La Roche Bernard via NantesAugust 15, 2019 in France ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C
After a straightforward journey into Nantes, (except for the fuss Coen makes as he has now decided he doesn’t just hate his car seat, he can no longer sit in it) we try to find somewhere to park close by Les Machines, even though we know the nearest motorhome car park is just 15 minutes walk away, but we find a Lidl where Nic sees it says it’s only 5euros after the first 1.5hrs which are free, and only a few minutes down the road (more on that later), so we have lunch on the go and head over to the exhibition.
We walk through to check out what’s about, there are different parts to the attraction and we really wanted to see the giant elephant walking around it’s route, but unfortunately one of the workers informs us the elephant has died (it’s a machine, not a real one!) so we get to see it standing still instead, possibly not quite as impressive as when moving but still amazing to see. We spot the smaller carousel and give the children a go on that.
They choose their machines - no surprise that Amelia is on the unicorn (more of a mythical Greek horse) and Coen chooses the thing with the most wheels, and they absolutely love going around and around, and finding all the moving parts on their chosen machines.
We find a park (of course, always the highlight of their days) on the way to the big carousel, try not to stay too long here as it’s a bank holiday and things are getting busy, so we head over to the big carousel, which is an impressive Multi tiered affair.
There are Sea animals, creatures, and boats across three storeys and you can choose which level you take a ride on.
After a long-ish queue we head up to the top and choose our rides on this level with great panoramic views of Nantes. The machines are each so unique and amazingly built, sea creatures, boats, mythical animals, a wonderful and bizarre collection. We all get in the sailing boat which tips us from end to end as the ride gets into full swing.
Each level has different types of carousel ride with the middle level (which Coen would not be allowed on being too small) suspended in the air. Each ‘machine’ has moving parts that make them life-like, some controlled by the rider and some by the carousel moving - with tentacles that wave, eyes that move, wings, mouths and all kinds of other detail.
We head back across the big pedestrian plaza with the children on their scooters, Amelia heads straight back to the zip line in the park, and Coen gets totally distracted as he sees something zoom passed him on the ground. He drops his scooter and starts running.
There is a man with a big, very fast 4-wheel drive, remote control car bombing it about the place. I have never see Coen run so fast or so far as he sprints after this car from one end of the plaza to the other, desperately wanting to ‘catch it’. Eventually he starts to tire and looks at me in disappointment, I crouch down with him on my knee and the controller brings the car to us a few times and stops so that Coen can see it. But really, he wants to touch it, lucky the car is pretty speedy.
Children stand with their legs wide wanting the driver to drive to through their legs, and they are all excited when he does (including Coen who we have to lift to let the car through as it’s so big).
We decide not to do the gallery today as it involves a guided tour (of the large animals that they have created including a spider, a humming bird, and the Heron tree) though we will definitely come back another year to see the elephant moving and maybe the gallery as the children get older.
We head back to the car (after an urban nature wee from Amelia who declares she needs a wee when we are just far enough away from the attraction where all the toilets were). As we walk into the car park I notice the sign Nic had seen about parking...and see the bit that he must have missed. Of course it’s written in French but I can make out that the parking is not in fact just 5euros (what a bargain that would be by the way, and why on earth would a city centre car park be empty, just down the road from its major attraction, if it only charged 5e for parking?!?! The things you think of after the event!), it is actually 5euro per 15 minutes...so now we are in for a 45euro parking charge, which even beats our current Dubrovnik ‘we got done’ record! Luckily Nic manages to confuse the man on the intercom who speaks just a little English, so as we pull up to the barrier to our utter amazement he just opens the barrier. We drive off pretty quickly.
We have done another classic pin point on the map to find our overnight stop over, so head out of Nantes as always apprehensive of what we’ll find.
We are pleasantly surprised as we pull into the little port town, La Roche-Bernard, where the aire we’ve chosen is actually a campsite with showers and everything! We decide there’s a good chance of finding mussels (again, ahem!) and are in luck, also in the menu, more Saint Jaques, this time on a crepe. Although Coen insists that he’s hungry the whole time until he food arrives, once he has had two bites, he couldn’t be less interested and decides it’s more fun to make friends with other diners instead. Amelia and Nic enjoy the mussels and we are pleased with our chosen spot for the night!
After an eventful night of wet beds (wee, milk...and that was just from Nic!!), we climb to the top of the view point where there are some cannons for the children to sit on and look out over the beautiful port and rivers beyond, lined with boats and also a spectacular suspension bridge, which we drive over on our way out.
Our journey continues north further into beautiful Brittany...Read more