- Title: French man turns huge WW2 German bunker into B&B
- Date: 23rd August 2021
- Summary: LAMPAUL-PLOUARZEL, FRANCE (AUGUST 19, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF TIPPED OVER BUNKERS ON BEACH SAINT-PABU, FRANCE (AUGUST 19, 2021) (REUTERS) ANTI-TANK OBSTACLE BY SEA OBSTACLE AND PEOPLE WINDSURFING IN DISTANCE DRONE FOOTAGE OF LUFTWAFFE COMMAND BUNKER TURNED INTO BED AND BREAKFAST, EVENTS VENUE (MUTE) SIGN READING (French): "Bunker L479 / Unusual rental" 52-YEAR-OLD BUNKER OWNER, SERGE COLLIOU, COMING DOWN STAIRS AND SAYING (French): "Hello, welcome to the L479 (model code) bunker. Follow me for a visit." COLLIOU ENTERING BUNKER GLASS DOOR WITH NAZI EAGLE / COLLIOU ENTERING LOUNGE AND SAYING (French): "Here, you are in the lounge, where you can have a good time." COLLIOU GOING TO DINING ROOM COLLIOU WALKING UP TO TABLE AND SAYING (French): "Here, we are in the dining room. There is a table where you can have 15 guests." CHAIRS AT TABLE COLLIOU ENTERING BAR AND SAYING (French): "You are in the bar, the bunker's most important room. Just look at this!" COLLIOU OPENING BAR CUPBOARD AND SAYING (French): "Here, as you can see, there is my personal reserve because guests aren't the only ones who party here." EAST GERMAN AND BRITISH ROYAL AIR FORCE CAPS / GERMAN WW2 HAND GRENADE COPIES HAND GRENADES (SOUNDBITE) (French) 52-YEAR-OLD BUNKER OWNER, SERGE COLLIOU, SAYING: "It (renovating the bunker) was a lot of cleaning, a lot of elbow grease. Then, you paint, etcetera. Overall, it took 18 months of work but not in a rush. It mostly was difficult for the craftsmen, the digger especially had a lot of work, the electrician as well. Otherwise, we did everything ourselves."
- Embargoed: 6th September 2021 11:48
- Keywords: Atlantic Wall Brittany German Nazi Germany WW2 World War Two blockhaus bunker fortifications history
- Location: SAINT-PABU, LAMPAUL-PLOUARZEL, LE PORTZIC AND PLOUGONVELIN, BRITTANY, FRANCE
- City: SAINT-PABU, LAMPAUL-PLOUARZEL, LE PORTZIC AND PLOUGONVELIN, BRITTANY, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace,Europe,Editors' Choice
- Reuters ID: LVA003ERI1T8N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: A bunker built by German troops in northern France during World War Two has been given an unlikely new lease of life as an underground guesthouse, welcoming history buffs and visitors after remaining buried for years.
France's northern coast, including in Brittany and Normandy, is still strewn with fortifications left behind by the German army, which built up a so-called Atlantic Wall to try and fend off Allied Forces after invading France in 1940.
In Saint-Pabu, on the Breton seaside, concrete bunkers are half buried along the sandy beaches, in an area that once operated as a radar station to detect planes.
Serge Colliou, a bunker enthusiast, bought up a plot of land in the area, and spent 18 months digging out and renovating the 400 square metre bunker, turning it fully-functioning rental, complete with a bar area and cosy living room.
Nods to the war are present throughout the space, with memorabilia like helmets and reproductions of guns, although Colliou said he did not want to go overboard to allow guests to enjoy it for parties too.
"We adapted (the bunker) while preserving a certain feel," Colliou said. "We wanted to give the building a second life, so we are not going to live in the past forever. We saved some aspects, you know where you are, there are historic cues, but this isn't a museum either."
French visitors and foreigners including Germans have stayed as guests, after the bunker opened for rent a year ago, Colliou added. The site, now in a residential area and surrounded by houses and gardens close to the coast, was once operated by 30 men in the German airforce or Luftwaffe.
A night in the L479 bunker costs 320 euros (375 U.S. Dollars) a night for 6 people and a second floor can be opened to welcome up to 20 guests for 1100 euros (1289 U.S. Dollars) a night.
Some local mayors in France have looked to remove remains such as bunkers on beaches, in part as they can occasionally pose a danger to bathers. Some of the fortifications may be preserved for historical reasons, however, including in areas such as Saint-Nazaire, La Rochelle and Brest, and restored.
"We are starting to preserve those famous bunkers and it is a good thing, but we cannot save them all," said Herve Farrant, a bunker specialist and author who began to explore the structures in the 1980s.
(Production: Manuel Ausloos)
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