After the show closed on Saturday evening, we woke Sunday morning with the whole day ahead of us to explore Nantes - and the famous Elephant.
We made our way down to the Gallery of Machines. The Elephant wasn't scheduled to take a stroll for another hour, so we entertained ourselves by exploring the museum. What kind of museum? Well..... it's hard to explain. The Elephant, the carousels, the animals are all part of a vision. It has something to do with Jules Verne - who was born in Nantes. The French, and particularly the people of Nantes love fantasy and wonder and in an homage to Verne - the Gallery of Machines was built. Above is a mechanical inchworm that glides on a monorail through the gardens.
Here is a mechanical ant - about the size of a Great Dane, that walks on a treadmill.
Soon the Elephant emerged from his home and started to stretch. He is made of wood and canvas and is built on a wheeled and geared machine that is driven by one man. It is sort of like if someones erector set had been given a hallucinogenic drug.
These people are riding the Elephant. You could be inside and look out the door and windows, or you could be on the Elephants back and walk around a little patio.
The walk passed by the small carousel......
And the large carousel. The carousel had fantastical sea creatures to ride. Seahorses, dolphins, crabs, and pelicans. All the animals could be "driven" by the riders. You could pedal the fins or flap the wings. It was all pretty wonderful.
When I got to ride the Elephant, this was my view of Nantes and the Loire river.
After our lovely morning strolling with the Elephant, we walked over the bridge and explored Nantes. Unfortunately, it was Sunday and many of the quaint shops were closed. But they do have a castle right in the middle of downtown.
Chateau des ducs de Bretagne
We were delighted that the wonderful castle even had a moat. An honest to God moat. We walked over another bridge and headed back to our hotel, which had a fantastic boulangerie about 50 yards outside our door. Every time we walked by there was a line of people.
That evening, our last night in France, we ate at the famous La Cigale Restaurant in Nantes. Oh my. Of course the food was spectacular, but the restaurant itself was amazing.
The incredible decor was so inspiring. We sure hope we get back to France one day. Thank you to Quiltmania for asking us to participate.