All summer, Sophie Jovillard takes you on the roads of France to meet a place. Today, the machines of the island in Nantes.
If someone tells you that they saw an elephant, a giant hummingbird or an 8-metre-tall heron in Nantes, you can take his word for it. Behind this marvellous bestiary, there are the Machines of the island. Creations by François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice.
Located on the site of the city’s former shipyards, you can’t miss them. I really like this place, which allows to find a child’s soul in a dreamlike universe: a little poetry in an old industrial wasteland.
Machines are strange creatures that come to life before our eyes. We are at the crossroads of the worlds of Jules Verne and Leonardo da Vinci. The tour is led by machinists who tell the story of these wonderful worlds and take the reins of these unusual mechanics.
A gigantic bestiary to manipulate
The team of mediators machinists is perfect, all true enthusiasts of this enchanted world. Pass the entrance, in front of you stands a giant spider 4 meters high and 7.5 meters wingspan.Don’t be afraid, you’ll be able to climb on her back, see her spread her big legs and move her forward. You will soon forget that it weighs 3 tons. Arachnophobes, this is a nice way to cure your phobia.
Other residents: a caterpillar, a giant ant or a lazy one (who has just made his appearance).To manipulate them, there are small levers, like for a video game, that allow to direct these animals to the well-oiled mechanics.
In the skin of Phileas Fogg
The highlight of the visit is to start on the back of the giant elephant: 12 meters high, 48 tons of wood and steel all the same. Each of its exits under the large nave of the building is an event. 50 travelers can board and turn into a one-day Phileas Fogg. This is very appropriate in Nantes, the town where Jules Verne was born. A barrissement and the elephant comes alive, a 30 minute walk, you can admire its mechanics from the inside and enjoy the site of the Machines of the island at the same time. Look at his eyes, you’d think they were real.
A short tour, further on, at the Carrousel des mondes marins, a perfect illustration of the attachment of the Nantais to their maritime history. Giant crab, squid, manta ray in incredible machine version on a giant carousel 25 meters high on several floors.When I told you it was really a wonderful world!
The incredible adventure does not end there: the vegetal world will soon be honored with the heron tree at the heart of the quarries of Chantenay. We’ll talk about it in 2022. Until then, you have plenty of choice, have fun, starting from 8.50 euros the entrance, depending on the activities.