Tag:

Toulouse

  • La Halle de la Machine closed in January for its annual pause to make repairs on its celebrated giant mechanical menagerie and to prepare for the year ahead. On a recent visit, I got to glimpse the work that goes on behind the scenes. The focus of much of the work was the Minotaur, which made its debut in 2018 during a 4-day street opera in Toulouse. The Minotaur, made of wood and metal and weighing 46 tons, runs on a complex hydraulic system and is operated by more than a dozen people. A short time after that, La Machine,…

  • Stepping inside the Maison Samaran boutique across from Toulouse’s Victor Hugo Marché is more than just a chance to forage for the essential elements of Southwestern French cuisine. It is an opportunity to visit and pay homage to the Mecca of all things duck. On a recent morning, I arrived and spent a few minutes browsing the display case full of magret de canard, duck thighs, duck confit, duck hearts, and dried duck. On the shelves, there were jars full of cassoulet, duck fat, patés, terrines, and rillettes. I had come to interview the head of this empire, Christophe Samaran…

  • Riding our bikes along the Canal du Midi to eat lunch at L’Écluse de Castanet is one of those perfect days that reminds us why we moved to France. We had been meaning to do this since just about forever, but sometimes the grind of daily life gets you in a rut. Fortunately, my wife had a fit of inspiration and suggested an outing at the last minute. Pulling away from the inertia of routine is never easy, and work’s siren song is often hard to ignore. That is particularly true for us eat-lunch-at-our-desk Americans. Still, we roused ourselves and…

  • ‘Thanks to its giant robotic minotaur and spider, La Machine caused a huge sensation in its new hometown of Toulouse back in early November. The 4-day Guardian of the Temple street theater production was followed one week later by the grand opening of La Halle de La Machine, its permanent workshop and menagerie for its fantastic creations. While we knew these were both big hits, now we know how big. As La Halle closed for the holiday season, the group released a statement indicating that 900,000 people witnessed the Guardian spectacle. And the 3-day inauguration drew 70,000 visitors. That included…

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