Wat te doen in Nantes? Les Machines de l’Ile!

Nantes’ biggest attraction? The machines! Artistic Nantes is home to the fun attraction: ‘les Machines de Ile’. This is the attraction and city icon of Nantes. Great with kids! But what is it actually? ‘The Machines’ are mechanically moving creations in the form of plants and animals.

Machines Nantes France

The carousel

These creations by Francois Delaroziere and Pierre Orefice are based on inventions by Leonardo da Vinci and Jules Verne. The objects are beastly beautiful, and often monstrously large such as the large elephant and the carousel. Most creations are exhibited in a hall (a gallery), or walk ‘freely’ in the city jungle of Nantes.

Galerie des Machines

Take a short tour in the Machines Gallery to see all the cool finds. Including: a giant ant, spider, caterpillar and more. Unfortunately, the tour is in French, making it somewhat difficult to follow. It is nice that some objects can be tested by the public.

Minus: the gallery is not very big. In the high season it is very busy. Only a few children or adults are invited to try one of the machines. Juup: “These are not machines, but robots in animal form.”

Gallery Machines

The gallery

Grand Elephant

Le Grand Elephant: the giant of Nantes

The best attractions of this crazy mini theme park? These are the carousel and the ‘Big elephant’. Buy a ticket, take a seat on the awe-inspiring elephant and take a tour of Nantes. As soon as the engine starts, Le Grand Elephant slowly comes to life.

The elephant walks, steams and makes noise for ten. A ride on the elephant from Machines de l’Ile takes about 45 minutes but is quite an experience. This ten-ton truck is 18 meters high, weighs no less than 50 tons, and can transport as many as 50 people per trip. Fun fact: this creature was made in the image of an important sultan’s elephant.Great Elephant Nantes

Carrousel des monde Maritimes

The ‘Carousel des Monde Maritimes’ is a 25 meter high merry-go-round and has three floors. Take a seat in a fish, shell or other creature from the sea and take a ride on this worldly carousel. During the high season, take into account lengthy waiting times. By the way, les  Machines de Ile are going to expand and are therefore moving to a larger location in Nantes. The ‘Heron tree’ will also be built here. This gigantic moving tree will be ready for the general public in mid-2021.Carrousel Monde Marins
Carousel Nantes

Practical & Tips

How do you get to this theme park? The Machines can be found in the l’Ile de Nantes district. Indeed, a kind of island in the Loire. It pays to be there early: 9am, or at the end of the day. Opening hours: 10am to 7pm in summer.

Entrance fees: Euro 8.50 pp, per attraction. €6.50 for children. Tip: tickets for the elephant can be ordered online in advance, so you don’t miss the net. The carousel is accessible free of charge with a Pass de Nantes. Want to know more about this city?

All the ins and outs are in this great city guide Nantes. 
Love fun attractions? Don’t miss the historic Puy du Fou theme park in the area. Holiday in the Loire region? Then this will come in handy Free travel guide Nantes|Loire France 
See and do in the Loire Atlantique


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