Hello from France!
We arrived in Nantes at around lunch time on Tuesday and spent the afternoon wandering around the city - just to see what was where and to get our bearings a little. Wednesday we decided to head to Le Machine de l'Ile - The Island of Machines. It's on l'Ile de Nantes and has only been open since 2007. It's a workshop/gallery working towards a major interactive attraction - a carousel/merry-go-round with three levels and lots of creatures that visitors can interact with and 'run'.
We saw eight of the creatures. They're a strange combination of Leonardo Da Vinci's mechanical creations and Jules Verne's imagination - my favourite is the squid, but I think Bruce's favourite is the crab (because he got to control it for a bit). The combination of wood and metal looks really cool and there's so much articulation in the moving bits via pulleys and levers - what a good use of physics!
Thursday we headed over to the Chateau des ducs de Bretagne (The Castle of the Dukes of Britanny). We'd walked to it on Tuesday, but decided to use the Bicloo rental bicycles (pay £1 for the day and the first half-hour of each rental is free). There are docking stations all around the city centre, so it's easy to keep your trips under half-an-hour. The Castle was amazing - it's only recently been restored. The Nantes History Museum is housed in the Castle, so we spent the day discovering the history of the Mermaid city (with strong ties to the land and to its port). We also wandered through the special exhibition - I found some hammocks. Dad, I'll join your pirate ship if I get to sleep in a hammock! ;-)
Friday we headed away from town and went to the Planetarium. The show went for about an hour and the graphics were fantastic. It started as a simple night-sky - what stars you can see at night. They then took us on a journey to each of the planets. It was a very entertaining show and it would have been even better if I understood French.
After lunch (and watching some French guys play boules in the park) we headed to the Musee Jules Verne. It was cool to learn more about him and to see some of his old manuscripts and sketches. Although one of my favourite bits were the moon-related toys from all over the world. Wish I knew where to get the TinTin game! It looked fun.
The food while we were away was pretty tasty. The only problem was that there weren't a great many vege options. In fact, I think I had more cheese in this week than I have had since the start of the year! Crepes were my favourite, especially the ones made from black corn with potatoes gratin as filling. Yummo.
We headed back to England on Saturday morning and found the lovely weather was there too. We had a BBQ for lunch because the sunshine was so good. In fact, the good weather lasted until a couple of days ago (I got saturated walking to the bus from work yesterday). So it's back to grey Manchester weather but at least I had a week of fun and frivolity in France (photos here).
*big hugz* to all.