Artsy Nantes

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The Elephant

The Elephant

We are now in Nantes, my hometown, there place where I was born, where went to school and from where I eventually left in 2002. My whole family still lives there. Even though the city hasn’t changed much, I like to see it again with different eyes…

Indeed, it has very different sides: today, I will show you its artsy one.

If you follow the Loire river from downtown, you will find a bridge that crosses to the “isle of Nantes”, a former shipyard turned into a leisure and cultural site. The place itself is quite scenic, with nice view on the Quai De La Fosse, the long street along the river.

The Isle is also the location of the Machine Of The Isle’s cultural and artistic project. The warehouse of the former shipyards in Nantes is the house of several artists who created huge “machines”, at the crossroad of the imaginary worlds of Jules Verne (who was from Nantes) and the mechanical genius of Da Vinci. The biggest project, the mechanical Elephant, is 12 meters high and 8 meters wide, made from 45 tons of wood and steel. It can take up to 49 passengers for a 45-minute walk!

A bit further, along the Loire and close to the Hangar À Bananes (a former warehouse where bananas from the French islands were stocked) are the Rings, a modern art project by Daniel Buren.

La Médiathèque (The Library)

La Médiathèque (The Library)

Along The River - Quai De La Fosse

Along The River - Quai De La Fosse

The Loire River

The Loire River

Les Chantiers De Nantes - The Old Shipyard

Les Chantiers De Nantes - The Old Shipyard

Vieux Vélo - Old Bicycle

Vieux Vélo - Old Bicycle

Les Machines De l'Ile - The Isle Machines

Les Machines De l'Ile - The Isle Machines

Hangar Vide - Empty Warehouse

Hangar Vide - Empty Warehouse

L'Elephant Endormi - Sleepy Elephant

L'Elephant Endormi - Sleepy Elephant

Enfin Réveillé! - Awake, At Last!

Enfin Réveillé! - Awake, At Last!

Bateau Près De La Loire - Boats By The Loire River

Bateau Près De La Loire - Boats By The Loire River

Le Grand Elephant - The Big Elephant

Le Grand Elephant - The Big Elephant

Les Anneaux De Buren - The Buren Rings

Les Anneaux De Buren - The Buren Rings

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

13 Comments

  1. All though your South American odessey I used Wikipedia to figure out where you were and learn something about the area. Now you have me reading about the history of Nantes (very old) and looking at youtube videos of the mechanical elephant (amazing). Now I have to go look up the Buren Rings.

  2. The Loire river! The soul of France. What a lovely sight. Definitely artistic. Thanks for the trip, and I’m sure it makes you feel home! 😉

  3. Oh ya, I can’t believe u share the same hometown with such talent like Jules Verne! I so so so love his Journey to the Centre of the Earth! 😀

  4. it seems so pretty there, even if a bit industrial from the rings and the warehouse. i love anyplace that has a river and a walkway along the water. i’m sure i would love it there.

  5. That huge elephant must be a great attention, never seen such a thing before. I’m sure kids love it. I’m not sure but from the pictures, the place looks peaceful.
    Welcome home, Zhu 🙂

  6. @Tulsa Gentleman – Thanks for your interest! Yes, the ring do light up at night, although I have to admit I haven’t seen it yet. There is a small article in Wikipedia about it, although it’s in French: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anneaux_de_Buren

    @shionge – I like this district because of that!

    @kyh – The Isle of Nantes was set up after I left the city, so it’s all new and fun to me!

    @kyh – My high school name was Jules Verne and I must say I ODed on his books, compulsory reading 😆

    @Sidney – For a short while; yeah 😆

    @Seraphine – It was the industrial side of the city but I must admit they did a good job with it. The rest of the city is very bourgeoise 🙂

    @zunnur – Kids do love it, although I find the 6 euro ride a bit expensive…

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