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Nantes' Grand Eléphant off parade for green refit

Four-storey high mechanical creature will be fitted with a smaller, cleaner hybrid engine as part of three-month makeover after 10 years of running on diesel

One of Nantes' best-known tourist attractions will not parade the streets over Christmas, because it is undergoing a three-month eco-friendly €770,000 makeover.

The Grand Eléphant, part of the city's Jules Verne-inspired Machines de L'ile attraction, marked its 10th anniversary this summer, but its owners have decided that, after marching 20,000km, it is time the four-storey mechanical pachyderm had an overhaul.

The maintenance will last three months, during which time the 48-tonne device will be completely dismantled and cleaned, given new ears - and its 420hp diesel engine replaced with a smaller and more efficient 150hp hybrid petrol and electric one.

While the elephant is out of action, dragon horse Long Ma, which made its debut in 2015, will go on public show. Sadly for visitors, it will not walk or spit fire.

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