a long time dedicated to men only, British and French. "So English langiuage was commonly used here", recalls one of the hosts. Under large windows similar to those of conservatories, thousands of headgears for men and women, some serious, others imaginative, were assembled there and among them, perhaps the famous bowler hat

But that quiet place also shelters a secret, or at least à discreet society : the Rosicrucianism. Near pictures about the former working place, personal computers, reviews and books display the ideas of that community. A room where Angers Rosicrucians are gathered among their symbols is accessible. Rosicrucianism is said to have been founded in late medieval Germany. It is a philosophical and humanistic fraternal organization devoted to "the study of the elusive mysteries of life and the universe". The Heritage days reveal forgotten places and unexpected people.

13 September, 2013

Stores in stock

The young man is dumb-founded. The Orange store, located for year at the corner of Saint-Julien street and Foch boulevard, is closed. On Friday evening, other shops around are opened and welcome their first customers of the weekend. "How can that happen?", wonders the man who leaves the place after he tried to open the door in spite of the panels which indicate the commercial lease is free.

The site is probably among the most frequented of the town but has not (yet?) met its successor. The problem is other commercial sites around are also closed. Boisnet, Roë, Lices streets are some of the ways where iron curtains have been lowered, clear symbols of the economic conditions. In other cases, a simple letter on the shop front indicates the business has been interrupted for holidays "until September 2nd", more than ten days ago...

Some store owners have choosen to liquidate their business, and it's not always for retirement or a change of adress. And in some others, the discount period has not yet absorbed the summer items now for sale in the streets. The season is gone. A season or an age?