In Bordeaux, tattooing and gourmet cuisine come together in a deserted church setting

the purgatory is the first concept store for body jewelry in Europe. (© Actu / Justin Laine)

It’s hard not to notice the newcomer 28 rue de Cheverus, in Bordeaux. the purgatory (“Purgatory” in French) is a place that combines restoration and tattooing. installed instead The house of Japanthe shop front is worthy of an abandoned church, with its windows recreating the rose windows of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris.

Inside a style underground ecclesiastical, with decorations by big names in street art, such as graffiti artist Zarb. In the center, suspended from the ceiling by chains, a huge iron cross that took 120 hours of work serves as a table. The black walls are covered with plants as if nature had taken over.

A few details remain to be added to the decoration, most notably the installation of a bicentennial Bible direct from Cambridge (UK) to be placed under a bell at the center of the huge metal cross. The work is scheduled to be completed in early July 2022.

I wanted to give the impression of being in a decades-abandoned church where street performers would have passed by.

Thomas MerzFounder of Purgatory
Decoration of the Purgatory Staircase by the artist Zarb.
Decoration of the stairs purgatory made by artist Zarb. (© Actu / Justin Laine)

Thomas Mertz, tattooed from head to toe in his forties, with dreadlocks and black nail polish, is the founder of Purgatory. He wanted to break with the codes of traditional restaurants and tattoo studios and offer his customers an “ambience that stands out from mere mortals”.

The manager explains the meaning of the name of his house: “Purgatory is the place where souls wander before going to hell or paradise. Here you can eat healthy with a vegetarian beetroot sandwich and go to heaven, or you can order a greasy hot dog and go downstairs to get a tattoo and welcome to hell! »

A working kitchen

He and his team offer an exclusivity in Bordeaux. Here are the sandwiches prepared on site with lobster or truffle cream. If the food is deliberately elitist, it’s still fun Purgatory. “We don’t make hot dogs here, but… hot gods!” laughs Thomas.

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The kitchen is close to haute cuisine. Obviously for the rock fan who has made his mark as a catering manager in the upper echelons of French cuisine, particularly with Michelin-starred chefs Jacques and Laurent Pourcel and Jean-François Piège.

If on the ground floor it is possible to taste high-flying food or sip cocktails specially created for the place, a real body jewelry lounge is installed on the lower floor. Tattoos, piercings, plasma pen (allowing for light facelifts)…everything is possible in one of the salon’s seven boxes.

The reception of the Purgatory Tattoo Studio in Bordeaux.
Tattoo studio reception purgatory in Bordeaux. (© Actu / Justin Laine)

The shop also offers pulsed light tattoo removal sessions. No need to go to a specialized clinic! Dedicated to this panel of services custom body (“Body Customization”) makes purgatory the only facility of its kind in Europe, assures its founder.

A new benchmark for tattooing in Bordeaux

For Thomas Mertz, a ten-year-old dream has come true. This lover of tattoos and good food, who went so far as to sell his apartment to fund his project, wants to make his “baby”, as he calls it, “the meeting place for tattooed people in Bordeaux”.

In cooperation with Hairdresser DTSthe main supplier of tattoo equipment in France and Europe, the purgatory welcomes full-time tattoo artists such as Matthias Osborn from Bordeaux. Other internationally renowned talent will occasionally officiate, such as colorful flower prodigy, American Antonina Rostra. The idea is to create “one of the largest tattoo centers in the entire Southwest”, Thomas Mertz specifies.

He states that he “didn’t try [se] especially to differentiate, but to please people. Starting with him: “I like to surround myself with those who make me dream. I don’t have an artistic streak, but I’m opening a tattoo studio. I can’t cook, but I’m opening a restaurant. »

The official inauguration of purgatory takes place on July 2nd. “We have tastings and a show planned,” assures the manager. “Four artists will liven up the day, there will be a bikers’ gathering and even a fire eater! A day aimed at publicizing the place, which is likely to become a must-do.

opening time
– Sunday and Monday: closed
– Tuesday and Wednesday: 11 a.m. – 7 p.m
– Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9 p.m
– Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m

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