Mai Perso - Travel adventures

Angers, a little bizarre French town

May 18, 2011
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It’s been years since I left Angers, with mixed memories of great ingredients, beautiful up scale downtown but miserable restaurants and people with attitude.
The city lays in the Loire Vally, in a region with good white wines and decent sparkling wines. There may be even a few famous Saveniere wine houses around it.
I loved strolling up and down the pedestrian center, stopping by my favorite ‘hole in the wall’ sandwich bar, selling crunchy baguettes filled with hamburgers, French fries, melted cheese and pickles.
A phenomenal grilled chicken joint, a few blocks away, was an alternative.
The Saturday farmers market, had real farmers, with selection of produce, cheese and meat products, un matched with what you find in any deli or shushu farmers market in the US.
So a few years back, en route from Spain to Switzerland, we decided to stop for a day and revisit the magic.
We found our way to town, parked the car in the underground garage in the city center, got out at Galleries Lafayette and turned down the street direction the sandwich Bar, better known as “Broodje Fred” (Dutch for Fred’s Sandwiches).
We had a plan. Grab a bite, pass by the local launderette and do our laundry, shop for some food and other necessities, check out the town and be on our way.
As we walk down the main drag, the city morphs to a scene from a funky movie. At the doorstep of the launderette, a hobo is fighting with a gipsy, on begging territory. He is throwing his food around, screaming that she should leave town since she is taking away all his “customers”.
We hang around, sensation curiosity kicking in. A young, slightly disturbed young man, cruises by in moon walk style, oversized headphones on his ears, singing weird songs in a high pitch, loud voice. As he passes by the fountain, a Greek Orthodox priest shows up in the doorway of the house across the street, and starts shouting obscenities towards us. us of all people surrounding the fountain.
Picture this, A restored medieval town, with a picturesque fountain surrounded by 18th century houses. A dirty homeless leaning against a wall, with a sandwich smeared on the floor across the stone alley. The guy is screaming in French,the gipsy, telling her to go do things to herself. The chubby gipsy beggar shouting at him in what sounds like Romanian, god knows what her response is. The local Michale Jackson, is moon walking and squeaking in high pitch voices, just as the Greek priest makes an appearance out of a large stone doorway, sending profanities our way.
Needless to say, I was laughing my butt off by now. I don’t remember ever being in such a surreal scene, definitely not with an active role in the act.
Angers will forever be the city that lives in a movie for me, and no longer the posh French countryside town.