© Rennes - Hôtel-Dieu - Origines | Franck Hamon
Five historic sites converted into trendy spotsNew cultural and living sites

Five historic sites converted into trendy spots

A new look for a new life. Former shipyards, hospitals and a prison have been given a new life by being converted into unusual, innovative, cultural and trendy (third) places. Visit them to discover how Breton heritage is constantly being reinvented. Demonstration in five lessons!

Saint-Nazaire - Le GarageSaint-Nazaire - Le Garage
©Saint-Nazaire - Le Garage|Eric-Philippe Loiselet

An assortment of activities at Ateliers des Capucins in Brest

Brest (29)

Once a convent and then a shipbuilding centre, Ateliers des Capucins is a true melting pot in Brest. At the heart of the Recouvrance district, you’ll see skaters, artists, start-up firms, young families, etc., all mingling. Here, you can walk into a concept store, have a canvas made, brew your own beer, climb on the largest climbing wall in the west. And if you’re feeling hungry? Take a rest in the food court and enjoy the wonderful views of the city and the bay. On the ground floor, there are some machines that testify to the industrial past of the site. In 2021, these workshops will host a new space dedicated to the discovery of the oceans, called 70.8. The figurehead will be the Canot de l’Empereur, another gem of Brest heritage.

Ateliers des Capucins

A centre of photographic art in Guingamp Prison

Guingamp (22)

It housed prisoners for more than a century. Today, the four walls of Guingamp Prison plunge you into photographic art. The Gwin Zegal art centre has taken over one of the central courtyards around which the cells were once arranged. Avant-garde at the time, this Breton prison is the only one in Europe with this “Pennsylvania” style architecture. Discover the exhibition of the moment, on your own or as part of a guided tour. Talk to the artists in residence, experiment with photography during workshops on staged, animated, black and white images, etc. Who knows, this former place of confinement might just open you up to a new passion!

Centre d’art Gwin Zegal

Climbing and bistronomy at Hôtel-Dieu de Rennes

Rennes (35)

Go through the gates of Hôtel-Dieu (former hospital) in the historic centre of Rennes and discover “the place to be” in the Breton capital! The former maternity hospital, the centre of an urban renovation project, is now a popular and atypical venue. Two companies, The Roof Rennes and the Origines bistro, share the spot and combine sports, cultural and gourmet activities. Try bouldering, yoga or slacklining. Eat good, local and seasonal products around the old cloister. You can also just enjoy the spot and a little concert, sipping a beer brewed in the former operating theatre. Another third place in Rennes not to miss: the Ateliers du Vent on the site of the former Amora factory. There is always something going on here, such as exhibitions, an open stage, market cuisine, etc.

The Roof     Les Ateliers du vent

Urban art in Vannes

Vannes (56)

Abandoned since 2015, on the left bank of Vannes harbour, the former premises of the DDE (public works department) have been colourfully restored! From the walls to the ceilings, artists of street art and the urban scene have covered the 3,000 sq. m of corridors and administrative offices. Is it vandalism? No, quite the opposite. This space, named DéDaLe, is a gallery and a spot for experimentation given to them to use until the building is destroyed. Sign up for a guided tour to discover the line-up on the ground floor. It has just been updated! On the ground floor of DéDaLe, there is also a café, which has become a top spot in Vannes. With a relaxed atmosphere, good sounds and a lovely view of the harbour, here you can meet the artists at work in the floors and even leave your own mark on a wall of free speech!


A creative garage in Saint-Nazaire

Saint-Nazaire (44)

As the name suggests, Le Garage, close to the indoor markets of Saint-Nazaire, is a former car garage. The Pinault family sold the famous SIMCA here for nearly 30 years. Today, the “garage workers” are modellers, record dealers, photographers, Web designers, etc. Around ten creative people, in the broadest sense of the word, occupy this 550 sq. m building, which has become a cultural, artistic and innovative hub. Although private, it is open to the general public. Don’t hesitate to enter and discover the residents at work in their boutique, workshop or office. The central room hosts a variety of events: vinyl fair, sales of local creators, exhibitions, happenings, zero-waste cocktail events, Sunday bookshop, etc. View the online programme!

Le Garage

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