From Antwerp to Nantes, these huge puppets are really worth a vacation to these European towns

From Antwerp to Nantes, these huge puppets are really worth a vacation to these European towns

‘I felt transported back again to childhood’: Wherever to catch Royal de Luxe’s big puppets this summer time.

Have you observed the giants roaming Europe’s streets?


This summer time, French road theatre company Royal de Luxe will after once more convey its mechanical marionettes to the masses.

The spectacle is shifting in a lot more means than 1. Touchingly lifelike and controlled by experienced puppeteers, the massive puppets are accompanied by emotive songs that routinely brings crowds to tears.

From France to Belgium, here’s exactly where you can capture ‘The Giants’ this summer.

What is Royal de Luxe?

Royal de Luxe is a French road theatre company that specialises in big mechanical puppets.

Started in 1979 in Aix-en-Provence, south of France, but now dependent in Nantes, the business started with unorthodox road theatre productions in advance of launching a multi-day, city-huge puppet efficiency in 1993.

All through the decades, its massive marionettes and troupe of expert puppeteers have travelled through Europe and as significantly as Australia, Chile and Mexico.

Every single efficiency is shaped by a fantastical backstory, from a huge who fell from the sky to a time-travelling elephant.

“Each generation will take you to one more world, via a new adventure all around diverse cities,” suggests Jennifer Symons, a extended-time admirer and follower of The Giants.

“The attention to detail, from the way the puppets blink in these types of a human way, to the original soundtrack composed to set the tone of the scene, definitely would make the viewers join with the figures and feel part of the clearly show.”

All through the decades, the company’s ‘Saga of the Giants’ has noticed a deep-sea diver arise from the Port of Le Havre in France a grandmother wander the cobblestones of Liverpool in commemoration of Planet War I and Xolo the canine bounce down the streets of Guadalajara, Mexico to celebrate 100 years due to the fact the Mexican Revolution.

“These types of a mesmerising occasion. Something I will never ever forget about,” says Helen Gaskell, who noticed Xolo in the course of his Liverpool check out. “I love his boundless vitality and cheeky persona.”


The marionettes are controlled by as quite a few as 30 puppeteers dressed in crimson who use pulleys, strings and one another’s overall body excess weight to breathe daily life into each aspect.

Royal de Luxe’s 2018 clearly show in Liverpool, British isles, drew far more than a few million spectators.

“The full city was swept up in the wonderful stunning, which constructed up just about every day as the story unfolded,” says Christine Appleby, who attended the function for her 70th birthday.

“I felt transported back again to childhood exactly where your creativeness became actuality,” provides Kay Symons, who attended the Liverpool party with her. “The puppets are so lifelike and you get truly drawn into their tale.”

Antwerp: See Royal de Luxe’s huge puppets in Belgium

This August, Royal de Luxe is returning to Antwerp, Belgium, for the fifth time.


The animatronic puppets will type aspect of Zomer van Antwerpen (the Antwerp summer season pageant), which operates right up until 3 September. They will just take to the streets on 25-27 August.

At any time mysterious, the programme continues to be a top secret, but it is predicted to consist of the theatre company’s newest generation: the Bull Machin.

Just after retiring the Giants in 2018, the puppeteers returned in September 2022 with this new creation. Debuted in Villeurbanne, France, the big bulldog characteristics an eye patch and Winston Churchill-referencing cigar dangling out of its mouth.

Theatre enthusiasts will locate lots additional amusement at the festival, from the Nofit Condition rock ‘n’ roll circus to Charon, an eerie 9-metre-tall kinetic sculpture manufactured of skeletons.

Nantes and Saint-Herblain: See Royal de Luxe’s big puppets in France

If you are a puppy individual, head to Nantes and Saint-Herblain in western France on 22-24 September to see some larger sized-than-daily life four-legged close friends.


The clumsy still charming Bull Machin bulldog will be joined by a Royal de Luxe favourite, Xolo – a skinny black doggy based on the Mexican hairless breed of the very same title.

In 2022, the two puppets raced 1 one more by way of the streets of Villeurbanne in celebration of its appointment as the initial French Capital of Culture.