Offbeat, Unusual, and Unique Theme Parks in France
France is not all museums and baguettes you know. There’s a flourishing theme park revolution afoot where the unusual is de rigeur. Check out this list of five quirky theme parks in France you should be on the lookout for next time you’re in the neighbourhood:
Hedgehogs are the signature theme for this unusual amusement park near Troyes in Aube. With four themed villages, more than thirty-seven attractions in addition to animal and magic shows the park makes for a great day out with the “Niglos” – French slang for hedgehogs. It’s heavy on kid-friendly rides, but there is the thrilling “Grizzli” for the older (and braver) ones.
2. Puy du Fou
An historical theme park in Les Epesses — the heart of the Vendée region, Puy du Fou attracts over 1 million visitors a year and is the fourth most popular theme park in France (that one with the mouse is first.) With attractions like The Vikings, The Secret of the Lance and Richlieu’s Musketeers – it is definitely THE place to get your medieval geek on.
3. Le Pal
Le Pal is a unique cross between an amusement park and a zoo. Set in a massive 35 acres of beautiful green land in Auvergne, it showcases more than five hundred animals from five continents — including elephants, lions, tigers, hippos and wolves. One of the more popular activities here is their “Zookeeper for a Day” program. It costs 100 Euros, and needs to be booked months in advance. The amusement park side of Le Pal houses your typical water rides and rollercoasters.
One of the France’s smaller theme parks, Festyland near Caen in Lower Normandy is squarely aimed at families rather than thrill-seekers. And the theme of this park? The year 1066. Talk about going for the obscure. Festyland’s motto is “Defiez le!” –translated as “Brave it!” — it refers to the main attraction: a 60-second long roller coaster ride.
Futuroscope with its science and technology theme is the second most popular theme park in France – it attracts almost 2 million visitors a year. Located in Vienne, one of the main attractions is its famous “robotic zoo” as well as multiple audio and cinematic experiences, including 3D IMAX movies and even some 4D shows. Although Futuroscope just celebrated its 25th anniversary, and there are far fewer traditional amusement park rides here, this park uses innovation to stay ahead of the competition. An example: the latest experience titled Dances with Robots, by famed Paris DJ Martin Solveig, takes kids on a robot roller coaster dance party. Trust me, it sounds weird (and it is) but it is probably the coolest thing your kids will do all year.