Nantes, Backward and ForwardNantes, Spring 2012

Two of our trips with IES so far have been to the Museum of Nantes, and then to the Machines de l'Ile.  I'll explain the second one in a little bit.  The museum is actually housed in the château, whose interior is no longer kept in period style.  There, we saw plenty of artifacts dealing with Nantes as a commercial center, with so much water that it was once called "The Venice of the West."  But, many of those rivers have been filled or consolidated so that it has a lot less water than before.  Sadly, many of the ships going through Nantes were taking part in the slave trade between Africa and the America's.  In fact, I think Nantes may have been the most active city in the business. Les Machines de l'Ile (The Machines of the Island) is one of the most creative projects I've ever seen.  It is a workshop that unifies imagination, wood, and metal to create a kind of steam-punk wonderland of mechanical creatures and (increasingly) plants.  The trademark machine is the giant elephant, which was the first work to be completed if I understand correctly. The tree is referenced a couple times in the photos, because the first two of it are merely the prototype of what is going to be a massive tree, probably quite a bit bigger than a lot of real trees in Nantes.  The final picture shows the view from one of the "branches" in which you can walk. [gallery link="file"]
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