Machines of the Isle (Les Machines de L'ile)
Les Machines de L'île is an artistic park comprising four main attractions: the Grand Elephant, a huge robotic elephant that walks across the island; the 3-story-high Carrousel des Mondes Marins; the Galerie des Machines, which displays machines in various stages of design; and the workshop terraces, where you can look down over the workshops of La Machine, the company that designs the machines.
Zip around the Île de Nantes on a walking, cycling, or Segway tour, most of which time their arrival at the park to watch the elephant lumbering across the main plaza. Watch out, as it often squirts water at passersby!
Things to Know Before You Go
Single or combination tickets are available for the elephant, carousel, and gallery. All ticket holders can access the workshop terraces.
Elephant tours take around 30 minutes; carousel and gallery tours are about an hour each.
There’s a café, gift shop, and paid parking garage on-site.
No large bags, rucksacks, or suitcases are allowed at any of the attractions.
All attractions are accessible to wheelchairs. Book your space in advance.
How to Get There
Les Machines de L'île is located on the Île de Nantes, in central Nantes. To arrive by public transit, ride the tram (Line 1) to Chantiers Navals station, then cross the Anne-de-Bretagne bridge. At the south end of the bridge are the ticket office, gallery, workshops, and departure point for the elephant. The carousel is a short walk west.
When to Get There
Each attraction has different opening times, which vary throughout the year. Check the schedule online before going. Lines are long in July and August and during school holidays, so consider booking tickets in advance.
About the Machines
Les Machines de L'île is the brainchild of François Delaroziere and Pierre Orefice, whose company, La Machine, designed mechanical sets for the theater. Inspired by the ideas of Leonardo da Vinci and Nantes-born novelist Jules Verne, the directors envisioned bringing creations to life as a unique tourist attraction. Centerpiece of a citywide urban renewal project, Les Machines de L'île opened in 2007, taking over former shipyards and warehouses. The inventions and innovations continue today.
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