Nantes elephant

Trunk packed: Nantes

When is too early to begin planning next summer’s holiday? I hope the answer isn’t ‘now’, as Damon and I have already started to talk about where we might stop off as we make our way south through France.

We can be pretty sure that we will be back in Bergerac – or Castillonnès, to be more precise – next August. However, Damon’s particularly keen to stop over in Nantes.

Le Grand Éléphant is the cause for his desire to detour via the Loire-Atlantique capital. The 12-metre high robotic wooden beast is one of the standout attractions on the Île de Nantes.

It is part of a project by French artists François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice known as Les Machines de l’Île. Based on the site of the city’s former shipyards, the project is inspired by Jules Verne, who hailed from Nantes. Its centrepiece is a 3-tiered carousel, whose maritime theme offers a nod towards the world-renowned traveller.

As if that weren’t enough to appeal to Damon, Nantes is also home to the Royal de Luxe puppet company.

The team of street theatre specialists has entertained crowds the world over with their outsize marionettes. Puppeteers manoeuvre the colossal puppets around the town performing a story as they go.

“Based on the site of the city’s former shipyards, the project is inspired by Jules Verne, who hailed from Nantes”

We missed them this year – Le Mur de Planck, or Plank’s Wall, was the highlight of their calendar, back in June – but they’re not scheduled to be at home when we pass through next August.

Could it be that we have left the planning of our summer holiday too late?

This entry was published on Tue, 25 Nov 2014 at 07:07. It’s filed under Places and people and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

3 thoughts on “Trunk packed: Nantes

  1. Ah…next summer. We missed our summer in France this year. But next year…Peut-être. My daughter and I are such good co-travelers. As soon as her little ones can do without her for a week, we’ve decided that we’ll start in Paris, take the Simplon-Venice Orient Express to Venice and on to Istanbul. Now that’s a dream.


  2. It’s never too early to start planning trips to France Graham. For me, it’s a big part of the fun!

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