The "Pistedes Géants"
A new cultural venue, dedicated to the aeronautical advenure, ready to open its doors late 2018!
Aerospace Valley Toulouse
Situated in Toulouse, on the historic Montaudran site from which the earliest pioneers of civil aviation took off, Toulouse Aerospace is a new genre of district that spans 56 hectares: a place in which to live and work, but also one of culture and, thanks to Innovation Campus, a hub of industry and research that sits at the cutting edge of innovation and focuses on the aeronautics, space and on-board systems sectors.
To celebrate the centenary of the first flight undertaken by Aéropostale, as of October 2018 Toulouse Aerospace will be home to a unique cultural site: the Runway of Giants.
La Piste des Géants (The Runway of Giants) will be made up of 3 spaces:
- La Halle La Machine
A great 6,000m² contemporary hall whose roof is built in the form of aircraft wings and is designed by architect Patrick Arotcharen, this vast space will be devoted to street arts that blend invention and technology. La Halle will house around 150 mechanical machines, a project by artist François Delarozière who is already well-known for his impressive works in Nantes. In Toulouse, a giant Minotaur will head out to meet visitors and passers-by on the former runway that stretches for 2km. More than 250,000 visitors are expected annually.
- The Runway of Giants aviation museum
This space dedicated to the memory of the pioneers of the Latécoère and Aéropostale airlines, as well as the Montaudran quarter – the cradle of aeronautics in Toulouse - will host a permanent exhibition covering more than 1,000m² that will offer an immersion into the adventure of these pioneers and a chance to discover the history of the site itself.
- The Airline Gardens
Situated along the former Aéropostale runway, the 3-hectare gardens present the ambiance of all 3 continents crossed by these aviators. It is a way to relive the adventures of the pioneers of aeronautics, featuring 8 different landscapes and varying environments that range from Toulouse to Valparaiso in Chile. These gardens also include children’s playgrounds, rest areas and interactive terminals that inform visitors and explore the various countries, creating an enjoyable experience to be shared with all the family. (Terminals available from late 2018).
Why is Toulouse the European capital of aeronautics?
In 1917, Latécoère, the very first airplane manufacturers in France began to look for premises for a factory far from the front line so that it could deliver military aircraft. Toulouse, situated far from the fighting, was selected as the base of operations. After the War, the company moved into commercial aviation with the establishment of Latécoère. Toulouse became the main base for airlines serving France, West Africa and South America; the starting point for France’s longest air route. Latécoère, succeeded in 1927 by Aéropostale, began by transporting mail, followed later by freight and finally, from 1920 onwards, the very first passengers. Mermoz and Saint Exupéry are among the famous pilots of the company.