The main reason we wanted to visit Toulouse was to do a factory tour of the Airbus plant and the adjoining aviation museum. After our experience in Seattle of Boeing´s museum of flight, I was really curious about how the European counterpart would be like.
To get to the Museum, located next to the Airport, we used a combination of the automated “VAL” metro system and tramway. The metro feels like you are boarding a sideways moving elevator as everything is automated and driverless. The platform is separated from the tracks by automatic doors that open together with the carriage doors when the train is in the station. After travelling a few stops underground on line A we changed at Arenes station from tramline T1 in the direction of Aeroconstellation. After a swift journey, the Tram is designed by Airbus of course, we arrived at the stop for Aeroscopia. As there are some construction works going on we had to take a longer route to walk to the museum, so currently it would be faster to travel one stop further down the line to Aeroconstellation as that is a shorter walk to the museum.
The first part of the visit was a factory tour, after a small introduction in an audio-visual room at the museum a bus took us towards the Airbus factory grounds where we could have a look inside one of the A380 construction buildings. Unfortunately I was not allowed to take any pictures whilst we were on Airbus property. The Tour itself was also quite short, as we only saw one building. The guide did her best in explaining everything and was quite knowledgeable about the subject, so she could answer any questions we had. The visit itself ended with a tour of the A400M parked in front of the museum building, and it was quite interesting to see this new military aircraft in real-life.
After taking a lunch in the museum restaurant, which was located inside of an old farm a short walk away from the main building, I visited the museum itself. Although it was quite a bit smaller than the one in Seattle I still managed to spend the afternoon here. Some of the top exhibits where the Super Guppy (the first generation of aircraft used to fly aircraft parts in between the various Airbus production sites, ironically it is an adapted Boeing aircraft), the First Airbus, the A300B1 and of course a Concorde. At the time there was also a special Tintin exhibition going on and you could look for all the different places where Snowy had hid himself. All in all I had a pleasant day at the museum and it is worth a visit if you are in the area.