Le futuroscope

Last weekend Gergö and I went to the futuroscope. It’s a amusement park in the southwest of France, about an hour and a half by TGV. The train left from Gare Montparnasse, which is opposite from Tour Montparnasse, the only skyscraper of Paris. They say it remained the only one because it turned out so ugly. After visiting the catacombs I believe it’s because there are caves from former sandstone quarries underneath Paris.

La Gare Montparnasse La Tour Montparnasse

I vaguely remember drinking a very expensive coke in the café on top of Tour Montparnasse when I was 17 and visiting Paris for the first and only time before moving to Palaiseau.

We arrived on Friday evening at the futuroscope train station.

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It still blows my mind, how fast a TGV takes you from one side of France to the other.

We discovered we had a bunk bed in our room.

bunk bed

and no key! Just a 6-digit code for the door lock. We tried to find a place to eat. On the bus to the hotel we saw a few places, but all in all the area surrounding the futuroscope is a pretty boring place. Cheap hotels, hotels not quite as cheap, and a restaurant called Pirates. Of course we wanted to try that, but they only had a buffet, nothing small.

pirate arrr

Gergö still could sneak a pirate photo.

On Saturday, we arrived at the futuroscope before it opened with quite a lot of people. It’s the same procedure as everywhere, with a security check before you enter the venue, but a little more thorough than usual.

futuroscope entrance

It’s a huge area, though. The park wasn’t nearly as crowded as I expected when I saw the queue.

We walked through the park and I took photos of everything. Just like with Parc Astérix, I love the amount of work that went into the decoration and the details. The architecture isn’t bad either.

The park itself is quite different from Parc Astérix – much bigger, fewer really intense rides, more 3D films and 4D adventures. A 4D adventure is basically a cinema where the seat also moves, and/or wind is blown into your face or water is dribbled on you.

We started off with the dancing robots which was probably the most extreme ride. It was the one and only time I’ll ever be “dancing” to Barbra Streisand, I suspect.

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and continued to Artur et les minimoys.

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Like everywhere, the decor was adorable. Artur is a kid that gets shrunk and enters a magic world in the garden. So in the pretty long queue you are surrounded by huge stalks of grass, for example. The ride itself is a chasing scene in ladybug car like this one. There’s lots to look at – a making of the special effects, for example. You can also get a picture taken.

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The playground in front of the building is on topic as well. You can climb into an ant’s butt!

In between the rides and films there is a garden of carnivorous plants

In between the rides and films there is a garden of carnivorous plants

Do not feed the plants. Or they will rise up and eat the visitors.

Do not feed the plants. Or they will rise up and eat the visitors.

We tried the aerobar next.

Futur l’Expo is a exposition on technology of the future in our every day lives. The store had hoodies with built in headphones in the hoodie strings. And little trackers you can put on your dog’s collar. They also had a bar with molecular cooking

There are lots of 3D and Imax films. We saw close-ups of a scorpion mouse escaping a snake and chipmunks collecting acorns for winter. We went to the planetarium as well and used the long slide at the fun expo. One 4D adventure was advertising cleaning up the ocean, so you basically sat on a stationary motorcycle, shooting a laser gun at the screen while the bike bucked under you. Another one was a pretty violent drone video followed by mini drones going into the bloodstream to fight a virus threatening humankind.

The futuroscope is located in the départment Vienne. Apparently the tourism board of Vienne sponsored one ride as well. It was called Vienne dynamique and basically was a 4D ride watching a dude being late for his wedding. He jumps out of the train and goes on a magic journey through all the beautiful bits of Vienne. He meets a talking tree trunk who feeds him magic mushrooms that let him fly and swim. The flying and swimming makes for a good ride, of course. The recurring joke was the magic tree trunk figure sneezing. Whenever that happened, you were sprayed with a bit of water from a nozzle in front of you. Repetitive but surprsingly effective in grossing me out.

The lapin cretin / Raving Rabbids franchise is everywhere in the park. You can see them at the entrance, they wander around the park in full costume for photos. In the molecular cooking photo the hourglass shows a lapin cretin as well. I only knew the rabbits from a Wii game I played a few years ago. The goal was to make the rabbits burp. The better the burp, the more they destroy of Paris.

We went to the energy garden on Sunday morning. It’s a lot like the science museums Gergö and I like to visit. Visualisations of concepts where you can move things and pump stuff.

From the energy garden you could see the lapin cretin queue. Every few seconds people would open a door, you could hear “Bwaaaaaah!” and they’d laugh and close the door again. So we decided to join the queue and it was one of the best designed queues in the whole park.

The ice age franchise is also pretty present in the park. I met Scrat, the squirrel (?) who is really really protective of his acorn at the entrance.

In case Gergö ever records a record, I hope this will be the album cover.

In case Gergö ever records an album, I hope this will be the cover photo.

A couple more selfies for good measure:

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