He lives in the central street of the Nefs. When the majestic animal goes out for its walk, it is like architecture in motion departing a steel cathedral. The 50 passengers on board embark on an amazing journey on the Ile de Nantes. Each time the pachyderm goes out, it is a unique spectacle for everyone to enjoy.
From the inside, the passengers will be able to see the moving gears that power the legs. The machinist tells stories about the elephant and makes it trumpet. On the back of the Elephant, it’s like being on the 4th floor of a moving house, with a breathtaking view over the site of the former shipyards. In this time-travelling carriage, the passengers can voyage to the imaginary world of Jules Verne in the city where he was born.
The Great Elephant makes the connection between the Marine Worlds Carousel and the Warehouses where the workshop and the Machine Gallery, centre of the artistic proposal of the Machines de l’île, are located.
12 m high, 8 m wide and 21 m long
48,4 tons of steel
Wood: American Tulip
Metal structure lubricated with 2,000 litres of hydraulic oil
450 HP motor
An indoor lounge with French doors and balconies
A terrace accessible via stairways
3 different routes: approximately 30 minutes
Speed 1 to 3 km/h
Set in motion using 60 cylinders, of which 44 are hydraulic, 6 are pneumatic and 10 are gas.
The elephant, the creation of François Delarozière, can be seen walking around Nantes, but he’s not alone. There are stories of manta rays and sea snakes suddenly appearing in the waters around the town. Were I to create a space for such creatures in my museum, it would be an enormous central room, with walls of opaque glass, to allow visitors to see the mysterious silhouettes moving even as they (the visitors) approached. But until such time as this becomes possible, you must content yourselves with this video of the elephant on the loose. Is it not marvellous?