Jam packed with fun – Futuroscope
When you think about visiting France what springs to mind for you? Is it the beautiful cities, the stunning and varied countryside, the huge diversity of coastline on offer, the food? Whether you are a sun worshipper, a skier, a sailor or a hiker you are pretty much guaranteed to find somewhere suitable to suit your needs. All in all France has something to offer most holiday planners.
But I bet when you think Theme or Leisure Park the odds are that France will not be the first destination that comes to mind.
Well if you are visiting France for your family holiday or planning a short break with the kids then consider one word: Futuroscope. If you have been before you will know what I am talking about, if not then read on.
Futuroscope is one of the best-known and best-loved leisure parks in France offering the family a different type of destination on a holiday break that is just jam-packed with fun!
The brainchild of René Monory the park is spread over 60 hectares of green countryside and has welcomed more than 40 million visitors through its doors since it opened 26 years ago in 1987.
Since then the park has gone from strength to strength and is now France’s second largest leisure park and the thirteenth largest in Europe, one of the reasons for this success is that the park renews 50% of its attractions every two years by investing 10% of its annual turnover in new attractions.
It would be way too difficult to do justice to all the attractions in this small article so I will mention just our own personal favourites from our visit. Easier said than done though as choosing favourites is very difficult because everything was so good but our families absolute favourite was “Arthur, the 4D Adventure” which is based on the Arthur and the Invisibles film trilogy. The 3D animated film viewed on a 9,700-ft² IMAX® dome screen, the synchronised motion simulator, and the multi-sensory physical effects in the theatre all combine to absorb you in the superb digital work from Luc Besson. Last year the attraction won a THEA (Themed Entertainment Association) award for “Outstanding achievement” in the category “Best attractions”.
Second on our must see list is “Cosmic Collisions”. Sitting inside a planetarium in a class of its own with six 6,500-lumen projectors, the digital equipment used in this attraction optimises the image quality to create the illusion of 3D. The images are shown at a resolution of 1,400 x 1,050 pixels, giving viewers the powerful impression that they are immersed in the images. You will take a spectacular journey through space and time, witness an asteroid smashing into our planet, watch as two galaxies crash into each other, observe the massive cosmic collisions in the depths of space that forged the universe, shape it today and set the blueprint for its future.
The park is situated just outside the City of Poitiers within the department of Vienne which in turn lies within the Poitou-Charentes area on the West Coast of France. It is about 90 miles inland and East of Nantes and 80 Miles inland and North of La Rochelle. Travel is easy with the area being well served by major motorways and airports. Some of the UK’s budget airlines do very good deals on flights from the UK’s northern airports to Poitiers, Nantes and Limoges which are all within striking distance of the park.
Accommodation is plentiful with something to suit all budgets. Thirteen 1 to 4-star hotels are situated less than a ten minute walk from the main entrance and offer more than 1,700 rooms, with further 6,000 rooms available in Hotels within the surrounding Vienne department.
B&B and guest houses, rural self-catering cottages and rental accommodation, Static caravans and campsites are also plentiful nearby.
Within the park there are seven themed restaurants and a large choice of takeaway outlets which provide good quality food at reasonable prices. If you prefer you can take your own picnic and make use of the specially provided spacious picnic areas, there are even some undercover areas if the weather turns wet.
Lunchtime for the French is the main meal of the day and they really do go to town with their picnics. It is fascinating to watch them unpacking everything from the “kitchen sink” right down to the all important bottle of wine and “proper” glass wine glasses. Maximising their meal time by spending an hour or two relaxing and enjoying their family time, no rushing!
One thing that really is worth a mention is the fantastic architecture in the park, the spectacular theatres inside Futuroscope are gigantic sculptures designed by Denis Laming, their futuristic lines blending in smoothly with the surrounding landscape. Denis conceived and designed all of the theatres and buildings inside Futuroscope since its conception in the 80’s.
To sum up, we all thoroughly enjoyed our two-day visit to Futuroscope and would highly recommend a visit. If you are at all worried about the language barrier then don’t be because you can actually borrow a free translation headset from the park into which you can plug your own headphones (3.5mm jack) which will translate most of the attractions into English for you at the touch of a button. If you don’t have your own headphones then they are available to buy for 1 Euro when you collect your translator but I would very much recommend using your own for a better quality experience.
On every attraction throughout the park, there are plenty of attendants on duty who are always more than happy to help. I have to say that I cannot praise them highly enough for their, advice, enthusiasm and smiling faces they really do seem to be enjoying their jobs.
So if you are looking for something different, fun and educational then check out Futuroscope, you won’t regret it.