Industrial Past, Factories and Urban Decay

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I found them by mistake, at the bend of the Isle of Nantes, right behind the well-marked “Journey to Nantes” art project/touristic path—the remains of Nantes’ industrial past.

These days, most people work in the tertiary sector, but this trend is still fairly new. Just a few decades ago, people worked in the industrial sector. They were manufacturing finished, tangible goods instead of selling services or creating needs.

And then, factories started to close down. It happened almost overnight. Entire assembly and production lines were moved to countries where labour laws were more flexible—or better, non-existent.

Chimneys stopped smoking, heavy metals gates were locked and unemployment rates jumped.

But the factory walls are still here.

A few of these factories are a no man’s land while other are squatted. The prettiest and most significant buildings were converted into coffee houses or exhibition centres, such as the LU cookie factory. But there were dozens of factories in Nantes and most are just abandoned. Miles and miles of urban decay, in the centre of the city, by the river.

I explored the industrial wasteland under a beautiful blue sky.

I pictured myself, working shifts at the shipyard or in some factory, helping to build a vessel or producing sugar cubes.

It’s hard to imagine how it was, back then.

It’s even harder to imagine how it will be once these industries will all be gone, which is bound to happen sooner or later.

You can see the com­plete set of pic­tures taken in France on Flickr.

Closed Factories in Nantes

Closed Factories in Nantes

Titan Crane

Titan Crane

Closed Factories in Nantes

Closed Factories in Nantes

Closed Factories in Nantes

Closed Factories in Nantes

Closed Factories in Nantes

Closed Factories in Nantes

On the Isle of Nantes

On the Isle of Nantes

On the Isle of Nantes

On the Isle of Nantes

On the Isle of Nantes

On the Isle of Nantes

Former Ice Factory

Former Ice Factory

Former Ice Factory

Former Ice Factory

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Urban Decay

Beghin-Say Sugar Factory

Beghin-Say Sugar Factory

Beghin-Say Sugar Factory

Beghin-Say Sugar Factory

Beghin-Say Sugar Factory

Beghin-Say Sugar Factory

"What About Us, The Poor?" Graffiti

“What About Us, The Poor?” Graffiti

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

6 Comments

  1. Martin Penwald on

    Not sure, but if I remember correctly, my dad used to deliver cardboard sometimes at the Beghin-Say factory in Nantes.

    Yeah, it is pretty sad this de-industrialisation.

  2. The picture with Mark looking out is kind of symbolic for me. It seems like is facing the world and asking, “And my generation, what will there be left for me one day?”

    I’m really interested in learning more about the LU factory. Do you know more about it? Maybe you could do a post on the rise and fall of the factory. Where do they make the biscuits now?

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