new : fortified churches, mostly in Les Landes
cathedral labyrinths and mazes in France
using metal in gothic cathedral construction
paying at the péage (toll station)
Germans in France
cathedral destruction during the French revolution, subsidiary page to Germans in France
on first arriving in France - driving
France is not England
Transbordeur bridges in France and the world 2: focus on Portugalete, Chicago,
Gustave Eiffel’s first work: the Eiffel passerelle, Bordeaux
a fifth bridge coming to Bordeaux: pont Chaban-Delmas, a new vertical lift bridge
France’s western isles: Ile de Ré
France’s western iles: Ile d’Oleron
Ile de France, Paris: in the context of Abelard and of French cathedrals
short biography of Pierre (Peter) Abelard
Marianne - a French national symbol, with French definitive stamps
la Belle Epoque
Grand Palais, Paris
Pic du Midi - observing stars clearly, A64
Carcassonne, A61: world heritage fortified city
Space City, Toulouse
the French umbrella & Aurillac
50 years old:
the Citroën 2CV:
a French motoring icon
the forest as seen by Francois Mauriac, and today
Les Landes, places and playtime
roundabout art of Les Landes
mardi gras! carnival in Basque country
country life in France: the poultry fair
what a hair cut! m & french pop/rock
Le Tour de France: cycling tactics
housing futuristic film shows – huge screens, flat and domed,
three-D, 360°, moving seats. All in a clean, well-kept park
with space-age walkways.
Futuroscope is a large, unique, well-kept theme park
presenting different forms of high-technology films and other
visual technologies, such as computer games and the Internet.
It is the only theme park of its type in Europe.
It is a
park for children of all ages. The ‘yobs’ will enjoy
the adrenaline-generators, and the thoughtful ones will appreciate
the various technologies and pretty, more calm shows.
prices (for 2009) are:
adults 35 euros, evenings: 15€,
two days: 66€
seniors 32 euros, evenings: 15€, two
children 25 euros, evenings: 10€, two
(there is 20% off tickets for students, large
families, handicapped people)
with two day tickets approximately
twice as much;
but you will probably be watching seven or
more short films during a day.
Futuroscope also has a flat
5 euro a day charge for parking. (Buses run from the hotel areas
to the theme park.)
Note that, although the piped muzak
is rather intrusive, after a while it sinks to a minor background
Futuroscope is an exhibition
of large buildings whose designs are based in science, technology
and the future:
prisms, spheres, crystals, glass, steel, all
distributed (one cannot say laid out coherently) in a tidy, neatly
(activities) and spectacles (shows)
For 2004 there are 18 or so shows
at Futuroscope, shown in the buildings previously described. The
shows are short (20 minutes or so) films made with special filming
and projection effects, such as very big (up
to 900 m²) flat, hemispherical or domed screens (including
those using IMAX techniques), multiple screens (including 360-degree
viewing), 3D-viewing, moving seats.
Some projections have
occasional black specks on the screen. The Futuroscope management
is aware of the problem and is working to track down the origin
of the specks and eliminate the problem.
The shows can inadequately
be divided into two types:
- for thinkers:
these are pretty, sometimes spectacular, and the technology is
worth the study/observation;
- for thrill-seekers:
are noisy, adrenaline-generating, shake-around, roller-coaster,
visual excitement shockers.
The shows with technology worth seeing are:
- in building n° 9, two IMAX screens, one beneath your feet.
On an earlier visit, there were thousands of monarch butterflies
flocking through forests and mountains, in 2004 it is migrating
birds and sea mammals.
- in building n° 11, there are
two parts to the show – a foyer with 850 television screens
running continuously (note that this display
is not listed in the Futuroscope leaflet),
and a show room with hydraulically moving seats.
thoughtful, the first display is far more interesting, but be
aware that this is only a waiting room. The attendants will try
and herd all visitors through to the other room as soon as they
can (when the roller-coaster ride next door has finished). Be
assertive and the attendants will let you stay in the first room,
or even escape from the building, but they will become confused.
building n° 3, a 360° film showing on 9 screens. On a
previous visit, the film was about racing yachts; in 2004 it is
Brazil, its jungle and carnival. (Probably the best position for
viewing is close to and with your back to the screen that has
a horizontal dividing bar in the image.)
- outside at n°5,
the fountain show - Melodies Aquatiques - is fun although, as
usually at Futuroscope, the music is too loud.
- there are
various three-dimensional shows, which can be very absorbing,
but not to every visitor’s taste.
- n°2 –
the gyrotour, although not suited to all, is a gentle ride up
a tower that enables the visitor to see Futuroscope and its surrounding
countryside from up to 45 metres above the ground.
to manage your visit
This is a theme park for the
intelligent, where you need to plan your visit. The Futuroscope
web-site gives some information about shows available (the
French version has a greater range of information), so you can
do some choosing and planning beforehand. The attendants at the
information kiosk will help as well.
- on entering the
park, first study the sheet with time schedule, park map and list
of shows (spectacles). Take it all in together so you
can work out which shows to go to, when/in which order. To fit
in seeing lots, you will probably want to visit over two days.
- don’t be tempted into the souvenir
shops first, or you will miss timed displays - keep souvenir-hunting
for last, or for timed visits (!) between moving around and the
- some shows are morning only, some afternoon only,
some run continuously, most are at specific times during the day.
There are large electronic displays that give the next show time
for each spectacle. There are also smaller boards at
each building that display the next showing time.
a small returnable deposit, headphones (casques) are
available that receive translations of the French commentaries
in most of the shows.
- lots of cafés and refreshment stalls.
Food prices do not appear exorbitant. Café food includes
the great French (and Belgian) favourite: moules et frites! (mussels
- there are several souvenir
shops with general Futuroscope items, as well as items themed
to different shows in the park. There are also regional food products.
The prices of the souvenirs are within reason.
planted areas, trees, benches, attractively arranged
children’s playground, and other child-size rides. (Some
payment by tokens/jetons is required for less common
- signs are detailed, but understandable.
are clean and for females, there is the privilege of a seat and
plenty of paper (not usual in France).
Surrounding Futuroscope is a quantity
of variously-priced hotels, some offering special deals at times.
A bit further away are some camping sites.
most of the hotels have English-speaking staff, and often there
are also speakers of other European languages.
on current prices, opening times and shows can be found at the
web-site, together with hotel information and descriptions
of the various technologies used.
[In French, English and
Futuroscope was opened in 1987. Since 2002, its
main shareholders are the Department of Vienne and the Region