©Franck Hamon

Five historic sites converted into trendy spots

New cultural and living sites

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!

In the blink of an eye

1. An assortment of activities at Ateliers des Capucins in Brest


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

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2. A factory converted into a cultural venue


It’s got a happy, multi-faceted vibe and it’s open all year: SEW is a new cultural venue in Morlaix harbour! What’s there? A performance hall, three cinemas, a vast courtyard in which to chat and put the world to rights, a bar/restaurant, a bookshop, etc. Just short of three centuries after its creation, the former tobacco factory, Armenians of this town of art and history in north Finistère, has been completely transformed. The performing arts now have pride of place in the listed buildings, with concerts, cinema, festivals, a café, etc. A happy and friendly place to share!


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3. Climbing and bistronomy at Hôtel-Dieu de Rennes


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

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4. A centre of photographic art in Guingamp Prison


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

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5. A creative garage in Saint-Nazaire


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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