Patrick dropped us off for the 6:45 am bus to Toulouse, just as he had done a week ago. Thanks Patrick. The Airbus Headquarters are located in Toulouse so why not take a tour of the Airbus A380 assembly site?
Before our tour we went to the airport and picked up our rental car we will have for the next three weeks. Without proper maps, no data plan on our phone and only smallish screen shots from google maps we almost didn't get lost but then again... we got lost! The friendly guys at the Intermarché super market helped us out and we were back on track for our 1:30 pm tour. We even arrived early.
The guide was excellent and animated but there were limitations to what she was allowed to show us. From a viewing platform above the assembly hanger we did see three Airbus A380s under construction, all bound for Air Emirates in Dubai. With a wingspan just shy of 80 meters, room for 525-853 passengers and a price tag in excess of 400 million USD the planes are impressive and it was interesting to hear how parts are shipped into Toulouse from Germany, England and Spain for the final assembly. We found the tour to be a bit weak. It would have been nicer to get closer to the action. Photography was not allowed and we were asked to turn off our phones. Put me in charge of these tours or allow me to take pictures and I would find ways to spice it up.
On our way back to Boulogne Sur Gesse we stopped for a late lunch and a SIM card for our phone. Google maps here we come! We spotted a castle in the hills, Château de Caumont, near the tiny town of Cazaux-Savès. It was nice to feel the freedom of having a car again as we swung off the highway to check it out. As it turned out it was closed for the season. A storm was brewing and the light at the castle was nicely subdued and I quickly engaged in a couple of product shots for Citroën. Nobody was there. We walked around for a minute but the sound of dogs barking from the castle grounds had us back in the comfort of our new Airbus in no time. Just as we left the castle we drove into a hail storm. It only lasted a minute or two and the rest of the drive back to Boulogne Sur Gesse was smooth.
NB. The Airbus A380 photos below is from Wikipedia.