The power station outside of the village of Cordemais on the French coast is the biggest thermal power plant in France, and one of the biggest of its kind in Europe. From a distance it’s hard to really grasp its mammoth size, which was precisely the inspiration for this tiny hotel perched on top of a 50-foot tower.
The strange structure, Villa cheminée (“Fireplace” or “Chimney” Villa), was created by the Japanese artist Tatzu Nishi. It was unveiled in 2009 as part of the Estuaire art exhibition, which invites international artists to create large-scale works using the environment surrounding the Loire River between Nantes to Saint-Nazaire.
The artist built the foundation of the petit abode to have the same dimensions as the towering chimneys of the nearby power plant. In fact, standing west of the house it’s possible to see Villa Cheminée in the foreground with the factory chimneys in the background. The little house offers a new perspective on the industrial giant next door.
A staircase up the Villa cheminée tower leads you to a functional, if cozy, bed and breakfast. Just over 170 square feet big, it is furnished with a double bed, kitchen, fireplace, bathroom, and garden. A hotel right next to a power plant might at first not sound very appealing, but in the opposite direction it offers a beautiful view over the river Loire. Once work has stopped outside the plant for the day, the area is quiet and tranquil, and the sunset seen from the top of the elevated house is amazing.
Know Before You Go
Villa cheminée is open to the public on Sundays between 2 pm and 6 pm (except in cases of strong wind). It is closed during winter but still possible to rent.
Price (breakfast included) 99 € -119 €. Booking on www.nantes-tourisme.com or by calling the Nantes tourism office.