ESU Event


The first meeting of 2016 took place at “La Grange” restaurant near Varennes-sur-Loire on 30 January when members and guests gathered to beat the January blues together over a convivial meal and to enjoy a talk by Michel Apchin, former mayor of Saumur, 2008 – 2014.

The total number present was thirty five which included nine new members and five guests. The chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and outlined the events planned for the coming months before introducing the guest speaker.

Michel’s talk began with an outline of his story to date. Having completed his studies he joined the family firm and in the 1970s took the momentous decision to transfer the family telecommunications business from Paris to Saumur. Little did he know at the time it would be the start of such a close association with the town. Following his retirement he became a judge and then Président of the Tribunal de Commerce in Saumur. When asked to give advice about the management of Saumur, he fell into a trap and in March 2008 became its mayor. Just a few weeks later Michel was elected President of the Saumur Agglo. It was the start of a new chapter in his life.

Michel gave the audience a superbly illustrated resumé of the high and low points of the history of Saumur, starting in the 11th century with Fulk Nerra and focusing on the close connections with the English court, the Protestant legacy left by Philippe du Duplessis-Mornay and the brave resistance of the young cadets from the Cavalry School against the German advance in 1940. We saw pictures of famous people associated with Saumur and of the many tourist attractions associated with its river, its wines and its horses.

We learned about the duties and responsibilities of a mayor and particularly those directly associated with Saumur. Michel told us of the highs and the lows: the achievements during his time as mayor, his meeting with President Sarkozy, and the seasickness he endured aboard Saumur’s godchild, the Frigate “Latouche-Tréville”.

After the elections in 2014, Michel’s busy schedule came to an abrupt end. One day he was mayor. The next it was over. In politics, as in other fields, no-one is indispensible. The important thing is to turn to something else…..

We left “La Grange” having shared an enjoyable meal and an extremely informative illustrated talk and are now eagerly awaiting the next instalment to the interesting life story of Michel Apchin.