Brittany: they found the recipe to make a live associative bar in this village

Myriam Ingrao, on the left, is the only employee at the Café de la Forge in Guillac (Morbihan). Next to her, Christian Colpaert, president of the association. ©Le Ploërmelais

A guillacin the Morbihan, there is the church in the center of town, but not only. Right in front of the religious building, it was created five years ago the Cafe de la Forge, at the initiative of the association Things move in Guillac. The gamble seemed a bit crazy at first, but it worked and the bar managed to unite the territory, sometimes drawing people in a bit by chance.

A president of the North for the Café de la Forge

This is also the case of the current president of Ca Bouge in Guillac, christian colpaert. Coming from the north, a little over two years ago, he was walking through the region with his wife when she stumbled upon the establishment, somewhat by chance.

We had originally come for a drink. And then we found out there was a tarot party. We love it, but between friends, and here we can’t find anyone for that.

So they came to participate. And there, surprise: “There were five full tables! In a town like Guillac, which in 2015 had just under 1,400 inhabitants, gathering so many tarot lovers was not a foregone conclusion.

An associative cafe, what is it?

An associative café is distinguished by the fact that its objective is not to be profitable, but rather to be a place of life, meetings and coexistence. “A daily bistro that serves to create social bonds”, according to Myriam Ingrao, the only employee of the establishment. To function, it relies mainly on volunteers, who take care of the service, for example, but who can also organize events. Like any association, it is possible to join to support it.

25 volunteers and one employee

One thing led to another, Christian began to get involved in the project. “We thought it was fantastic. We told them we wanted to volunteer, and they said that was perfect, because they were looking for one. So here they are integrated into the team, currently made up of 25 people. So many people doing their best to running the Cafe de la Forge.

A concert is planned to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Café de la Forge in Guillac (Morbihan) on June 25.
A concert is planned to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Café de la Forge in Guillac (Morbihan) on June 25. ©Michel Thierry

A complicated task, and that is why since the launch of the project, the members of the association Things move in Guillac wanted to hire an employee. An employee, rather, since it is about Myriam Ingrao.

They knew someone had to be there to coordinate everything that was going on, but they wanted to wait and see if it worked out. They managed it for six months, it’s impressive! My role is to put oil in the wheels.

Every night, the Café de la Forge attracts customers.
Every night, the Café de la Forge attracts customers. ©Le Ploërmelais

Clearly, Myriam is in charge of everything that is “the management of the place and the suppliers, as well as the coordination between the volunteers. For this last point, it is also about the training of volunteers, since if Myriam, asformer bartender, has experience in managing this type of establishment, this is not the case for everyone. And you can see sometimes, especially when novices are staking out the shooter, that gestures aren’t always perfectly secured.

When customers ask why, we explain that we are an association café.

supported by the city council

This curious clientele is made up of locals, but not only. “There are many tourists,” slides Christian. Tourists quickly seduced by “the strong potential of compassion “of the establishment.

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It is an environment where there is cordiality and respect. Everyone is received in the same way, there is no division at the counter.

Some are so convinced by the idea that they don’t even hesitate to get a membership card, even if they sometimes live on the other side of France. “It costs €5, it’s not a huge amount and it allows them to show their support for the project. »

Mélanie (right) and Caroline came from Saint-Gildas de Rhuys, near Vannes, to visit Lucas (left).
Caroline (right) and Mélanie came from Saint-Gildas de Rhuys, near Vannes, to visit Lucas (left). ©Le Ploërmelais

At the same time inflating the number ofmembers are today 133. “It is important for an association to have members, because it gives it weight. »

Particularly with the town halls, but the good thing about Café de la Forge is that the chosen one they have always believed in the project, even becoming “motors” of the creation of the establishment. “Before there were two bistros in Guillac, but they closed”, rewinds Myriam.

replace bistros

To “liven up the village”, therefore, the town hall decided to support the Café de la Forge project. And the inhabitants followed, which allowed nearly 300 people to gather at certain evenings organized by the volunteers of the establishment. Because yes, the Café de la Forge mounts regularly animation : concerts, board games…

And for its fifth anniversary, the volunteers prepare an event with onions: the group Grass Mat Project will perform a concert at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 25.

For the occasion, the church square will be closed to traffic from 6:00 p.m., so that everyone can enjoy the sun’s rays and the show. The evening will continue with karaoke and the screening of the film Bistro otherwise nothing. “It’s a Les Passeurs documentary about the Café de la Forge, 23 minutes long,” says Christian.

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