Giant Airplanes in Tolouse

194This past weekend, I had a unique opportunity to travel to [Toulouse](
http://wikitravel.org/en/Toulouse). Unique because the voyage included an organized tour of the Airbus company yards, with a special something thrown in for us at the end. Everybody can get a tour of Airbus, but as a bonus feature we got a sneak preview of the new Airbus 380. We weren’t allowed inside the hall where the beast was assembled; instead we were looking down from a visitor platform. And of course photography was not allowed.

Seeing the A380 for the first time in such a huge hangar fools you completely. You look down and you see, well, an aircraft. It takes a little while until you notice that those small crawly things on the wing are two technicians brooding over some schematics. Really impressive – and I cannot wait until the plane is finished and I will have my first flight on one.

Other than the A380, an Airbus tour is also highly recommended for any serious geek. It’s way too short, but interesting. I just wish they’d allow you to walk among the aircraft more.

198Tolouse itself is pretty nice, clean, with several interesting buildings and the Canal du Midi is good for an extended walk. I doubt you could spend more than at most an extended weekend without being bored out of your mind however.

One final word of warning: Do not go to the [Cité de l’Espace](http://www.cite-espace.com/index.php), unless you want to interest your young children in space flight. There is little to see and even less to do – it’s a waste of both time and money. And this comes from a guy who really loves spaceflight, too.

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