When I was little and used to walk past the imposing biscuit factory in Nantes, I always gave me a bit of a funny feeling. At the end of the 80s, this area, between the south station and one of the last remaining factories in Nantes to be located virtually in the city centre, seemed rather austere.
And then one day, the biscuit factory closed its doors in Nantes and relocated a few kilometres to the outskirts of Nantes. And LU became a new brand, for those thirsty for culture and contemporary art: Le Lieu Unique.
I rediscovered the place in 1999 when I arrived in Nantes to study at the university. At the time, to celebrate the new millennium, the city of Nantes had organised a huge collection of twentieth century objects, which would then be locked away in the Grenier du Siècle, which can be seen at the back of the Lieu Unique. And these time capsules won’t be reopened until 2100!
Obviously, I really wanted to leave an object there, as a witness to my student life. So I chose a fountain pen with some spare cartridges to slip into this gigantic safe! Finally, 17 years later, I’ve realised that the pen was a great idea, because I’m still writing!
The following year, I moved and went to live in a street close to the Lieu Unique. Much more than a research centre for cultural development, the Lieu Unique had become my HQ! I spent my evenings at the bar ordering the house Cervoise beers and spent Sundays daydreaming in the bookshop or in George’s place, the corner shop (now gone) and restaurant that was one of my favourite places. I loved its very industrial, urbex decor left with its former biscuity life very much n evidence…
I also had the chance to attend totally off-the-wall living art shows, the artistic signatures of Jean Blaise, director of the Lieu Unique until 2011. For instance, I can remember a piece of sheer lunacy adapted from Alice in Wonderland!
To add the perfect finishing touch to this totally original place, a steam room was opened in the basement of the factory. Tested and obviously approved by yours truly, I have a lovely memory of the place…
Still today, I love to settling down in a deckchair on the banks of the Canal St Félix, spending hours in the bookshop discovering new fanzines, or taking funny pictures with my kids in the vintage photo-booth hidden at the back of the bar! The Lieu Unique has always been part of my life in Nantes. And it is not likely to stop!