Les Machines de L’ile

Our journey reached 1500km as we rode into Nantes, which turned out to be a magnificent city.  It is the fifth largest in France with a thriving cultural and artistic vibe.  It is a bicycle friendly city where activists paint bike paths on roads if they don’t exist already.  We stayed with Romaric and his family which was a treat in itself, as Romaric is the manager of a beautiful botanic garden (Jardin des Plantes) and a keen carnivorous plant enthusiast.

A beautiful botanic garden

A beautiful botanic garden

Giant seat in Jardin de Plantes

Giant seat in Jardin de Plantes

Without doubt the highlight was “Les Machines de L’ile”, an impossibly fantastical creation of Jules Verne type creatures.  There is a Heron with an 8 metre wing span that flies and carries passengers, a larger than life study ant, carnivorous plants, and then there is the Great Elephant!  A monstrous mass of metal 3 times the size of an actual elephant.  Really it is something that needs to be experienced to comprehend – hopefully our amateur footage does some justice.

We were all pretty pumped about the elephant!

We were all pretty pumped about the elephant!

Mic kept a safe distance! Getting trampled would certainly end our bike tour!

Mic kept a safe distance! Getting trampled would certainly end our bike tour!

Riding the beast!

Riding the beast!

Standing atop!

Standing atop!

Don't worry she didn't really put her hand int!

Don’t worry she didn’t really put her hand in!

Machines Machines

The giant Heron.

The giant Heron.

Amaya was apprehensive at first but soon warmed to the beast and added it to her growing collection of amazing sights and endless possibilities.

It also turns out that Shoshanna is not the only person in France complaining about the weather.  It has been the wettest May on record and shows no real sign of giving way to sustained brilliant sunshine.  Please think of us as we inch our way into a very damp Brittany.  For the moment though we are enjoying the wonderful hospitality of Patrick and Patricia in their lovely old house along Le Canal de Nantes.

Shelter from the rain

Shelter from the rain

Enjoying a scrumptious breakfast with Patrick and Patricia.

Enjoying a scrumptious breakfast with Patrick and Patricia.