Forget Disneyland Paris, if you want something really unusual near Paris visit Les Machines de L’ile, Nantes. This mind blowing Nantes mechanical animals amusement park is a completely unique artistic project born from the imaginations of Pierre Orefice and Francois Delaroziere. Les Machines Park in Nantes offers mechanical creatures and larger than life fantastical creations reminiscent of Jules Verne’s Invented Worlds and da Vinci’s sketches. Visitors can ride and operate some of the huge mechanical creatures as well as seeing how they are made. Les Machines de Lile in Nantes was opened in 2007 in a former shipyard and has been dropping jaws ever since!
Les Machines Grand Elephant
Take a ride on the huge 12 meter-high mechanical elephant. This science fiction-like, moving art instillation looks like it was invented by a Victorian crazy professor. You can book online for an unforgettable 30 minute ride.
Galerie des Machines
Enter Les Machines Park Nantes warehouse is where the machines are built by the theatre company La Machine. This is their test laboratory where they try out their creations to see if they operate correctly. You can learn about the history of the project and the way the strange creatures come to life. At the heart of the warehouse is a mechanical giant spider; above you is a heron with an 8 meter-wide wing span and at the entrance of the warehouse is a giant ant. In the warehouse you can see the original sketches of designs for the creatures and see the machinists at work. At Les Machines Park Nantes there is also a flight test tunnel where the flying machines are tested. Visitors can fly a flea through the tunnel at speeds of more than 100km/h.
Carrousel des Mondes Marins
On the banks of the Loire River in Les Machines Park Nantes is this incredible carousel. It can be a conventional fairground carousel or become a mechanical aquarium. Imagine taking a ride down beneath the water into a Jules Verne’s world. There is a 360° theatre where you see strange and fantastical marine creatures. The carousel is in fact three carousels stacked on top of each other. Visit the seabeds; the Abyss and the sea surface.
Practical Information – Visiting Les Machines Park
Les Machines Nantes Location
Les Machines Park Nantes is about 2.30 hour train ride from Paris, leaving from Gare Montparnasse Train Station or a 3.30 hour drive. Physical address: Les Machines Park, Parc des Chantiers, Blvd. Leon Bureau, Nantes.
Les Machines Nantes Open Hours
The Mechanical Park in Nantes is closed 8 Jan-9 Feb but the rest of the year is open daily with varying open hours (usually 10:00-19:00/18:00/17:00 or 14:00-17:00).
Ticket Prices for Les Machines Nantes
Galerie des Machines or Grand Elephant €8.50; Carrousel des Mondes Marins prices €6.90-8.50€. Discounts for disables, 4yrs-17yrs, students and unemployed. €3 for 1yr-3yrs. Under 4yr olds free entry to the Galerie des Machines, Grand Elephant or regular carousel. There are discounted family tickets to Les Machines Nantes. All tickets allow entry to the workshop terraces and Prototype Branch of the Arbre aux Herons at Les Machines Park Nantes .
Official Les Machines Website: http://www.lesmachines-nantes.fr/en/