The associative hostel “Les Bains Douches” offers low cost accommodation for travelers staying in Nantes

It is a versatile and associative place that opened on Monday 24 October 2022 in Nantes. The popular and participatory hostel “Les Bains Douches” will now welcome people passing through the city. Designed by volunteers from the Club de loisirs et d’action de la jeunesse, it will also host various artistic and cultural activities.

The historic communal baths and wash houses on the Butte Sainte-Anne in Nantes have been renovated. Their rejuvenation treatment: volunteers from the Club de loisirs et d’action de la jeunesse (CLAJ) association, who offer them a second life in the form of “associative, popular and participatory hostel”.

From 24 October 2022, the “Les Bains douches” hostel welcomes passing travelers to its gîte at 20, rue Dupleix. During the weeks it will also be a place of exchange around various artistic and cultural events: concerts, reading sessions, documentary screenings, shows …

The association has launched an online crowdfunding campaign in order to finalize the hostel’s equipment.

The brand new hostel is spread over three floors. The ground floor houses an associative living room, which will soon be equipped with a kitchen and bar. Common activities organized by CLAJ volunteers will take place here.

Another entrance allows access to the first floor classified EPR (Stable reception of the public). here it is “the place to sleep”smiles Emilie Schoelinck, volunteer and board member of the association.

Four bedrooms and fifteen beds can accommodate the people passing through the city, students, apprentices, trainees, schoolchildren or other “. The latter will benefit from a bed, a shared kitchen and collective toilets for 22 euros per night.

On the 2nd floor, four roommates occupy an apartment for 450 euros including expenses. A modest fee for which the association asks for some of its time to participate in the animation of the place.

Short-stay travelers will also need to put in a minimum of practical work.

People need to understand where they come from. We are not traders

Emilie Schoelink

Volunteer and member of the CLAJ board of directors

“We do not have from waitress, continues Emilie Schoelinck, everyone must participate so that the management is not too heavy for the volunteers. The idea is also to meet people as much as possible, whenever possible “.

The inauguration is the culmination of the collective work of CLAJ volunteers. In addition to setting up the paperwork, they also actively participated in the construction site after the purchase of the building from the Nantes city hall. “We did everything ourselves: the beds, the floor, we sanded, sanded again, cut the wood”details Emilie Schoelinck.

The members of the association have also selected second-hand furniture online or from Emmaüs. Choices that are part of the sustainable tourism approach of the “Les Bains Douches” hostel.

The total budget of the project is 1.2 million euros

Luc Payen

Youth Leisure and Action Club Treasurer

“But without counting the 800-1,000 hours of work provided by volunteers on weekends”, explains Luc Payen, treasurer of CLAJ. Their work complemented the missions carried out by artisans and companies.

In detail, this investment consists of 700,000 euros of equity. The regional council and the departmental council have subsidized up to 65,000 and 30,000 euros respectively. The rest comes from bank loans granted to the association.

Sold by the town hall for the sum of 450,000 euros, the building was built in 1899. It then housed bathrooms, showers, wash-houses and a warehouse for fire-fighting pumps, as well as cooking stoves. In short, a real common place in the neighborhood where everyone could come to wash or clean their clothes until the 1970s.

The “Les Bains Douches” hostel wishes to maintain this spirit of collective space in the heart of the neighborhood. The first friendly aperitif has already been organized to bring the neighbors together and present the hostel on Friday 21st October.

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