Mechanical reverie for young and old at the Halle de la Machine in Toulouse

Toulouse
Mechanical reverie fo ...

It was in November 2018 that Ariane and the Minotaur went out for the first time in public, to walk the streets of Toulouse during a real urban opera attracting nearly 850,000 spectators . 38 and 47 tonnes, these are the respective weights of these two giants of wood and steel , having since found refuge at the Halle de la Machine , a new cultural space of 5000 square meters located on the old runway of the Aéropostale , in the heart of the Montaudran district. This veritable mechanical bestiary shelters the innumerable fantastic machines imagined and animated by the Company La Machine , since its creation. Prepare for an enchanting trip to the land of poetry .


The universe of the Machine: the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, and the imagination of Jules Verne

Between the glass walls of the Halle , machines straight out of the mind of François Delaroziere , the conductor of the company , amaze young and old . Many men and women in orange coveralls gesturing around the machines and a smiley audience . Most attended the birth of the project of the company La Machine in 1999. They tell us wistfully, making Nantes in their workshops, their first Giant, measuring 12 meters high, a technical feat for the time. Each machine is born from a meticulous creation process : first, the research and anatomical study of creatures is crucial. Then, the Leonardo da Vinci sketch phase allows ideas to be put on paper. Then comes the detailed model . “It's goldsmithing ! ”Says a machinist , proudly showing us the fine sculpted and interlocking parts of the miniature horse-man . It is only after these steps that we embark on full-scale manufacturing . Once the monster is finished, it's time to bring it to life through urban shows , the key points of which are always the viewer's surprise and emotion .

Machine Hall Toulouse

Hundreds of machines of all sizes in the Hall

Machine Hall Toulouse

Technical drawing of the Calais dragon

Machine Hall Toulouse

Horse-man model

When the machines are not in shows around the world, these creations are exhibited and told by their machinists themselves, stars in their eyes, within this Toulouse stable . From the history of the Company , to its little secrets , including its best anecdotes , we remain hooked to the lips of these passionate storytellers, eyes wide open. Here, we don't know the boredom of a simple visit to the museum , everything is moving , improvised , and fluid . The cogs are engaged, the music sounds, the torches ignite, the magic operates thanks to the subtle gestures of the machinists with multiple caps. A circus girl climbs at the controls of gigantic articulated wings , François Delaroziere in person offers us a concert by operating the various machines of the Mechanical Symphony , an actress invites the public to participate in the various fair stands created by Pierre De Mecquenem , like the burner- candle , catapult or spearhead .

And yes, at the Halle de la Machine, we arrive thinking of attending an exhibition , and we leave with the feeling of having participated in a street show .

Machine Hall Toulouse

A machinist in full eccentric explanation of this hot air balloon which flies thanks to the gas produced by the plants!

Machine Hall Toulouse

François Delarozière animating the musical machines of the Mechanical Symphony

Machine Hall Toulouse

The explosive stand of the Brûle-Chandelle

 

Beyond the visit ...

Haven't had enough? Treat yourself to a ride on the back of the Minotaur ! The guardian of Toulouse can transport up to 50 people for six 45-minute excursions per day in the Montaudran district . Perch in a nacelle 9 meters high, you observe more closely this symbol of mythology , made more real than life thanks to its breathing and its ultra-realistic facial expressions. Places are expensive so remember to book before your visit! Visitors are also invited to climb on the head of Ariadne, the giant spider that drools and spits water through the dies of his abdomen, to understand the secrets of manipulation .

Machine Hall Toulouse

A stroll on the back of a minotaur

Machine Hall Toulouse

Ariane the spider

 

To go further, the Halle de la Machine offers family workshops , to learn how to draw your performance machine , or even invent your sound machine . These 1.5 hour workshops are accessible from 6 years old.

Also remember to check the cultural program of the place, which is extremely rich and varied: concerts , shows and events for the general public invite spectators to (re) discover the machines differently throughout the year. And why not attend the Small Mechanics Dinner , a mechanical-gastronomic dinner-show orchestrated by François Delaroziere , and concocted by chef Simon Carlier, during which the bread is served at the catapult and the desserts fall from the sky.

Machine Hall Toulouse

The Small Mechanics Dinner

Machine Hall Toulouse

The machine for singing stemware

Practical information

Contact:

3 Avenue de l'Aérodrome de Montaudran,
31400 Toulouse
05 32 10 89 07
contact@halledelamachine.fr

Opening time:

Open Tuesday to Sunday . Times vary depending on the season . Remember to check before your visit !

Prices and other info:

  • Visit of the Hall OR Travel in Minotaur (about 30 min): € 9 at full price , € 6.5 at reduced price , € 4.5 for 6-12 year olds and holders of social minima, free for children under 5 years.
  • Visit of the Hall AND Travel in Minotaur (about 30 min): € 16 at full price , € 11.5 at reduced price , € 8 for 6-12 year olds and holders of social minima.
  • Giant track ticket : visit to the Halle de La Machine + access to the permanent exhibition at the L'Envol des Pionniers museum , located a few hundred meters away: € 15 at full price , € 10 at reduced price , € 8 for 6-12 years old and holders of social minima. + 4 to 8 € for a Minotaur trip
  • For dining , the Minotaur's café offers you local, seasonal cuisine every lunchtime , favoring short circuits. Vegan options and children's menus . Reservation recommended: 05.32.10.88.86 or minotaurecafe@halledelamachine.fr
  • Take a ride at the Sénart square merry-go-round (€ 3 / tour) installed on the Giants Trail , children are crazy about it!


Machine Hall Toulouse

The Minotaur Café

Machine Hall Toulouse

Sénart square riding school

Machine Hall Toulouse

The fish attraction of the Sénart square roundabout

 

Did you like our article? Find others on our BLOG. Also join the Facebook page of the Toulouse Pyrénées Guide . You can also find us on Instagram @guidetoulousepyrerees

Article written by Léa Dürr for the Toulouse Pyrénées Guide


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