The Aillot Factory

Step back in time!

A former manufacture turned into an old truck museum with a vintage café? The Aillot Factory is an unmissable local rendez-vous!

Extérieur de l'Usine Aillot, Montceau-les-Mines. © Lesley Williamson.

A 19th century factory repurposed

Founded in 1872 by Jean-Baptiste Aillot in Montceau-les-Mines, the Aillot Factory manufactured mechanical parts and components for more than a century, mainly as a subcontractor for the Schneider factories in Le Creusot. The Mechanical Engineering Workshops operated on this site from 1885, the company prospered and reached its peak production levels in the 1940s. The activity was then refocused around public road works, the factory then produced compressor rollers (steam cylinders). It ceased all production and closed in 1993, leaving empty buildings and an industrial wasteland behind.

Dans les anciens ateliers de l'Usine Aillot, Montceau-les-Mines. © Lesley Williamson.

Much more than an Old Truck Museum

For one man, this industrial site had everything that conversion dreams are made of. Founder of the Old Truc Museum, François Gambut had a passion for collecting antique trucks and other trucking memorabilia for more than 20 years, hoping to open a private museum one day and be able to share his collection with the general public.

In 2014, his project is brought to life and François Gambut displays his impressive collections in the former Alliot factory, purchased in 2008. Honouring the manufacturing legacy of the original building, Francois and his partner Céline Demonfaucon conceptualize a gallery to admire vintage trucks but not only. Embracing the character and atmosphere the spaces offer, they imagine a friendly place for fellow truck enthusiasts, for locals and visitors to meet with neighbours, discuss thoughts and opinions, and become an active part of the local community.

Today,the striking renovated, supremely spacious main building houses the impressive collection of vintage vehicles, documents, memorabilia gathered by Francois and his friends. Berliet GBC 8 6x6 Sahara, Unic or Saurer …every truck on display has a story to tell and provides a unique glimpse back in the past…

This extraordinary place is first and foremost a convivial place to have a drink or enjoy meal at the vintage restaurant "Le Baraillot", open to the public on the 1st and 3rd Fridays of each month.

With a mix of industrial architecture styles and retro decorative objects from the 1910s to the 1980s, stepping into Le Baraillot is like stepping back in time. Here, the tables are large and communal, the generations mix, conversations go on and on and people laugh out loud.

Beware though…Celine and Francois’ passion for vintage truck and the sincerely friendly welcome of the volunteers are one of the place’s most impressive attributes .The special atmosphere and the extensive cultural program of concerts and exhibitions will give you something to come back for again and again.