La Nuit des Chimères: a light-filled fairyland

Between Angels and Demons – Apse of the Saint-Julien cathedral

Various projected scenes come alive on the high walls of this architectural gem, one of the most enormous cathedrals in France: a monumental forest sprouts up, angels are sent spinning, a giant stained-glass window appears and the building is transformed into a ship.

(duration of the sequence: 15 mins)

The Birth of the Chimera – Staircase fountain

Near the apse of the cathedral, the fountain in the place des Jacobins comes alive with chimera who frolic on its balustrades and double flight of steps, before climbing up the walls of the religious monument.

(duration of the sequence: 15 mins)

The Concert of the Angels – Façade of the Saint-Julien cathedral

Escaped from one of the cathedral vaults, angel musicians appear on the Roman façade and hold a real concert, for example by picking at the strings of the "eschaqueil" (a 14-th century instrument), or playing old-fashioned flutes and bagpipes. This creation is inspired by the fresco discovered in the 19th century in one of the building's chapels, which represents 47 angel singers and musicians.

(duration of the sequence: 10 mins)

Royal Chimera – Royal porch of the Saint-Julien cathedral

The large figures that adorn the royal porch of the cathedral, through which the great and the good would once enter to attend the services, suddenly comes alive with projected images that mimic their shapes. The process allows viewers to rediscover these features, which passers-by usually don't stop to look at.

(duration of the sequence: 5 minutes)

The appearance of Queen Bérengère – Musical courtyard of Queen Bérengère

Projected onto a screen of water, the ghostly silhouette of a White Lady floats through the musical courtyard of Queen Bérengère... It really is her, the wife of Richard the Lionheart, depicted according to his recumbent statue in the Épau abbey outside Le Mans.

(duration of the sequence: 5 mins)

The Banquet – Academy Garden

In the discreet courtyard of the Academy, the audience takes their seats to watch a strange banquet. On the throne-shaped chairs set around the table, figures summoned by King Henry II come to life as if by magic. The virtual guests – Aliénor, Bérengère, Richard and Cassandre – come to tell the Arthurian Legend through song. Unicorns, minstrels, fairies and gallant knights all illustrate these tales.

(duration of the sequence: 1 hour 10 mins)

The Labyrinth of the Chimera – Pans-de-Gorron Wall

An incredible fresco that comes to life along the Pans-de-Gorron wall, an 180-metre-long construction that backs onto Le Mans' historic centre! Emerging from the ground, strange creatures get to work building towers, digging tunnels or erecting large figures. A procession of musicians advances, two flying chimera arrive... Something is getting started!

(duration of the sequence: 20 mins)

Masks and Dragons – Saint-Hilaire Wall

On the Roman wall built around the village in the 3rd century, between the Ardents and Tucé towers, monsters, knights, dancers and giant masks emerge, each of which celebrates the myths, dreams and legends in their own way.

(duration of the sequence: 20 mins)
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During the months of July and August, be amazed by the breathtaking visual and sound creations at La Nuit des Chimères (The Night of the Chimera). A poetic stroll through the Plantagenet City, the historic district of Le Mans, whose façades come alive as if by magic...

Don't be surprised if you come across people who have suddenly stopped in their tracks, eyes wide. Every night in summer, the Plantagenet City in Le Mans is the stage for a strange fairground. The stunning historic centre sees its timber-framed housed, cobblestones and monuments come alive and host myriad characters and creatures. Projected onto the walls, these take part in various scenes unveiled along an ambulatory theatre open and free to all. Along the circuit, chimera, magic lanterns and other gargoyles emerge between Surrealist scenes.

See above for images of the creations designed and showcased by the dream-weavers Skertzthe eight dedicated sites. From the cathedral, which hosts a concert of angel musicians, to the Pans-de-Gorron wall, on which strange builders seem to work, not to mention the astonishing improvised banquet in the courtyard of the Academy, the surprises never cease!