Les machines de l'ile : Infos and prices of the gallery of machines in Nantes
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Visits & Outings

Machines of the island

The origin of the island's machinery

The enchanting machines that populate the Ile de Nantes today are the result of an artistic project carried out by Pierre Orefice and François Delaroziere. A meeting of aesthetics and technique, these poetic and monumental creatures are inspired both by the visionary world of Jules Verne and the mechanical genius of Leonardo da Vinci. They fit quite naturally into the urban landscape of a city that has developed for such a long time through its industrial vocation: in the former shipyards, large machines nowadays make young and old dream. They evoke the ever more distant journeys made possible by human technical advances, but also the spirit of exploration which is still Nantes'. With their apparent mechanisms, the machines of the island are themselves inspiring. Like a sectional drawing from an inventor's sketches, they show the sublime contrast between the complexity of the gears and the simplicity of the raw materials, but also between an imaginative fairy-tale aesthetic and pure mechanical performance. By unveiling to the public the manufacturing process of the machines, the two designers of the project reconcile science and poetry, art and mechanics, stage and backstage. The result is an achievement that is at once playful, inspiring and educational.

Visit of the machine gallery

The machine gallery is the test area, sometimes for adjustments to the Nantes workshops of large machines. A real mechanical bestiary awaits you there, to which the site's machinists give life. The gallery presents the prototypes of numerous creatures, most of which are destined to later populate the Heron Tree, a titanic project in progress. Among them, the giant hummingbird foraging for flowers, a sloth, a heron with a wingspan of 8 metres, a spider and a giant ant, or even a caterpillar: so many creatures that you can take control of yourself! The visit of the gallery is also the opportunity to let you tell the story of each creation by the machinists, and to discover the sketches that made possible the realization of the other great creations of the island with the machines: the now mythical Great Elephant, as well as the carousel populated with creatures of the abyss. Opposite the gallery, the terraces of the workshops allow you to watch the construction sites in progress: at a height of more than 7 metres, you can observe the work of the builders of these fantastic creatures made of wood and steel. A film is also projected, which goes back to the origins of the Machines de l'île project and to previous achievements. 

Rates and schedules

From November to March, the ticket office of the island's machines is open from 2pm to 5pm on weekdays and from 2pm to 6pm on weekends and school holidays. In April, May, June, September and October, it opens from 10 am to 5 pm on weekdays and from 10 am to 6 pm on weekends and school holidays. It is also open from 10 am to 7 pm from the second week of July to the third week of August. The visit of the site continues one hour after the ticket office closes, i.e. from 6 to 8 p.m. depending on the period. An annual closure takes place in January. There are several departures during the day, every three quarters of an hour, 7 days a week in the summer and during school holidays, and 6 days a week the rest of the year. The ticket office offers tickets for the visit of the Grand Gallery, the Grand Elephant trip, and the carousel tour of the sea worlds. Each of these tickets gives access to the terraces of the workshop and to the prototype branch of the heron tree. The ticket for the trip on the Great Elephant costs 8.50 euros full fare and 6.90 euros reduced fare. The trip is free for children under 4 years old. The animated visit of the Machine Gallery is also offered at the price of 8.50 euros full price and 6.90 euros reduced price. Same rates for the visit of the carousel with a ride. Without a ride, the price for a visit to the carousel is 6.30 euros full price and 5.30 euros reduced price. The purchase of a full-fare ticket for the carousel leads to a reduction in the price of admission to the gallery. 

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