Giant Jules Verne diver takes to the streets of Nantes, courtesy of the Sultan's Elephant people

RJ sez, "Known for their supersized productions, the French mechanical marionette street theatre company Royale de Luxe [ed: see The Sultan's Elephant] have been up to their tricks again this weekend, this time on their home territory of the city of Nantes in western France. A giant deep-sea diver desperately searches for his niece, a search which has encompassed a hundred years, the sinking of the Titanic and a mysterious mailbox. Quite an extraordinary sight by anyone's standards."

Nantes, the home town of Jules Verne, is situated in western France. Here, near the river Loire a giant deep-sea diver sleeps gently, waiting for his task to begin. Sadness marks his face even as he sleeps. He has been searching the world over for his missing niece and although he may not know it, the end of his search is coming. The diver or scaphandrier as he is known in French will be paraded through the streets of this historic city at the beginning of the Estuary 2009 arts festival. The biannual festival gives the French mechanical marionette street theater company Royale de Luxe the opportunity to unveil their latest creation.
A Giant Awakes in Nantes

(Image: (c) Stéphane Lerouge - Nantes)

(Thanks, RJ!)


  1. Humans. We create NASCAR culture, but we also create things like this. No wonder Doctor Who keeps saving us from the Daleks.

  2. I was in Nantes a while ago and saw their elephant and a couple of their other creations. They were pretty impressive.

  3. Amazing.

    If you’re interested in this subject, take a moment to look up Le Machine De’lile in Nantes as well. The head honchos have close ties to Royal Deluxe and they do the machines you see in the Royal Deluxe performances; for example, they are the folks who made Sultan’s Elephant.

  4. I loved The Sultan’s Elephant. Looking forward to seeing video of this performance, as well.

  5. Royal De Luxe came to Chile in 2007, with a girl puppet (La Pequeña Gigante). It created a lot of interest -hundreds of people in the streets to watch it. Quite impressive, but the huge numbers of people plus the heat were not very attractive.

    They are coming again in our summer, 2010. Apparently is the same story with the giant diver and the girl. They adapt their stories to each country.

  6. Also watch out for ‘La Machine’, the offshoot company of François Delarozière, who designed the Sultan’s Elephant but has since left Royal De Luxe.

    La Princesse, La Machine’s giant mechanical spider, was in Liverpool last September (and may have been my highlight of 2008), and Yokohama in ~6 weeks ago.

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