Books

Agen: A new book from our “Proud to be Agenais” series is coming out this week.

Agen: A new book from our “Proud to be Agenais” series is coming out this week.

In the second volume of the “Proud to be Agenais” series, Petit Bleu invites you to discover or rediscover this Agen of years past, thanks to period photographs, authentic and exclusive. On sale this week!

“When you ‘come from Agen’, you don’t come from anywhere. Just as in rugby we managed to outplay the biggest teams with the lightest attacking line in France, we must continue to cultivate our art of living, to nurture our legitimate ambitions without fear of those who carry more weight in any area…”. This is how the former mayor Paul Chollet expressed himself – not without reason – in a letter addressed to Petit Bleu in 2014. This sentence perfectly corresponds to our editorial “Proud to be Agenais” and appears in the preamble of our new photo book “archive, which will appear this week.

After the huge success of our first vintage photo album in 2021, readers quickly asked to “learn more”. This book about Agen in pictures was really only “the first in a series to come”, we wrote at the time. The promise was therefore kept with “Proud to be Agenais 2”.

Issue 2 will complete the first book which was a huge success last year.

Issue 2 will complete the first book which was a huge success last year.
photo by PB

From private collections

We have stayed true to the spirit of the eponymous weekly published every Tuesday in Le Petit Bleu (out tomorrow): the advantage of the image, always unpublished because it comes from private collections. These documents entrusted to us by our readers have been sleeping in attics or in old family albums for decades, and published in our newspaper, they finally emerge from oblivion.

Old slaughterhouses.

Old slaughterhouses.
FDA Archives

The pictures are always accompanied by short texts, based on the memories of our readers and our research in documents of the period or bibliographical sources. This book therefore complements the Tuesday meetings and offers a selection of recordings from hundreds collected over the past six years.

Agen once under the snow.

Agen once under the snow.
FDA Archives

This second book (available from Thursday, November 10 in bookstores and kiosks, but also by mail) presents 74 documents, the oldest recorded at the end of the 19th century and the latest from 1970. We will find scenes of everyday life in Agen, with especially shops, the canal, sports and entertainment (including rugby, Of course), the floods of the Garonne, streets, squares, boulevards of Agen, etc. All these black and white pictures illustrate the life of the past and point to the present: look at the current Place des Laitiers, it has changed little in a century. Rue des Cornières and rue Beauville also seem frozen in time. Other pictures show, on the contrary, that Agen had to follow the course of time: the old slaughterhouses became a university center; the former covered market was turned into a parking market. The city was thus composed in the 20th century between loyalty to the past and evolution towards the modern.

Read, and offer

Presented in a large format, to better enhance their narrative power, these images are not classified in chronological or thematic order – which distinguishes “Proud to be Agenais” from other works about Agenai. This choice was therefore assumed in the first book: “We tell one story, through a walk through time and through the city. All the texts form a great illustrated story. The reader can also “draw” pages at random, wander through one to document another and discover the talent of amateur photographers whose pictures they pass here to posterity.”

Rue Grande-Horloge, during the poultry market.

Rue Grande-Horloge, during the poultry market.
FDA Archives

That talent in framing or choosing immortalized themes, and the quality of documents that sometimes date back more than a century, comes to the fore again. We have also remained faithful to our printer from Agen (Imprimerie Grafic Sud), and he can be “proud” of his reproduction.

This second album, like the previous one, offers a benevolent return to the past. It stems from an attachment to the city that spans generations. “Proud to be Agenais” will therefore seduce those who lived through these past periods, but also all other, young or new Agenais: the story continues for them too…

A book to be discovered, read for pleasure and offered as a 100% Agenais Christmas gift. Good reading!

Rugby match in Armandi

Rugby match in Armandi
FDA Archives

“Proud to be Agenais 2” (84 pages). On sale from Thursday in bookstores and kiosks (€16.90)

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