France Travel Planner by Tom Brosnahan & Jane Fisher   La Galerie des Machines, Nantes
The showcase of mechanical inventions is great fun!





La Galerie des Machines is the largest part of Les Machines de l'Île, the complex devoted to steampunk, mechanical inventions, and fun built at the former shipyards of Nantes.

As you visit La Galerie des Machines, animated and enthusiastic interpreters (remember Les Machines came out of theater) will explain the various machines and how they work, as well as give you some ideas of their future dreams and desires.

You'll move from one creature to the next, learning about it and then seeing it in action. Some lucky visitors will have the opportunity to ride in one of the creatures, or provide other assistance. I had the honor of providing the "fog" during the airplane demonstration!

Be aware that the commentary is normally in French. If there are enough people and depending on the staff's ability, they will provide summaries in English or other languages. However, even if you don't understand all that is said (we didn't), you can still appreciate and enjoy the creatures.

You might see a very active (and large) ant demonstrating its flexibility. Most impressive are the large exhibits, which include a heron that "flies" the length of the building, carrying two fearless volunteers in baskets suspended from its feet.

An intrepid pilot goes up in a small plane (in a cage) and is buffeted by storms, wind, and fog...and lands safely.

And then there is the giant spider...It was pretty intimidating just sitting in its hole, but when its eyes light up and its legs lift out!

Les Machines de l'Ile, Nantes
Staff take the giant spider out for a spin!

You can also observe the Ateliers, or workshops, just across the hall from the demonstration space. Here you can see the next projects that are being worked on. To maintain the surprise, they ask that you not take pictures.

Les Machines de l'Île has great plans for the future, including building a huge mechanical and living tree to house the herons. You can see a prototype branch and have a delicious and reasonably lunch or a snack at the aptly named La Branche restaurant just underneath.

Once you've visited the Galerie, what's next? Perhaps a ride on the grand elephant? Or a visit to Le Carrousel des Mondes Marins? Both are part of Les Machines de l'Île. (Note that tickets are sold separately for each part.)

Les Machines de l'Ile are easily reachable by tramline #1. Get off at Chantiers Navals and walk across the bridge to Les Machines de l'Île.

Separate tickets are required for each element of Les Machines de Nantes, and schedules vary from exhibition to exhibition. Check the website of Les Machines de Nantes for current information.

Les Machines de Nantes

About Nantes

Hotels & Flats in Nantes

What to See & Do in Nantes

Les Machines de l'Île

Nantes Transportation

Château des Ducs de Bretagne

Jardin des Plantes

Tourist Information

About the Loire Region



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  Les Machines de l'Île, Nantes

Above, Two intrepid visitors get to fly with the giant heron, while others look on and enjoy the fun.

Below, Other visitors got to "drive" a giant ant!


Les Machines de l'Île, Nantes



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