Narbonne: Espace de Liberté, a site too small for a former “cafet” turned grands buffet

Built in 1989 under the status of “Cafeteria and Other Self-Service” and named Cafeteria Liberty, Grands Buffets, surfing the fashion of all-you-can-eat buffets, found itself shrinking, growing, on aging equipment.

It was long ago, the era of large-scale vacations, all-you-can-eat buffets, cash years, Minitels, Burlington socks and La Baume movies. Hubert Mouly, the city’s mayor at the time, inaugurated the Espace de Liberte, the only leisure space of its kind in Languedoc-Roussillon, and was already thinking of a catering structure to stand apart from the cafeteria for both the general public and the elite. Hypermarket

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Narbonne: Faced with “lack of maintenance” of Espace de Liberté, Les Grands Buffets plans to leave town

The cafeteria is already well established

In late 1987 the municipal council voted to build it. A 25 m swimming pool with bleachers, a 50 m outdoor Olympic pool with bleachers for 1,000 to 3,000 seats, a paddling pool and games for children, a 6-lane bowling alley, a 40 m by 20 m, and a cafeteria. The modernity of the time wanted a pyramid to be built at the entrance to provide these benefits.

Before reopening in 2021 and following new investment by Louis Pvt
Independent – Philippe LeBlanc

François Mitterrand inaugurated the Louvre pyramid a few months ago, giving access to the world’s largest museum. At that time Narbonne still had Mediterranean games. In 1992, the national swimming teams of the United States, Great Britain and Japan came here to prepare for the Olympic Games in Barcelona. The cafeteria was already well laid out.

“363,000 subscribers per year”

On the 30th anniversary of Espace Liberté (in 2019), Louis Privat describes the trend of all-you-can-eat buffets, which “What People Who Go to Club Med Remember Most” But no one could fix it permanently as an economic model. Narbonneise will take care of this by creating what will become Grands Buffet: France’s first all-you-can-eat buffet, showcasing quality regional produce and wine at affordable, cellar prices.

Thanks to a national and international marketing campaign (he entered the Guinness Book of Records with his 111 cheese references), the address is so well-known, especially in Spain, that Luis Privat can afford to tickle the municipality by parodying an advertising campaign in the city. , girl from Rome in the 2nd century with the title: “Narbonne, City of the Grands Buffets”.

Quality at low price and quantity

According to the admission of the elected officials responsible for tourism, the brand attracts countless numbers of visitors, individuals or European tour operators. Rumor has it that regular Belgian customers fly into Carcassonne, hire a van and drive back to the restaurant in Narbonne. they will be “363,000 subscribers per year” According to Louis Private, the French are known in the economic world for finding the economic formula of offering quality at low prices and in quantity. Reverse low costs (he just raised his workers’ salaries by 30%). 18th century chandelier €42.90 All-you-can-eat menu.

From cafeteria to restaurant

From a cafeteria to an “accessible and prestigious” restaurant at the gates of Narbonne city center
Independent – Philippe LeBlanc

5 million euro investment in 2020

In 2017, according to him, Grands Buffets was the French establishment with the highest turnover (outside Paris), i.e. €12.5 million in 2017 and 325,000 covers served. This number has halved in 2020 due to the Covid crisis and forced closures, but Louis Private is taking advantage of this forced break to invest and expand by €5 million. “The changes made to the outdoor terrace, in particular, make it possible to eat in a less restricted environment and sheltered from the wind, which is a real plus for Narbonne” A surfer commented on Tripadvisor the day after the buffets reopened on June 30, 2021.

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The possible departure of the Grands Buffet from the city of Narbonne: towards an installation near Perpignan?

30 years after the opening of the cafeteria, with a new post-Covid “8th room” in 2021, and expansion projects to increase the comfort of more than 150 employees, the freedom of space within the area is questioned. freedom

€12 million over 4 years to redo the roof and bring Espace Liberté up to standard

The Greater Narbonne community has voted an investment budget of 12 million euros over 4 years to redo the entire roof, strengthen the glass of the pyramid, isolate the ice rink from the outside, change the swimming pool pump and various works. Grands buffets will not display the “totem” heights placed on property in the city of Narbonne, according to the mayor, who voted in 2011 to regulate outdoor advertising within the framework of the Grenelle de l’Environment. Posters had until the end of July 2022 to comply. The new Climate and Resilience Act passed in 2021 decentralizes regulatory powers to town halls on January 1, 2024.

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Grands Buffet de Narbonne threatens to move: “Didier Mouly hates the 363,000 customers who come to the Grands Buffet” condemns Louis Privat

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