Annick Dournes & Frederic de Poligny
Created in 1987 the Futuroscope is a French leisure park located close to Poitiers and a TGV speed train can take you there in 2 hours from Paris. It’s the second best liked park in France and most visitors will tell you that they had a wonderful time there: grown-ups dragged there by their kids soon find out that they are genuinely having fun and even teenagers enjoy it. Everything is done to make you get a 200% enjoyment!
The park is huge and long footbridges and alleys surrounded by lawns and trees take you from one futuristic building to the other. The architects have deliberately chosen geometric shapes, spheres, triangles, cubes, cylinders or crystals to build the different pavilions using mostly glass and metal. They intended to create “archisculptures” rather than mere architecture and they obviously succeeded. On your way you will see many Land Art sculptures such as trees with shoes on or big fat ladies that children love to climb.
This year Futuroscope’s watchword is “Expect the unexpected” so forget all your prejudices and get carried away by the amazing attractions. The Futuroscope is the first European leisure park to be awarded twice“Best Attraction in the World”(THEA awards for outstanding achievement) and they can rightfully be proud of it!
The newly awarded attraction is called ‘The Time Machine’ where you will travel through time with the Raving Rabbids. This crowd-pleaser attraction immerses the visitors in the Raving Rabbids world using technological innovations such as the 7 animated works on LED screens or the active 3D full HD panoramic film action. But first of all it’s fun: get ready to be shaken in all directions and shaken with laughter.
“Arthur, the 4D adventure” is the other attraction to have won the coveted award. Based on his worldwide successful “Arhur and the Minimoys” trilogy, Luc Besson, the famous French film director and producer, created a thrill-filled attraction. It’s an amazing combination of a 3D animated film on a 9,700-ft2 IMAX dome screen with a synchronised motion simulator and multi-sensory physical effects! You might feel like shrinking and become a Minimoy ready to help Arthur survive a hair-raising race.
“Dances with robots” is a brand new way to learn how to dance! Ten 23-ft-high robot arms originally created for the car industry move in time to the music surrounded by lighting effects and videos. Sitting two by two in one of the giant robot arm you will start to move through space flying, whirling and getting dizzy! The music and vibe were written by Martin Solveig a French DJ successful in the world biggest clubs. And if you don’t feel like joining the “dancers” which is quite understandable, you can watch the show from a big viewing balcony wondering how many of them will need a vomit bag by the end of the dance!
“Journey into the dark”: in this pavilion you will visit a Louisiana Bayou, New York or the highest Himalayan peak… in total darkness! A blind guide will show you the way, smelling, listening and touching you will ‘see’ the world in a new way. Built on social awareness this attraction delivers the message that ‘Life is better together’.
You will need strong guts once again in “The Arena”: it’s a crazy training sport centre where 3 huge free-fall slides await you, and hearing people screaming while going down the steep slopes you might hesitate. Kids don’t: only just out of it they run up the stairs again to do it again and again. Aren’t they amazing! In a more quiet way you can test the power of your mind: wearing a special helmet picking up your brain waves you will be astonished to see a ball moving without touching it.
There are plenty more attractions such as i-Magic, the Lady O Evening Show, Mission Hubble, The Machines of da Vinci, and many more. It will take you at least two days to do them all. Don’t ever fear to get lost, the staff members are always happy to help with a genuine kindness especially with children.
“Le Monde des Enfants” (The Children’s World) is a large open area dedicated to the young ones with several attractions. They can learn how to drive, get lost in a labyrinth, pretend to be firemen, walk on water… And if you are young at mine you are very welcomed to join in.
There are 7 restaurants in the Futuroscope from a burger restaurant, a ‘creperie’, a buffet restaurant to a gastronomic restaurant. They all are very affordable and all the meals are daily made with local produce, and cooked in the park’s kitchens: an excellent value for money in each one. You can also have a drink at the Aerobar going up and down sitting in an open-air flying saucer and get a great view all over the park.
I can only advice you to visit the Futuroscope’s website, it’s funny and the videos will tempt much better than any word could!
Text © Annick Dournes
Photos © Frederic de Poligny