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Mermoz Envol des pionniers

La Piste des Géants

A cultural venue that is unique in France will open its doors at the end of 2018 in Toulouse, to highlight and publicise the aeronautical adventure: an intelligent combination of a journey, a world of wonder and a remembrance site dedicated to the pioneers of aviation.

The creatures of the La Machine Company arrive in Toulouse!

La Machine presented the world premiere of “TheGuardian of the Temple", from 1stto 4thNovember2018 in the streets of Toulouse. The show, a veritable urban legend, was an introduction to the installation of the cultural and touristic equipment of La Halle de La Machine in the district of Montaudran around the historic runway of the air postal service now known as La Piste des Géants (the Runway of the Giants). 900 000 spectators came out for the four-days show.


Le Minotaure de la compagnie la Machine

World premiere: The Guardian of the Temple show

The show took place begining of November in the streets of Toulouse, which form a natural labyrinth, and served as an introduction to La Halle de La Machine in the Montaudran quarter. Dreamed up as a story, the show took place in a number of districts across the historic city centre, transformed for the occasion into veritable theatre stages. The monumental Minotaur reinterpreted the myth of Ariadne alongside a giant spider.

The Runway of Giants is a unique venue made up of 3 spaces

The cultural site "The Trail of Giants" is part of the ambitious Toulouse Aerospace urban project, which Toulouse Métropole is bringing into being in Montaudran, the historic birthplace of aeronautics.
Designed around the runway from which the pioneers of civil aviation took off during the 1920s, "The Runway of Giants" comprises a number of features: the planned Remembrance Space (L'Envol des pionniers), in the restored historic buildings, "The Gardens of the Line" opened in June 2017, a grand landscaped journey and La Halle de La Machine, a contemporary building that houses the dreamlike creations of La Machine Company. 

  • La Halle La Machine

Whilst Nantes has been home to the workshops of La Machine in the heart of its island for many years now, this company has always worked in the Toulouse area at the Tournefeuille Factory, the National Centre for Street Arts. Today, the company wants to take its spectacular machines out of the workshops and share them with the people of Toulouse thanks to an urban renewal project in the very heart of the Montaudran quarter. La Halle de La Machine, designed by architect Patrick Arotcharen, a great 6,000m² contemporary hall whose roof is built in the form of aircraft wings, opened its doors to the public on 9th November 2018 in the Montaudran quarter of Toulouse and will bring to life the stable that houses the spectacular street-theatre machines, designed and created by François Delaroziere and his team at La Machine Company. Throughout the year, visitors will be able to see the around 100 machines come to life, thanks to the talent of their handlers. In Toulouse, a giant Minotaur will head out to encounter passers-by along the former runway that stretches for 2km. 



  • L'Envol des pionners (Flight of the pioneers)

In order to recognise and pay tribute to the incredible Toulouse story that heralded the birth of civil aviation with the very first Latécoère flight that took off from Montaudran, followed by Aéropostale and finally Air France, Toulouse Métropole has repurposed the historic buildings on this site in partnership with a number of associations and the families of the pioneers themselves in order to create a memorial space devoted to aeronautics. L'Envol des pionniers, remembrance space opens end of December, to host a permanent exhibition covering 1,000m², combining an immersion into the adventures of the early pioneers and an exploration of the site’s history. Here, visitors will be able to discover, among other things, the Bréguet XIV flight simulator that is currently under construction by the firm Altran. 


  • The Gardens of the Line

Situated alongside the former Aéropostale runway, these gardens represent the ambiance of the 3 continents crossed by early aviators. It provides a way to relive the adventure of the pioneers of aeronautics, with 8 different landscapes and habitats ranging from Toulouse to Valparaiso in Chile. These gardens will also include play areas for children and interactive features to let visitors discover and learn about the various countries, combining to create a wonderful experience for the whole family to enjoy.


Why is Toulouse the European capital of aeronautics?​

In 1917, Latécoère, the very first airplane manufacturers in France began to look for premises for a factory far from the front line so that it could deliver military aircraft. Toulouse, situated far from the fighting, was selected as the base of operations. After the War, the company moved into commercial aviation with the establishment of Latécoère. Toulouse became the main base for airlines serving France, West Africa and South America; the starting point for France’s longest air route. Latécoère, succeeded in 1927 by Aéropostale, began by transporting mail, followed later by freight and finally, from 1920 onwards, the very first passengers. Mermoz and Saint Exupéry are among the famous pilots of the company.