ANGERS: Detour in Ancenis

Although this past weekend featured a very historically enriched Saturday with an educationally enlightening excursion to Mount St. Michel and the beautiful medieval port town of St. Malo, this post is dedicated to my Friday trip to Nantes to visit a giant mechanical elephant. 

Nantes is a city in western France located on the Loire River. It is similar to Angers, only it’s bigger and has more tourist attractions — one of them being a massive wooden elephant. The elephant belongs to Les Machines De L’Ile: a creative amusement park that combines an artistic carnival theme with the mechanical works of Leonardo Da Vinci. So this elephant (who has made a trip around the entire world) walks around town and squirts water out of his trunk. 

So a few other students and I left Angers for the day to at least catch a glimpse, if not ride this Trojan Dumbo, and see what the rest of the city of Nantes had to offer.

Upon boarding the train and making it exactly halfway to our destination, our unfamiliarity of the European train system led us to getting off in the town of Ancenis. 

We thought it was Nantes and were confused when passengers getting on were looking at us funny as we got off. 

The second we got off, the train started pulling away just in time for us to realize the humiliating mistake we had made. We looked around and saw nothing but a small neighborhood and a pizzeria. Silly Americans…

So long story short, Ancenis was in fact so small that we had to have a taxi from another city come and pick us up and take us to Nantes. I have to admit that it actually wasn’t too bad being in a car driving through some French countryside for a change.

Upon arriving in Nantes after our two-hour detour, we found the Machines to be very impressive. We enjoyed ending our day of mishaps by getting in touch with our ‘inner six-year-old’ by riding the elephant.

The elephant moved about .05 miles an hour and we spent most of our time bundled up in blankets inside because it was so cold and windy saying, “Yeah, this is…cool.”

Okay, so maybe we were a little old for the elephant, but at least we can always brag that we’ve been to Ancenis.