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La Nuit Des Chimeres

by Zach Roberge, River Editor

Le Mans’ got spectacle unlike anything I’ve experienced before. Not long ago I was in the center of Paris, Point Zero, and standing in the imposing shadow of Notre Dame. It was such an amazing structure, not only for the history behind it, neither just for the movie made of it, but also because it’s so big an impressive, carved with the likenesses of saints. It was a great experience just to tilt my head back, looking up these two enormous towers which go up over a hundred feet, and see that they’re both filled with these beautiful, intricate sculptures.

Le Mans also has a cathedral, The Cathedral of Saint Julian, and it is not much smaller than Notre Dame, if one can fathom that. However, Le Mans puts on a show called, La Nuit Des Chimeres from July until September. It is a light show which uses projection mapping on the historical landmarks of Le Mans to tell the story of the chimera. One of these involves the cathedral. So imagine, coming to a structure not much smaller than Notre Dame, you’re standing in awe at it’s sheer presence, and it comes to life with beautiful animation.

There’s no real story for me here. I hardly even understood the narrative the projections tried to portray. There was a guide on their website that gave a synopsis, but even reading that, I had trouble following along. I simply stood and experienced the spectacle.



This is the cathedral in all her glory. In this segment godly creatures such as dragons and serpents ride along the recesses of the structure.



This was the fountain next to the cathedral where mermaids play. To get to other parts of the show you had to walk through the projection and among these creatures. I am not ashamed to admit I made shadow pupped bunny ears on one.



This was the front of the cathedral. Accompanying these angels was a loud speaker playing heavenly music. The patterns behind also transformed as the song progressed.



Last of my pictures is this old wall which the building of the labyrinth for the chimera was played out on. I thought it was both amazing and rather silly that the artists were able to transform that tower into a face.


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