Between 23rd and 26th June 2016, the city of Calais will be invaded by enormous machines that run, climb buildings and even breathe fire. No, it’s not War of the Worlds. This spectacular four-day show actually sees two giant mechanical beasts made of wood and metal visit the city: the dragon horse Long Ma and the spider Kumo. Check out our guide to find out why you need to add the Long Ma festival to your Calais itinerary this year.
Motorised Steampunk Creations from Brittany
Dreamed up by art directors François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice, these otherworldly monsters tour the world from their base in the city of Nantes just south of Brittany, where Les Machines de l’île is a veritable mechanised universe. While in Nantes you can ride a massive elephant and a three-tiered carousel of steampunk style animals, the Long Ma festival in Calais will see you come face to face with two other mystical creatures: the 12-metre-high and 16-metre-long horse dragon Long Ma and the 38 tonnes spider Kumo.
Enter the Magical World of La Machine
The free-to-enter show sees the production company La Machine join forces with the National Arts Centre Le Channel to celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between France and China. With parades across Calais in the daytime, and night time performances featuring dazzling special effects and a full orchestra, the result is a truly mesmerising and breathtaking show. The performance follows the tale of mankind’s mystical protector Long Ma, and her struggle to recover her temple from the evil spider Kumo, who has hidden it within Calais.
An Unmissable Sight in Calais
Besides giant fire-breathing horses and enormous spiders, the festival will have a temporary exhibition at the Calais Museum of Fine Arts, allowing you to dip into the surreal world of François Delarozière and his army of articulated machines. Discover the various models, hand drawn sketches and fantastic machines that have come from the genius mind of La Machine.
If this has inspired your own trip, check out our adventure page for more info.
Main image by Ludovic on Flickr.