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Saturday, April 09, 2011

France 2010 - Day 11, Part 3 - Brittany: Nantes

"The greatest of faults, I should say, is to be conscious of none." - Thomas Carlyle

***

France 2010
Day 11 - 12th October - Brittany: Nantes
(Part 3)

I drove over from Vannes trying to catch a very special attraction in Nantes, but unfortunately I was 10 minutes too late and the stupid ticket office had closed (and there was no one to entreaty). It closed a whopping hour before the complex's closing time, which was ridiculous as there wasn't that much to see (especially if you didn't buy a ticket for the attraction)

Luckily, although I couldn't ride on the attraction, I could still see it in action.


Le Grand Éléphant de "Les Machines de l'île" (The Great Elephant of The Machines of the Island) on a rampage

Les Machines de l'île constructs large, strange and novel contraptions to amuse and delight the public. This Elephant is a replica of one that toured the world in the middle of the 2000s (they destroyed the original in spite when they got pissed off at being asked to tour too much), as part of a project to commemorate the centenery of Jules Verne's death.

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Le Grand Éléphant (The Great Elephant)
It was slightly less impressive than I thought. And the wheels were a bit strange. Anyhow it was just as well that I didn't get to ride it - it was fun following it around.


Elephant spraying mist from trunk

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Elephant spraying mist

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Elephant and Minder. Who looked gay and nonchalent (notice the cigarette in his hand).

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Side view of trunk

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Elephant and Gallery

There was something wrong with the ticket gate to one area - even without a ticket I could stroll in. Then again, given that this exhibition was included whether you bought a ticket to ride on the Elephant or see a museum with exhibits about the machines (including scale models), maybe this was intended behavior. While Level 1 (2) was closed off, from Level 2 (3) I could view some photos and videos of their work, and see the workshop.

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Giant spider


Workshop of Les Machines de l'île

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Their portfolio

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Le Canon à eau (The Watercanon)

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Les Araignées Géantes (Giant Spiders)

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L'Araignée dort sur un immeuble (The Spider sleeps on a building)

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La Serre Volante (The Flying Greenhouse)

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People getting off the Elephant

They had a feedback form so I gate them a piece of my mind:

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"Visite effectuée : Galerie, Eléphant - Ni Galerie Ne Eléphant (sic)
Il vaut mieux vendre les tickets plus tard. Tous les musées et expositionns vendent leurs tickets jusqu'à 30 minutes avant leurs fermeture. Je viens d'arriver - j'ai conduit de Vannes à Nantes juste pour profiter de l'exposition"
("Place Visited: Galery, Elephant - Neither Galery Nor Elephant
It's better to sell the tickets till later. All museums and exhibitions sell their tickets until 30 minutes before they close. I just arrive - I drove from Vannes to Nantes just to enjoy the exhibition")
Unfortunately my grammar wasn't very good as I was quite flustered.

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Retro poster for Les Machines de l'île

Another part of the complex had the (closed) museum with exhibitions on their contraptions. Luckily I could peer in.

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Exhibition room

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Model of the Elephant

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"Hindigo. Hindi Actual Shop"
This is a shop selling Indian furniture. At first I thought it was a thinly veiled xenophobic sign.

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2 blocks and a dome

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Nice house

The dockside reminded me of Antwerp, with only a few ships moored by the river. The photos of which I lost thanks to an idiot at a Internet Café in Nîmes. Anyway.

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Dockside

I profited from the vaguely post-industrial landscape by dangling my legs over the edge.

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"Incroyable !" ("Unbelievable!")
You can see part of her right nipple

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Fake Greek food. People from both countries would be insulted (though Greek food is essentially Turkish food with no pork).

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"Coming soon: a cinema card"

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Place Royale

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Fountain


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St Nicholas church

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In a shop: alcohols by Regions of France

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Some funny thing

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Cathedral

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Carvings detail


Château des ducs de Bretagne (Castle of the Dukes of Britanny)

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Moat

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Bridge in

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Statue of woman in medieval dress

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Tiniest lapdog ever. It can fit in almost any handbag.

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Virtual zebra crossing (due to light rays)

We had Turkish food for dinner since it was fast and we already had had one heavy French meal (and a late one at that).

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Helva, a Turkish Dessert with sesame and pistacho

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A Zero Star Hotel!

While driving down the péage (tollway) at 130kmph, the speed limit, I found many people driving very slowly. I thought the purpose of the tollway was to go quickly.

Large sections of the péage were under repair, which made me wonder what we were paying for.

I saw tractors driving on the road, but at this point I only saw one which was doing work (at night!). It's good to be a farmer in Western Europe.

It was very shiok to roll down the windows and stick my hand out in 12 degree weather while going at 130kmph. If I hadn't been driving I would've stuck my head out too. I tried rolling down a rear window, and got really bad vibrations - there was a bad trobbing noise and I got a headache. I thought rolling down 2 might cause the waves to cancel out due to destructive interference, but instead there was constructive interference and it was even worse (about 1.5x).

At one point, a speed camera flashed in my general direction. I was travelling at a not-excessive speed and haven't gotten any bills in the post - so either it wasn't me who was going too fast, or I was saved by French bureaucracy (especially given that I left 3 days after this).

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F1 at Angers (isolated even for a F1). Illustration of how Formule 1 rooms are prefab and slapped together

The breakfast at this F1 started at 5am, and someone was at the reception past 9pm. The carpark was also almost full with mostly vans and pickups. It must've been to cater for them.


Chinese restaurants in France always have Thai and Vietnamese food. In the Netherlands they have Indonesian food.

Sprite is hard to find in France and IIRC many Continental European countries. It gets crowded out by Fanta.

Ironically we spent 2-2.5 days in Brittany but didn't have crêpes - the place is famous for them.

I saw a EU license plate - with "BZH" on it (Breizh - Brittany). Hurr hurr.
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