28 February, 2014

The 21 Foch, a "micro hotel" in a big mansion

Le "21 Foch", un nouvel établissement membre de la chaîne internationale Chateaux and Hotels Collection, vient tout juste d'ouvrir ses portes. Les débuts sont prometteurs pour Thomas Couet, le responsable des lieux dont les premiers clients sont venus du monde entier. L'esprit de cet ancienne maison de maître semble avoir rejailli sur le service que le "21 Foch" veut apporter à ses hôtes qui doivent se sentir dans un hôtel... particulier.

Opened 15 days ago, the "21 Foch" has taken a good start. "The first week we were already full. We took benefit from the latest Salon du végétal which led to us customers from England, Nederlands and Russia", says the hotel manager, Thomas Couet. The "21 Foch" is a result of a long project Mr. Couet, nevertheless young, had in mind. "Visiting Ireland, a country where I lived, I stumbled upon charming hotels in the countryside. I felt there like at home. So I got the idea to do the same in France. I want the guests do not feel they are in a hotel in the 21 Foch".

Thomas, visited the place thanks to Pascal Favre d'Anne, chef of the Angers eponym retaurant, a first star of the Michelin guide, he met by chance 18 months ago."I had the project but not the place. He knew the place but had not the project", remembers Mr. Couet. After ten months of works, that former mansion (600 m2) empty for ten years but with an old-faschioned character, is become a "micro hotel" (14 rooms), but top of the range. The "21 Foch" is opened 24 hours a day and is equipped with cable television, strong box, room service, wifi, internet terminal, high-flow and lift, that one soon adorned with trompe-l'oeil paintings. "We had a lot of work at the very beginning and some details have to be adjusted. Within a few weeks, all wil be set up".

From the windows, the customers have in view the green ribbon of the tramway. Thanks to the 21 Foch, and later the new commercial gallery the Conseil général is building, the boulevard should find again a new balance. The establishment, visible on Facebook and member of the Chateaux and Hotels Collection, a 600 members chain in 16 countries, run by Alain Ducasse, an internationally recognized chef, will be officially inaugurated at the end of March. "I don't want it like a bash", warns Thomas Couet. And moreover, the future Angers mayor is not known.

27 February, 2014

An opinion poll considers the outcome of a duel between left and right as unpredictable

Selon un récent sondage, il est très difficile de dire qui, de Frédéric Béatse ou de Christophe Béchu, l'emportera en cas de face à face au second tour des élections municipales. En 2008, le maire sortant ne l'avait emporté que de quelques centaines de voix. L'écart pourrait être encore plus faible pour son successeur en mars prochain.

According to a new poll published on February 25th by Election Scope, an institute dedicated to electoral
forecasts based on political and economical datas, the outcome of the second round of the next Angers municipal elections will be very close between Frédéric Béatse and Christophe Béchu, socialist and conservative candidates. If Mr. Béatse's score would be a little bit higher than the one of Mr. Béchu, with 50.3% of the votes after the second round, the institute considers the difference doesn't allow to tell who is going to win. According to the specialists of Election Scope, the situation is "too close to call".

The outcome of the ballots should even be unpredictable for the left as for the right because of divisions and resentments on the two political sides. On the right, Christophe Béchu is not sure to get the votes of Front national supporters, neither those of Laurent Gérault's followers, both of them unable to go on for the second round. On the left, Jean-Luc Rotureau, ousted by the Parti socialiste, who would get 14% of the votes on the first round, should be able to go on for the second one.

According to the institute, six factors will influence the first round : the previous results of 2008, the quality of the municipal management, socio-demography and real-estate structure, holding of multiple offices, economic situation and the popularity of the Republic president. The second round is first influenced by the presence of two, three or more candidates. In 2008, only 667 votes decided between Jean-Claude Antonini (50.61%) and Christophe Béchu (49.39%). The margin in March 2014 could be even more narrow.

26 February, 2014

The second tramway route becomes a way scattered with traps, for candidates to municipal elections

Le tracé de la seconde ligne de tramway est en passe de devenir un sujet important dans l'esprit des candidats, si ce n'est des habitants. Des riverains potentiels de la seconde ligne expriment leur mécontentement et sont écoutés. Tout ne roule pas comme sur des rails. 

The route of the second tramway line is probably one of the most important topics the candidates may have in mind. After residents and retail store owners of the La Doutre district got from Christophe Béchu, the conservative candidate to the next municipal elections, that the route he first planned be changed, other groups of inhabitants and professional, in other districts, warned that some of the parts of the future line will also have to be reconsidered.

The Visitation square residents and store owners expressed their worries after Frédéric Béatse, socialist candidate to Angers mayor office, announced that the route would go through their district. The current mayor immediately acceded to their wish - the idea has been given up - while a meeting between him and those was planned on Thursday. Close to the inhabitants of the Visitation square, those of the Académie square also claimed that they were not satisfied with the project. In both cases, the prospect of lenghty works of the second line probably explain their standpoint.

One of Mr. Béatse's opponents, Bernard Dupré, running-mate of Christophe Béchu, has just after made use of those displeasure pointing out that the mayor "announces that one of the two routes planned in his campaign leaflet has been given up. But a few days before, he said that a tramway route could not be changed according to the win". The second tramway scheme appears to be an opportunity for candidates to make derail their challengers.

Laurent Gérault spares left candidates and warns that victory goes through the centre

Le candidat centriste aux élections municipales, Laurent Gérault considère que l'actuel président de l'agglomération  Angers Loire Métropole, Jean-Claude Antonini, ainsi que le président du Conseil général, lui aussi candidat aux échéances des 23 et 30 mars, Christophe Béchu, étaient tous deux responsables du déclassement de la ville. Dans cette interview, le candidat centriste ne semble pas en cause deux de ses challengers de gauche, Fréréric Béatse et Jean-Luc Rotureau. 

Laurent Gérault, the centrist candidate to the March 23 et 30 municipal elections, refuses to come out in favour of Jean-Claude Antonini, former Angers mayor and president of the agglomeration community, or Christophe Béchu, president of the General Council of Maine-et-Loire.

According to Mr. Gérault, their "squabble" is at the origin of the "drop of the town" in the compe-tition between Western territories for growth, jobs and fame, he said in the second of the interviews published by the daily Ouest-France during the electoral competition. For Mr. Gérault, that was visible in the Technicolor case in which the two authorities did the opposite of what both they recommended. "While both urged to involve themselves in a hunt in pack at the regional level, they were rather mobilized to fight each other", he deplored.

The candidate, who apparently didn't directly criticize the current Angers mayor,  didn't act differently with Jean-Luc Rotureau, one of his left challengers. He focused his critics towards André Despagnet, current deputy mayor in charge of finances, who choose to support Mr. Rotureau, after having elaborated the budget of Angers city for 2014. "Having planned the capital expenses and the increase of taxes, he coudn't not withdraw. Honestly, that shocked me", a standpoint suggesting that the current mayor was rather betrayed.

Anticipating the second round of the municipal elections, the centrist also pointed out that "nobody will win without the centre", a clear signal to Mr. Béatse and Mr. Rotureau, he never accused, and Mr. Béchu, about his availability to talk with them about the possible conditions of his support.

25 February, 2014

Centrists and conservatives : power struggle don't get well with rapprochement

La dernière séance du conseil municipal avant les élections des 23 et 30 mars a été l'occasion d'hommages rendus aux plus anciens des conseillers municipaux, au premier rang desquels, le prédécesseur de Frédéric Béatse, Jean-Claude Antonini. Dans l'autre camp, il se dit que des amabilités d'un tout autre genre auraient été échangées. Cela augurerait de rapprochements difficiles entre les deux tours. 

Laurent Gérault
If the latest session of the city council was an opportunity for marks of courtesy to some of the elder town councillors, and among them Jean-Claude Antonini, former Angers mayor, according to some majority town councillors, other statements were not so kind, and especially those between members of the minority, on one side those who choose to support Christophe Béchu and one the other side, the centrist Laurent Gérault, Mr. Béchu's challenger.

Gaétan Dirand
In such a case, these tough talks would not predict friendly relationships between Christophe Béchu and Laurent Gérault's teams and supporters. If the conservative candidate is likely to be the winner of the first round, his score (36%) is nevertheless below the one he recorded in the previous elections (almost 46%) at a time when centrists and conservatives were allies. Mr. Gérault is neither in a favourable position.

Christophe Béchu
As an outsider on the right side, his score (5%) is much more lower than the score of Jean-Luc Rotureau (14%), the left outsider and, he comes even after Gaétan Dirand, the far right candidate (7%). Moreover, the surveys notice Laurent Gérault is rather unknown by inhabitants. The difficult relationship he has with Mr. Béchu will be difficult to overcome. The conservative leader gave a negative answer to Laurent Gérault when they were talking of strategy in front of the left side.

But, with his 36% and the 5% of the centrist, Christophe Béchu has no a large electoral reserves given he will not call far right voters and all centrists electors are not sure to join him. So the rapprochement Frédéric Béatse tried to launch with Jean-Luc Rotureau' supporters could be followed by a similar manoeuvre between Christophe Béchu and Laurent Gérault's followers.

"Piece of (Sani's) cakes"

Si la pâtisserie française a fait florès outre-Manche, l'inverse pourrait devenir vrai. Une entreprise angevine est passée maître dans l'art de réaliser des gâteaux confectionnés comme des oeuvres d'art. Après avoir commencé dans un laboratoire, Sani's cakes a maintenant pignon sur rue.

Who said that French were not fond of English pastries? The presence, since a few months, of Sani's cakes on Lardin de Musset street, is the clue of the opposite. Manuel and Sani Golfier who run the store were already settled in Angers but were only accessible through internet. The growth of their business, started a few years ago, when pastries preparation was the hobby of Mrs. Golfier who shared it through a blog. The interest for that king of sweets attracted readers and customers.

Credit pictures : Sani's cakes
Sani's cakes, "the specialist of wedding cakes" has a double source of
inspiration. One French and the other English. "We produce pastries with artistic decorations English love", says Mr. Golfier while "our cakes are also influenced by the Marie-Antoinette style"*. The combination of that double inspiration is not only the visible part of the cake. "We have also to fit the requirements of our customers whether French or English" adding "French generally love less sugar based pastries unlike the English who are fond of them".

The consumers are far from being located in Angers. Sani's cakes delivers to customers around 250 kms from Angers. Many cakes have been preceded by inquiries about the taste of the customers and sometimes of tasting. Those depends on the age of the person recipient of the cake. "For a young girl, we recently prepared a cake tasting Kinder and, for a lady, we made a cake flavored to Bailey's".

Weddings, baptisms, birthdays are the most frequent orders Sani's cakes receives. Some of our deliveries are about a family, others for 300 persons! "But everything in the cake is edible", points out Manuel Golfier who nevertheless, when the cake was a giant one, never hid somebody in one of them!

* It was said that Marie-Antoinette, learning the eruption of the French revolution because of bread shortages had stated "Let them eat cake".

Marlène, an English air coming from... Germany

Beaucoup de magasins angevins font usage de mots anglais pour accroître leur visibilité. Dans le cas de Marlène, salon de coiffure situé boulevard Carnot, l'usage, qui remonte maintenant à quelques années, vient de l'expérience professionnelle que sa propriétaire a acquise en... Allemagne. 

If in the universe of cosmetics, a lot, if not, most of the brands come from English speaking countries. So the professionals using them have no other choice than to resign themselves to it. But this is apparently not the case of Marlène Gennies, settled since seven years on Carnot boulevard under his original qualification "Hair and make-up artist", because that is title given to those professional in... Germany. Mrs. Gennies lived and worked in Berlin for more than four years and was there in charge, during that period, of the hair and make-up tasks for actors playing in video and advertising clips.

So the display of his professional qualification "is at the same time a mark of faithfullness and a will to be different with the other hairstyling salons existing in Angers", she says. That didn't triggered any comments from his customers or the neighbouring stores. All have no problem to understand the "Hair and make-up artist". The use of that sentence may also have a taste of victory for Marlène Gennies who had to fight to get the acknowledgment of the skills and diploma she got on the other side of the Rhine while if she deserved a French national title in hairdressing in 2005.

In place since 2007, the red sentence "Marlène hair and make-up artist" is totally mixed up with the other stores of the Carnot boulevard and will be, for a long while, still "in the hair".

24 February, 2014

Frédéric Béatse reduces political differences with Jean-Luc Rotureau

Au fur et à mesure que le premier tour des élections municipales va s'approcher, les candidats auront de plus en plus d'occasions de se différencier les uns des autres. Interrogé par Ouest-France, Frédéric Béatse a gommé ses différences politiques avec Jean-Luc Rotureau, son adversaire de gauche et souligné que la tactique de celui de droite reposait sur une volonté de clivage sur tous les sujets tels que le projet Rives Nouvelles ou le tramway.

As the 1st round of municipal elections is getting closer, Angers medias try to make appear some differences between candidates and to push them into criticizing the platforms of their adversaries. Frédéric Béatse was interviewed on February 24th by the daily Ouest-France and first tried to fill his political differences with his left challenger Jean-Luc Rotureau.

The candidate tried to make understand to Mr. Rotureau's supporters they will not have other choice than to vote for himself on the second round. After a recent poll noticed that, on the left, scores were largely in his favour (30% for the current Angers mayor and 14% for his former deputy-mayor), Frédéric Béatse said that his score and the one of Mr. Rotureau "were not tight but important, unlike what had been said". Regarding the political standpoint, Mr. Béatse said he "didn't see a major difference between him and Mr. Rotureau on a wide array of issues, except the one of the global vision of Angers future".

The main reproaches were aimed at Christophe Béchu, the conservative candidate, Frédéric Béatse analyzed that his challenger was attempting, "about the Maine New Banks scheme, as on other projects, to split from his challengers in order to become audible during the electoral campaign. it was also the case with the tramway. That is rather reassuring because, regarding the river settlements, our project is the only one to be elaborated. The pieces of the puzzle are starting to fit together".

The current mayor was also questioned about the Technicolor case and, if he admitted "not to be sure of the success or the failure of the completion of the policy aiming at a new industrialization of the site", pointed out that "the choice that have been made about the buyback of the area illustrated a political will which is said to be lacking in public life". Mr. Béatse also unveiled a part of his character, saying that he "didn't seek to be loved by everyone and that the mayor office, as a soccer referee, needed a strong mindset".

22 February, 2014

Municipal elections : a religion shows its faith

Alors que l'issue des élections municipales est loin d'être acquise, l'un des colistiers d'un candidat et actuel conseiller municipal, convaincu de la victoire de son leader, entrevoit une carrière politique, à Angers et au-delà. L'élu angevin se confie également sur son identité ethnico-religieuse et aborde la place de sa confession dans la ville. Apparemment une première dans la ligne de conduite d'élus municipaux, dont les électeurs sont croyants, athées, voire anti-religieux.

If the outcome of the Angers municipal elections is not predictable, in the main platforms some running-mates do not have doubts about the chances of their leader. It seems to be the case of a current town councillor who, in an interview published in a local media, is said to be candidate to more important tasks in the team he belongs to, in case of reelection. Until now simple town councillor, that person aims to a political office at Angers Loire Métropole scale. The display of such an ambition might appear a little bit premature given the first round will not take place before one month. But, this is not the only questionable aspect of the interview.

The political representative is said by the media that his professional mission is now over and to have found "his potential successor", a colleague currently working abroad. One may conjecture that this one has been informed about his new job in Angers and that his future co-workers have been told by other means than press of such a change.

But the most intriguing content of the interview is the definition that town councillor gives of himself : based on ethnic and religion. Of course, the individual is, as any other political representative, entitled to have religious convictions. Nevertheless, the number of elected persons, whatever be their denominational believes, having publicly stated that religion defines their identities, is unusual in the Angers political context. Have Frédéric Béatse, Christophe Béchu, Laurent Gérault, Jean-Luc Rotureau or their running mates, made allusion to their religious opinion (if they have one) as a reference in their public identity? But, the person goes further in the interview.

If he may think that the current place of worship for his coreligionists is unacceptable in Angers, is the job of a republican representative to promote erections of ecclesial buildings in the different districts? After the secularism tree of Lorraine square was beheaded twice, Angers political leaders should distance themselves with religious opinions which have nothing to do with the management of a city.

20 February, 2014

A first debate with two visions

Le 1er des deux débats électoraux qui s'est tenu le 19 février a confirmé l'importance de l'empoi dans les préoccupations des Angevins mais également fait apparaître les pouvoirs très relatifs dont un maire disposait à ce sujet. Deux visions du futur se sont également dessinées. Selon l'une, la situation économique actuelle commande des choix budgétaires. Selon l'autre, Angers doit aller de l'avant car un repli sur soi serait fatal pour l'économie et l'emploi.

Employment, energy, tramway and Maine banks as well as, implicitly, the finances of the town have been the main topics of the 1st public debate between most of the leaders of the lists competing for the Angers municipal elections. Questionned about the voters' intentions appeared in a poll, all candidates were cautious because, as Christophe Béchu pointed out, "the interest of people for the elections is going to take shape now".

Because the number of joblesses increased by 10% in the last year, because the figures of job offers have decreased by 9% and because the number of bankrupcies have soared by 25% between 2012 and 2013, for all of the political representatives, the relationships with the inhabitants make appear that employment is the main stake even if, during the debate, it became clear that the mayor will not have an important leverage.

For most of them, that economic situation makes necessary to lower the ambitions of the city for the next term and to gather the efforts of territorial authorities to get an improved situation. Laurent Gérault and Jean-Luc Rotureau were on the same line saying that it was necessary to postpone some investments and suggesting to dedicate the savings to innovation. Frédéric Béatse was on a rather confident mood. According to the current Angers mayor, "we need to be different with the others to get attractiveness" and Angers New Banks must be considered rather as an investment than a expense. That lead Christophe Béchu to denounce "the ineffectiveness of schemes planned for 30 years".

The trolley gave opportunity to some sparrings between candidates. Mr. Béatse critized Mr. Béchu about the route of the facility : "The route of the tramway is something serious, one cannot change if if the wind is turning" a clear allusion to the recent change of Christophe Béchu after the claims of La Doutre inhabitants and retail store owners regarding the second line. That one had, previously, claimed that the Biopole settled by the last municipal team will demand new financial resources to run.

In their conclusions the two main candidates, Frédéric Béatse and Christophe Béchu were on a very different vision. According to the first, "the municipal elections are not the most important stake, what is essential is Angers by the end of six years" while, for the second, "the city needs a breathe after 37 years without alternative".

18 February, 2014

Christophe Béchu changes the pace of his campaign and the route of the tramway

Christophe Béchu accélère le rythme de sa campagne. Les mesures qui seront mises en oeuvre si sa liste Angers pour vous est élue ont été éditées dans un fascicule en cours de distribution et 16 réunions publiques se tiendront entre le 3 et le 21 mars. Les protestations émises par les commerçants de La Doutre à propos du tracé de la seconde ligne de tramway l'ont conduit à changer celui-ci. Un nouveau pont sur la Maine devra être construit, "sans coût supplémentaire".

The initial project
Christophe Béchu speeds up the pace of his campaign. The programme which will be implemented by Angers pour vous if that list gets the majority of the city council is currently delivered all over Angers. About 80 000 copies have been printed. And 16 meetings of Mr. Béchu in the different districts of Angers between March 3rd and 21st are planned. In his document, the candidate has also considered the critics expressed by the La Doutre retail store owners regarding the route he suggested for the second tramway line.

That one, which was due to cross the Maine on the Verdun bridge, has finally be withdrawn. "It was a mistake", admitted Christophe Béchu who stated that the route was "over detailed". Nevertheless, the candidates keeps the idea of a connection between the two lines at Molière square and includes the construction of a new bridge (starting from the Arts et Métiers avenue) given the fact the line will not use the Verdun one. But that will be done "for the same cost because the route is shorter", promises Mr. Béchu who, consecuently, has changed the outline of his project.

The new project
In his programme, the candidate also announces his firts measures, once elected and, among them an audit about the city finances and a corrective budget leading to "savings and decrease of expenses" while the "Angers tax rates will not be increased during the term". The reconquest of the Maine banks, considered as "necessary", will consist in a cover of the speedway between "the bottom of the castle" (around the Quai Ligny) and the Molière square. On the security issue, Angers pour vous will extend video-monitoring. The attractiveness of the Angers centre will be strenghened with the arrival of new brands.

17 February, 2014

Laurent Gérault introduces his running-mates and takes equidistance from left and right

Servir Angers, la liste centriste, est à son tour en ordre de marche. Ses 55 membres sont peut être les derniers à avoir été présentés. Le suspens a pris fin dimanche au "Café des orfèvres"... Dans leurs dernières propositions, les centristes angevins paraissent se tenir à équidistance entre gauche et droite qu'ils renvoient dos à dos. 

The suspens ended in the Café des orfèvres. With the introduction, last Monday, of the 55 persons constituting  the list Servir Angers, the centrists are now ready to involve in the electoral battle for the municipal elections even if it could be, among the main challengers, the last to be constituted. The main goal of Servir Angers is consistent with its  name : "to devise and to release proposals answering to the daily worries of Angevins... especially in economy and employment".

Logically the centrist candidate, Laurent Gérault, through his proposals, wants to take place between proposals of both left and right platforms. The means of transportation give him an opportunity to criticize Frédéric Béatse as well as Christophe Béchu : "the free transport on weekends is 3 to 4 times cheaper than the running of a new ice skating (Mr. Béatse plans to set up) or a new museum (an idea of Mr. Béchu)" writes Mr. Gérault in his proposals about ecology.

The tramway is also a way for Mr Gérault to be distinguished from other candidates. The route he suggests for the trolley is also different from those planned by his rivals. Laurent Gérault wants to extend the first tramway line until the Pierre Cointreau Cci centre, then the Justices district. But above all, the centrist wants "to bring back together the left bank and the right bank (of the Maine, not of policy)". Their watchword is "not to asphyxiate La Doutre (the district Christophe Béchu wants to go through) and the railway station (Frédéric Béatse plans to be served)".

The main running-mates of Mr. Gérault are already gathered like the organization chart of a company : some would work for economy and employement (a field the centristssays they will take on with "modesty"). Others will be involved in the finances "management" while others will join the organization and attractiveness or ecology teams.

16 February, 2014

Ambitions and munitions for the first public electoral debate about economy and employment

La campagne électorale en vue des élections municipales des 23 et 30 mars prochains va "entrer dans le dur" avec le premier des deux débats publics entre tous les candidats prévu le 19 février au théatre Le Quai. Si, jusqu'à présent, les leaders des listes en présence ont pu critiquer, souvent par personnes interposées, les projets de leurs adversaires, ils vont pouvoir ce soir-là le faire en face à face. Les principaux thèmes de la soirée - économie et emploi- s'y prêtent. Tous les candidats ont pris date de se retrouver dans le "Forum des arts vivants"...

With the public debate which shall take place on February 19th at the Le Quai theatre, the electoral campaign for the municipal elections, planned on March 23th and 30th, will be in full swing. Until now, the different leaders of the nine competing lists, were able to display their platforms individually and at a distance away. If, from time to time, critics were expressed through main running-mates, now the leaders will be in position to directly attack the projects of their challengers, what could, logically, enhance the interest of people for that political event.

Not all the leaders will take part to that public debate, organized by three local medias symbolic of some of the current news channel : Angers Mag for the web, Angers télé, for tv channel and Le Courrier de l'Ouest for the printed press. Except the Front national candidate, Gaétan Dirand, out of Angers for professionnal purposes, all the other leaders will be on the scene of the Forum des arts vivants, a name which maybe predicts a lively evening. On the left, Frédéric Béatse (supported by the Parti socialiste, Parti communiste français and Europe-Ecologie-Les-Verts), Jean-Luc Rotureau and Nathalie Sevaux (both supported by different parties of Divers gauche), Martin Niveau, Marie-Josée Faligant (all from far left parties) have said they will be there. For the centre, Laurent Gérault, who has just introduced his running-mates, will in. The right will be represented by Christophe Béchu.

The topics of that evening are probably the most important of the campaign and candidates have already largely dedicated a large part of their time to them : economy and employment, but also infrastructures. Those should normally lead the spokespersons to tackle the financial issues about which Jean-Luc Rotureau had promised he would give figures and graphes, demonstrating the opportunity to lower ambitions along the next term. Another evening is planned on March 19th, just a fex days before the first round.

Avec le débat public qui se tiendra le 19 février au théâtre Le Quai, la campagne électorale pour les élections municipales prévues les 23 et 30 mars, va battre son plein. Jusqu'à présent, les différents leaders des neuf listes en concurrence pouvaient critiquer les programmes de leurs adversaires un à un et à distance. Si, de temps à autre, des critiques étaient exprimées par l'intermédiaire des principaux colistiers, maintenant, les leaders seront en mesure d'attaquer les projets de leurs challengers ce qui, en tout logique, devrait accroître l'intérêt de la campagne auprès du public.

Tous les leaders des listes ne prendront pas part à ce débat organisé par les représentants les plus symboliques des modes actuels d'information que sont internet, la télévision et la presse papier. 

Les sujets de la soirée sont probablement les plus importants de la campagne et les candidats leur ont déjà consacré une large part de leur temps : l'économie et l'emploi ainsi que les infrastructures ce qui, logiquement devaient conduire les participants à aborder le financement de celles-ci. Jean-Luc Rotureau avait d'ailleurs promis qu'il produirait à leur sujet des chiffres et des graphiques reflétant la nécessité de modérer les ambitions de la prochaine mandature.  Un second débat est prévu le 19 mars, à quelques jours du premier tour.

15 February, 2014

The Maine part of the town

Les pluies continues qui se sont abattues sur l'Ouest de la France au cours des dernières semaines commencent à "se refléter' dans la Maine. Certains des accès périphériques du parc Balzac sont fermés et certains des quais de la Maine sont recouverts par les eaux. Ce phénomène, à la fois esthétique et régulier, a-t-il été intégré dans le projet des Rives nouvelles?

The abundant precipitations over Angers, as the Western part of France, during the last weeks, start to be noticed in the surroundings of the Maine river. The Balzac park, a favourite place for walkers, runners and bikers, regularly flooded in winters, has now its paths closed because of the water. The disruption in minds of some joggers who choose to wear pink washing-up gloves was real... And, if water rises, the Balzac car park will become soon impracticable.

The Maine quays and banks are now invisible. The barges in renovation in front of the universitarian library are close to the level of the speed way what might lead authorities to drown its underground sections. The barges along the Carmes quay are now inaccessible, their ramps being covered by water. And for sure, the floating pizzeria, "L'eau à la bouche", has a name paradoxically suited to the current situation. People living in barges moored to the Savatte quay have no other choice but to use a dinghy to reach the bank.

Angers looks to be a little Venice, something the design team of the New banks of Maine scheme has maybe not considered. The plants layouts, the sandy paths and the electrical networks along the banks could be affected by the rise of the river. When the Maine will be out of its bed, it will to late for wake up!

14 February, 2014

Frédéric Béatse and Christophe Béchu : geographic approach versus thematic outlook

Frédéric Béatse et Christophe Béchu ne partagent pas la même vision d'Angers. Mais la campagne électorale illustre aussi que leur présentation des questions à traiter diffère. Là où l'un parait privilégier un traitement quartier par quartier, l'autre semble plus enclin à considérer qu'il faut avancer les projets thème par thème. 

If Frédéric Béatse and Christophe Béchu have distinct visions about Angers future, they may also have different strategies to conquer the majority of the future Angers town council. While the Ump candidate (conservative) choose to settle his committee room in one of the most bustling ways of Angers, the Voltaire street, his Ps challenger (labour) opted for offices in the some of the main district of the town. Another difference may appear in the different manners the two candidates display their respective programmes. 

Frédéric Béatse choose to detail his ideas more geogra-phically than by issue while Christophe Béchu is doing the opposite. Few by few, the Aimer Angers page dedicated to the current mayor's campaign makes appear the proposals of Mr. Béatse quarter after quater : Angers centre, Belle-Beille and now Angers South. On the opposite the Angers pour vous website tackles the different fields Mr. Béchu considers they have to be dealt, the last one being the streets. 

"The conditions of the ways, of the pavements, the cleanliness, the collection of household garbages are important stakes for Angevins. Those problems must find tangible and quick answers", explains Christophe Béchu in an insight about the daily life of Angers inhabitants. On the web site of his platform, Frédéric Béatse precise the layouts he plans for the Southern district of the city : "the organisation of squares, cyclable lanes and the renovation of streets", illustrating the fact through the details of their respective programmes, the two candidates may share identical standpoints. 

Hopefully, the two candidates several times reaffirmer common values. Christophe Béchu supporter Frédéric Béatse in his will to fight extremisms when the tree symbol of secularism was twice beheaded. And Frédéric Béatse has just supported Christophe Béchu after one of his volunteers was assaulted during a poster campaign. 

13 February, 2014

Jean-Luc Rotureau mentions an unfavourable first roud outcome and his belief that will not occur

A deux jours d'intervalle, le candidat à la mairie d'Angers a indiqué qu'en cas de troisième place après le 1er tour, il se retirerait, disant dans le même qu'il ne croyait pas à cette hypothèse. Puis il a présenté la partie centrale de son projet consacré à l'économie fondée sur de nouvelles relations avec les entreprises. La proximité de ces deux annonces ne risque-t-elle pas d'en brouiller le sens?

The last messages of Jean-Luc Rotureau could be a little blurred. "If I'm third. I go out. Except if [the outcome of the 1st round of the municipal elections] is able to go either way. Rotureau, you will never hear talk of him", he said on February 11th. But, two days later, the candidate to Angers mayor office disclosed a central part of  his programme regarding economy.

The promise to definitely back off in case of a third rank, and not defeat, is unusual. Has Mr. Rotureau got the results of an opinion poll? And what his running-mates, and his supporters, will think about it? That position is above all incomprehensible given the candidate predicts he will get between 17 and 20% of the votes, so an opportunity to influence the policy of the next Angers town council.

Another part of his announcement would indicate that, rather than the proportion of votes he would get, it is
the hypothsesis to be behind Frédéric Béatse (the current Angers mayor elected after Jean-Claude Antonini's resignation while Jean-Luc Rotureau thought he was entrusted to get that office) which led him to indicate what he would do. His resentment against Mr. Antonini's heir looks still acute. Morover, such a calculation doest not fit with the rules of elections which state that candidates having more than 10% of the votes may keep going for the second round.

That idea is not especially favourable to Frédéric Béatse because Mr. Rotureau didn't say he would call his supporters to vote for the current mayor. The risk of a loss of votes was not eluded by Luc Belot, current deputy-mayor and running-mate of Frédéric Béatse who said about Jean-Luc Rotureau : "I expect... he will support the left list arrived first [after the first round]". But that is a little bit tactlessly, because Mr. Belot makes reference to the primaries'rules stating that the left candidate arriving in third rank has to withdraw, primaries he had refused.

Jean-Luc Rotureau plans actions to make Angers more attractive and (econo-mically) more lively. He promises he will more largely support the local entrepreneurship and that a new deal between local authorities and companies will be established through regular meetings between the mayor and the managers. About the commerce in down town, the candidate plans to open a covered food market and a new commercial facility in the post office building.

12 February, 2014

The last Plantagenet king of England's remains are going to talk

Alors que leur sort était resté un mystère pendant plus de 500 ans, les restes de Richard III, dernier roi de la dynastie Plantagenet originaire d'Angers, tué en 1485, vont maintenant parler. Peu de personnages historiques ont été "soumis", post-mortem, à des analyses de leur Adn. Elles diront si les peintures du souverain sont fidèles à la réalité. Le portait moral de Richard III, établi par Shakespeare, est lui aussi l'objet de controverses. Et même le lieu où sa dépouille doit définitivement être inhumée l'est aussi...

After his complete disapperance for more than 500 years, and in spite of his immortality due to his eponym
play written by William Shakespeare, Richard III, the last heir of the Plantagenet dynasty Angers native, is now more alive than ever. While his memory was revived after archeologists found his remains under a car park in Leicester in 2012 (a place where the only royal marks were Austin Princess), now the bones of the last Plantagenet king of England are going to talk. Along with very rare cases like Otzi the Iceman discovered in 1991 on the Alpine border between Italy and Austria, the deoxyribonucleic acid (Dna) of Richard III is to be mapped, potentially revealing details like hair and eye colours.

Within 18 months, a study could provide informations about Richard III was looking like and what were his health conditions. Details of Richard III's appearance are not known for certain because all portraits of him were done long after his death and historians dispute over the truthfulnessof Shakespeare's description of the king, killed at the battle of Bosworth in 1485 by Henry VII, the first Tudor dynasty king. The medical resarch will allow scientists to decide if Richard III suffered from conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or scoliosis.

In England, the Richard III's return, which sets the problem of his final resting place, also led to a legal case,
some distant relatives calling for the bones to go to York, others pleading in favor of Leicester. The two cities continue their own battle in his name. Public petitions about the choice of the place Richard III will be definitely buried were also organized : the one for Leicester hit 34,000 signatures beating a rival petition (for York) by more than 3,000 signatures. Angers didn't competed in the contest even if the city holds a monument built by a Plantagenet king of England, the Saint-Jean Hospital. And currently the city doesn't lack pretenders to the throne...

11 February, 2014

"Angers vivre mieux naturellement" gets itself talked about, at national scale

"Angers vivre mieux naturellement" fait figure d'outsider dans la campagne électorale. Mais le mode de désignation de son leader lui a récemment valu une audience nationale. Cela devrait l'aider à atteindre le seuil requis de 55 membres dont les plus anciens sont unis autour du refus de la rocade Sud et de l'aéroport Notre-Dames des Landes. 

Unknown a few months ago, the list "Angers vivre mieux naturel-lement", has recently got a national audience. The French daily Le Figaro dedicated a coverage on that roundup which has a website, a Facebook page and... a leader. The designation of that one interested the newspaper because she, Nathalie Sevaux, was selected... at random. That kind of choice (her name was drawn from a hat in plain street) "was a mean to show that everyone may involve without necessarily [to rely on] an hypothetical miraculous leader", says Mrs. Sevaux, herself monitor in biological agriculture.

For all that, the "founding fathers (and mothers)" of "Angers vivre mieux naturellement" did not decided to compete in the municipal elections yesterday. In October 2013, while a socialist regional convention took place in Angers, the list had already expressed its opposition to the Notre-Dames-des-Landes airport scheme. The ecological ideas are (naturally) at the core of their programme. In urbanism, the candidates want to "reconciliate the city with the Maine banks "without being megalomanic)". Regarding traffic, they plan to set up the second tramway line and "to give up the South ring road". In economy, the platform wants to introduce a local currency, the Muse. They also promise they will implement the Anticor chart prohibiting the holding of multiple offices.

"Angers vivre mieux naturel-lement" is due to file 55 names in order to compete for Angers city council in March. A few names would miss to the completion of the list and its members say they will not have difficulties to get the necessary money (€ 6,000) to be candidate. "Angers vivre mieux naturellement" doesn't know what will be its score after the first round but, in case of defeat, strongly believes that its ideas will survive.

10 February, 2014

The Jeanne d'Arc avenue books a table

Tout au bout de l'avenue Jeanne d'Arc, un "Bistrot de l'Avenue" vient d'ouvrir ses portes. Après avoir bourlingué dans nombre de villes et continents, son propriétaire a apprécié le calme de cet endroit un peu retiré du centre-ville. Fraîchement revenu d'outre-Manche, François de Ferron propose une cuisine du marché pour les fidèles de Curnonski et bientôt des brunches sous les branches. 

Located at the end of the Jeanne d'Arc sandy promenade, a new restaurant, the Bistrot de l'Avenue, has opened there mid-January. If Jeanne was one of the fiercest enemies of England, the owner of the place is, on the opposite, a friend of of the Kingdom and, more generally, of English speaking countries where he lived and worked for years. François de Ferron, Angers native, travelled around the world. Rome, New York and Washington where some of the places where he built his experience. He also be in charge of the "cuisine" on luxuary yachts properties of billionaires and visited Asia and the Arabic world.

So it was impossible for him to cut in one go with those experiences while "I still think in English after my return to Angers last September", he says. The "Bistrot de l'avenue" followed a "Café de l'avenue" and that change in the title sums up Mr. de Ferron's idea. In that location, a little bit apart from down town, he daily cooks a "cuisine du marché" with only fresh products. Already opened  all middays from Monday to Friday and all evenings from Thursday to Saturday, the "Bistro" should extend his schedules as soon as the Angers weather will be a little bit less Londonian.

 Under large plane trees, a wooden terrace is ready to welcome customers and there brunches will also be served on Saturday and Sunday mornings from spring.

The Bistrot has already attracted guests from the nearby Louis Gain offices. Bankers and lawyers are frequent visitors. François de Ferron opened his Bistrot the same day Antoine Louboutin did with his own one, on Molière square ("The Bistrot Louboutin, a London touch in Molière square", Adn January 28th). Both met in London and will have sure one of the restaurants "in" of Angers.

09 February, 2014

A Princess on the royal river

La Loire pourrait retrouver son lustre de fleuve royal et même rapporter des royalties à la faveur du projet d'un croisièriste d'y faire naviguer des bateaux à aubes, d'ici 2015.

The interest of the Loire has recently resurfaced with the project of CroisiEurope, a company specialized in river tourism, to offer cruises on a waterwheels boat from spring 2015. The ship, whose name will be MS Loire Princesse, will travel from Saint-Nazaire and Nantes to Angers surroundings (Bouchemaine). The vessel, whose construction will start at Saint-Nazaire, will be 90 meters long and 15 meters wide. It will include 48 double cabins (15 m2 each) on three decks. The cruises will last from six to eight days. 

Credit Pictures : CroisiEurope
The choice for the waterwheels, which reminds the Mississipi, is not due to aesthetic reasons but to the river constraints. That kind of propulsion is not used for 30 years. One of the main characteristics of the Loire river is its low depth and the fact there are no facilities for boats (The Loire is one of latest wild river in Europe). As the cruises sector, the river cruises experiments an important growth. And, for years, there are already cruises on the Seine and, above all, on the Rhône. 

It is not said if the Loire Princess will moor at Angers harbour but such a project nevertheless should lead the future decision makers of the town to think about the development of the banks as a possible source of tourists, revenues and jobs. That scheme would surely ressucitate the Loire, a river "born to be alive" as it was said, a long time ago, by a world hit, composed by a music author brought up near... Angers.

08 February, 2014

Jean-Luc Rotureau promises that datas about the trend of Angers finances will be made public soon

Jean-Luc Rotureau, candidat à la mairie d'Angers a annoncé qu'il rendrait bientôt publiques, dans le cadre du débat qu'il a proposé d'avoir entre tous les candidats sur les finances de la ville, des données sur une "logique" qu'il juge contraire aux intérêts des Angevins. Son nouveau colistier, André Despagnet, actuel maire-ajoint en charge des finances, a indiqué que son désaccord avec la majorité actuelle portait sur "la planification des investissements". Pour eux, le message a été entendu par tous les candidats.

In an electoral meeting on February 1st, Jean-Luc Rotureau, former deputy mayor and candidate to the
Angers mayor office, promised that he will soon make public datas and graphics about "the logic in which [Angers city] has came in. Today, the budget is balanced but, it is the trend which is important". Mr. Rotureau choose to talk about that financial issue in the presence of André Despagnet, current deputy-mayor in charge of finances, who decided to be one of his running-mates.

Coming back to his decision not to take part to the vote of the 2014 he submitted to the city council, Mr. Despagnet said that the main divergence with the current municipal majority was about "the planning" of investments. Taking the example of AquaVita, the new swimming pool recently opened, André Despagnet pointed out that he had no critics about the principle of such a facility : "I had suggested to lay the foundation stone in February 2014, that was done two years before and of course that changes everything, the postponement of AquaVita would have led € 30 millions more in debt. Except the bridge which collapses, every investment can be planned". Mr. Despagnet reminded that "We first were ok with the ecologists about a € 50 millions capital budget. Then we told them 'You are going to vote in favour of a € 74 millions capital budget?' Are you serious?".

The candidate to the mayor office reminded that "we are worried for a long time. In 2011, we got the
postpone-ment of the congress centre scheme, but we hurted like hell". Linking that issue with the primaries he failed to get inside the socialist side, Jean-Luc Rotureau said "I wanted to include it in the primaries and I was turned down because in the primaries I wished the finances be discussed". His running-mate explained that his choice about his no-involment in the budget vote "was a warning to all candidates about the financial trend implemented for 3 to 5 years [a period with Jean-Claude Antonini as Angers mayor] is not the good one and I believe the message has been heard by all candidates".

07 February, 2014

Far right and left challengers to Angers mayor office didn't miss Tomboy

Le thème de l'éducation apparaît dans la campagne électorale. Christophe Béchu, le candidat de l'opposition, a indiqué qu'il réétudierait l'application à Angers des nouveaux rythmes scolaires introduits par l'actuelle majorité, sous la direction de Luc Belot. Au même moment, la projection à des collégiens angevins de Tomboy, l'histoire d'un garçon manqué, a été annulée par leurs écoles. Les réactions à cette décision sont assez tranchées à l'extrême-droite et à l'extrême-gauche. 

The education issues are starting to appear in the municipal campaign. The reform of the scholar schedules worked out by the French government was implemented in Angers under the leadership of Luc Belot, deputy-mayor and socialist member of parliament. Christophe Béchu, candidate to Angers mayor office and himself conservative member of parliament, promised that he will set up, if elected, a conference about the topic. "It can't be said that the scholar rythms reform was a great achivement", he said. But another event  recently contributed to shoot out education at the top of the electoral agenda.

Three Angers private colleges have planned to send their pupils to watch "Tomboy". That (French) movie (whose title is in English) tells the story of a 10-year-old girl who, after moving with her family to a new neighborhood, dresses as a boy and introduces herself to new friends. But the screening of the film, which is supposed to explore themes of ambiguous sexuality, intervenes in the middle of a quarrel between French left and right political parties about a gender theory. According to that theory, the sexual identity of individuals is both the result of biological differences and of social as cultural constructions.

Given that political background, three Angers colleges choose to cancel the screening of Tomboy for its secondary-school students. The Angers members of the La manif pour tous movement, opposed to the law opening the wedding to persons of the same sex, published in its website their fierce objection to Tomboy screening, pointing out that the lesbian and gay lobbies was intending to break the familly structure through "the minds jamming of our children".

On the far-left and far-right challengers made of course different comments about the college decision. The first "Angers résister, construire à gauche" firmly "blamed" them while the Front national brought its "total support" to the managers of the colleges getting, with that event, an opportunity to get themselves talked about. Until now, other challengers stayed apart from that polemic. But for how long?