Riding Les Machines de I’île

Tiếng Việt

Riding an elephant, the biggest mammal on earth is perhaps the dream of every child. We were no different. As kids, we used to like elephants and would love to ride one someday. But the cruel fact that elephants are abused in order to satisfy tourist’s demand really shrugged us off. Fortunately, we found a better alternative: Les Machine de L’ile.


 

Positioned in a former shipyard in Nantes – an industrial city in western France, Les Machine de L’ile is an extraordinary artistic project of Fraçois Delarozière and Pierre Orefice. It is a collection of experimental machines that imitate plants, insects and animals. In this uncommon gallery, you can see a heron with an 8-meter long wingspan soaring gracefully in the air, a fearful spider walking around with its gigantic legs, and a giant caterpillar which moving swiftly along a tree trunk. The gallery is like a performance area where each individual machine puts on a mini-show, and you might have the chance to ride one of them.

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The Heron

Obviously, the pièce de résistance of the whole project is the Grand Éléphant –  a 12-meter high elephant made of 48 tonnes of steel and wood that can move (very slowly) and sprayed water from its trunk. Being on the back of this majestic creature is like being on the 4th floor of a travelling house. It is way cooler than riding a real elephant, and you don’t have to endure the smell of the animal.

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Grand Éléphant

Aside from Les Machine de L’ile, there are two more destinations in Nantes that are worth exploring. Although Nantes today is the capital city of Pay de la Loire region, its culture and history still belong to Britanny. This is clearly reflected in the fortress at the heart of the city, Château des Ducs de Bretagne (The Castle of the Duke of Brittany) with its 500 meters of curtain walls, punctuated by seven towers and a flamboyant courtyard.

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Château des Ducs de Bretagne
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Château des Ducs de Bretagne

Another noteworthy destination is the Passage Pommeraye, a small shopping mall named after its developer, Louis Pommeraye. Completed in 1843, the mall is a historic monument with elaborate design and includes Renaissance style sculptures.

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Passage Pommeraye

Despite being labelled as “nothing special”, Nantes is unique in our own eyes. We met very nice people, tried super tasty crêpe (so good that we ate them all before we could make any photo) and satisfied our dream of elephant riding without feeling guilty.

Practical Information

  • Nantes is well connected to Paris (2 hours) and Bordeaux (4 hours) by trains.
  • How to reach Les Machine de L’ile: Tram 1. Station: Chantiers Navals. Ticket for the elephant ride or the gallery: 8.5€.
  • Another part of Les Machine de L’ile is the Le Carrousel des Mondes Marines – a 25m-high and 22m-wide funfair carousel where you can ride creatures from the depth of the sea. You need an extra ticket for that (8.5€), and each additional ride costs 3€.
  • A good address to try Brittany crêpe is Crêperie Heb-Ken. They serve dozens of varieties of delicious crêpe.
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Những cỗ máy vùng Nantes – Les Machine de L’ile

Những cỗ máy vùng Nantes (Les Machine de L’ilelà một dự án nghệ thuật độc đáo của Fraçois Delarozière của Pierre Orefice, được dựng tại thành phố Nantes miền Tây nước Pháp. Nằm trên một bến tàu cũ, Les Machine de L’ile là một bộ sưu tập những sinh vật máy, như nhện, sếu, kiến và các loại cây. Những cỗ máy này thường có kích thước khổng lồ và có thể di chuyển và hoạt động được. Dự án dường như là một sự kết hợp giữa tiểu thuyết nổi tiếng “80 ngày vòng quanh thế giới” của Jules Verne và những cỗ máy của Leonardo da Vinci.

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The Heron

Sinh vật đặc sắc nhất của dự án là Grand Éléphant – một con voi khổng lồ cao 12m, nặng 48 tấn và được làm hoàn toàn từ thép và gỗ. Nó di chuyển khá chậm và có thể phun nước từ vòi. Ngồi trên con voi này như ngồi trên một tòa nhà 4 tầng biết đi, và bạn có thể ngắm nhìn khu cảng cũ từ đây.

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Grand Éléphant

Ngoài dự án Les Machine de L’ile, bạn có thể ghé thăm lâu đài của bá tước vùng Brittany (Château des Ducs de Bretagne) ở trung tâm thành phố hoặc Passage Pommeraye, một khu mua sắm tuyệt đẹp được trang trí theo phong cách thời Phục Hưng.

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Château des Ducs de Bretagne
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Château des Ducs de Bretagne
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Passage Pommeraye

Một số thông tin cần biết

  • Để đến Nantes, bạn có thể đi tàu tốc hành từ Paris hay Bordeaux. Mất khoảng 2 giờ nếu khởi hành từ Paris, từ Bordeaux thì mất khoảng 4 giờ.
  • Les Machine de L’ile nằm ở trạm Chantier Navals, trên tuyến Tram 1. Vé vào gallery (bao gồm cưỡi voi) là 17€. Ngoài ra, còn có một vòng xoay mang tên Le Carrousel des Mondes Marines nơi bạn có thể cưỡi những sinh vật biển kì quái. Giá vòng xoay đầu tiên là 8.5€, và mỗi vòng tiếp theo là 3€.
  • Một địa chỉ để bạn có thể thưởng thức món bánh crepe Brittany là Crêperie Heb-Ken. Có rất nhiều loại nhân khác nhau để bạn chọn lựa.

17 Comments

  1. Eleazar

    I recently made a very good friend from Nantes, so I will stop by the city soon I guess.
    When I was living in Paris never went to Nantes because it is labelled as “nothing special”, as you said, but all this information you shared is very interesting. Thanks!

  2. Mel & Suan

    Nice! We drove only the Carnac and then past Nantes towards Angers. Good to see what Nantes has to offer! If we are every back in a road trip in France we want to cover Brittany more in detail!

    1. Len Kagami

      How is Carnac and its stones? We intended to go there as well. But due to bad weather we had to shorten our trip. I have heard from my taxi driver that St. Malo is a nice destination as well but have never confirmed that 🙂

      1. Mel & Suan

        To be honest you might be a little disappointed. Perhaps we were at the wrong place…but the stones themselves are not large and tall. Though if you view them from a distance you will see the lines and patterns. Still its worth a stop, just that we’d recommend you combine that with a stop somewhere else too.

    1. Len Kagami

      Thanks a lot! 🙂 I think those mechanical creatures can really surprise anyone regardless age. It is very detailed and I did not think they can move so swiftly 🙂

  3. carolinehelbig

    That is so cool. I love reading about unusual art projects. It’s always nice discovering special things about places labeled “nothing special”. In fact, sometimes I make a point of specifically going to these places, and more often than not, end up having great experiences.

    1. Len Kagami

      Indeed. I think “special” or “no special” depends on perception 🙂 For me, the mechanical animals are extraordinary. But for people who wants Instagrammable photos. Nantes would be boring as hell because there is no Instagrammable corner.

  4. Mabel Kwong

    Les Machine de L’ile does look like an extraordinary project and fromr your stunning images, these machine-animal forms look life-sized. Wonderful visitors get the chance to ride them, though I am guessing there is a fee for that. It is interesting how many of us think it’s okay to ride real-life elephants – when in reality they aren’t built for handling such weight in the long term. I have to say the Grand Éléphant looks like an elephant out of this world 🙂

    I’ve never been to Nantes but have always heard it was a peaceful city and wouldn’t mind visiting. When you speak of France, Paris and the Eiffel Tower usually comes to mind first – and I guess because Nantes doesn’t has that it seems second best. From your experience, it sounds like a place with good sights and appetising sweet treats 🙂

    1. Len Kagami

      Thank you for your comment, Mabel 😀 You don’t have to pay to ride the creatures in the gallery. The Elephant is the only exception. Personally, I think Nantes is a great stopover when visiting the north western coast of France. But as you already mentioned, it has never been high on the list of must-see destinations.

      1. Mabel Kwong

        Nantes might not be that popular as Paris. But that means less crowds, and more of the place to roam in peace. Maybe you will visit again, Len 😀

      2. Len Kagami

        Haha probably because of the crepes 😛 The people in Nantes are also very kind. An old lady even walked me to my destination because she think I might get lost 🙂 You don’t get that much support in Paris.

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