10 French Theme Parks You Should Be Visiting Instead of Disney

Futuroscope
Futuroscope | © Flavio Ensiki/Flickr

From burning viking ships and real moonwalk-tasters to cutting-edge interactive media parks, discover the thrilling French theme parks you should be visiting instead of Disney.

1. Puy du Fou

Park

Puy du Fou is an epic historical theme park in Western France. While there’s not a single ride or rollercoaster, there are spectacular historical reconstructions and shows that will whizz you back in time, including breathtaking sights, like a gigantic burning Viking ship.

Viking ship | © Wikicommons

2. Cité de l'Espace

Cinema, Park

This theme park is geared towards space fanatics and sky dreamers, and you can revel in the discoveries made by man’s journeys into space. The gems on show include everything from a full-size replica of the Mir space station and an Ariane 5 rocket to the Soyuz spacecraft, an observation dome, IMAX cinema, and planetarium, not to mention the interactive exhibits at the exhibition center. The absolute highlight is the moonwalk simulator.

Avenue Jean Gonord, 31500 Toulouse, France

3. Terra Botanica

Cinema, Park

Terra_Botanica_-_lîle_des_lutins

While spending the day in a plant-themed park of attractions might seem a little strange, Terra Botanica is a fabulously unique day out. Not only is there 110,000 meters squared of beautiful greenery to explore but 40 attractions and presentations to keep you busy, as well as a 4D cinema.

Terra Botanica | © Wikicommons

4. Parc Astérix

Park

Astérix is the most famous comic book character of France, and here, you can discover first-hand just why he’s so fabulous. It’s one of the best-known theme parks in France, with enough rollercoasters, ghost rides, dodgems, and meet-and-greets to keep you going for hours. It also caters to the historical interests of Gaul, Vikings, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, Egypt, and the Travel Through Time world of 14th to 20th century France. A highlight of the hilarious live shows include stories, like of a Gaulish spy trying to infiltrate a Roman camp.

Parc Astérix, 60128 Plailly, France

5. Parc de Préhistoire de Bretagne

Park

The Prehistoric park of Bretagne is perfect for people who are fascinated by dinosaurs. It boasts 30 life-size models of dinosaurs and scenes of prehistoric people hunting and fishing across its 20-hectar spread.

Dinosaur reconstructions | © Wikicommons

6. Vulcania

Building, Park

Vulcania is an unusual theme park in that it is located deep in the heart of the Auvergne, in a peculiar cone-like building with most of the attractions hidden underground. The park explores the local volcanoes that created the stunning landscape long ago, with surprising features like geysers and heaps of water activities. Not only is it entertaining but also subtly educational, with interactive displays to help you understand the planet and all its fascinating forces. This includes rides, like the Magma Explorer, that will take you to the heart of molten lava, or traveling with Martin and Titania on a “Magical Odyssee.”
Route de Mazayes, 63230 Saint-Ours-les Roches, France

7. Futuroscope

Park

4965198684_8dd5bc7255_b
© Flavio Ensiki/Flickr

Futuroscope, or Parc du Futuroscope, is a fantastic French theme park based upon multimedia, cinematographic futuroscope, and unbelievable audio-visual techniques. It has several 3D cinemas and a few 4D cinemas, boasting unique media attractions and interactive shows, some of which are the only examples in the world.

Futuroscope | © Flavio Ensiki/Flickr

Aqualand Bassin d’Arcachon

The theme park of Aqualand Bassin d’Arcachon definitely triumphs over Disneyland Paris when it comes to waterpark fun. The Aqualand Arcachon, located in the beautiful Gujan Mestras on the coast of Aquitaine, is a gorgeous day out, especially in summer. There’s a range of rides, whirlpools, and giant flumes, and for the daredevils, there’s the Black Hole flume that is in complete darkness.

8. Festyland

Park

Attraction_de_bateaux_gonflables_a_Festiland

Located just outside Caen, Festyland is another historical theme park on a much smaller scale, compared to Puy du Fou, and aimed more towards younger children. There are also differences in that this one that adds in rollercoasters and waterslides, medieval castles, and 3D cinemas, mixing historical fun up with traditional thrills.

Festyland | © Wikicommons

9. Nausicaá

Aquarium, Park

Nausicaá is much more than a sea life center and aquarium tucked away in Boulogne. It has 34,000 animals bobbing around in 4.5 million liters of water, reproducing all the seas on earth. There is entertainment and education in abundance, as well as lots of watery surprises. What’s more is that it’s the easiest park on this list to reach from the U.K. by ferry, making a viable day out for any U.K. nationals without the need to book a hotel, or equally, just a good start to a holiday in France.

Boulevard Sainte Beuve, 62203 Boulogne-sur-Mer, France

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