Mickey Mouse-ing about - our top French theme parks
It’s not a Mickey Mouse statement to say that France has some of the best theme parks in the world. Goofing around Disneyland Paris, geeking out at the Roman circus shows of Puy du Fou in Vendée or launching rockets at La Cité de l'espace – we say oui, oui, oui.
Check out le grand Pitchup.com guide on getting across the Channel – including ferry ports, motorhome rules and regulations on driving in France – and determine to have a rollercoaster time at one of our top French theme parks and nearby holiday parks:
Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney Studios Park , Ile de France, Marne la Vallée
Two theme parks! 32km from Paris and previously known as Euro Disney, the Disneyland resort is the most visited attraction in Europe and covers 4800 antic-filled acres: park yourself at the golf course and Disneyland village, take rides to truly whiten your knuckles and wander around the Walt Disney Studios Park, dedicated to all things film, production and behind the scenes.
Disneyland has two reasonably-priced campsites within easy reach: Camping Bois de Boulogne is right in the heart of Paris and has flat grass pitches with optional electric for tents, tourers and motorhomes from £27.17 a night. The park welcomes dogs and has free internet points, fresh bread and croissants daily, bike hire in summer and a campervan service area.
Camping Rambouillet is halfway between Versailles and Chartres for culture vulturing after the theme parks and is on the edge of a 173,000 acre forest with two nature-filled parks nearby. Pitches for tents, tourers and motorhome with optional electric start from £15.32.
Parc Astérix, Picardie, Oise
We do love all things Roman, but confess to many chucklesome enfanthood memories immersed in the antics of Astérix, Obelix, Getafix et al resisting the invading hordes in Gallic France (we might have even tried to read a few of the Astérix books in French; pretentious, nous?).
The park celebrating the rebels today is in a forest 35km from Paris and has rollercoasters and rides from ancient cultures such as the Greeks and Romans. Looks like the invasion was successful to an extent after all.
Camping de l'Abbatiale , open all year round, is 35 minutes’ drive from Parc Astérix (and 45 minutes from Paris), with spacious electric grass pitches from £14.65 including awning or gazebo. The park has a children’s playground, free wifi, free private parking, games room and a football ground.
Also in Picardie
La Mer de Sable : desert, Wild West and jungle shows, 26 attractions and a farm and pony rides for toddlers at a huge park just outside Paris
Puy du Fou, Pays de la Loire , Vendée
More togatastic tales at history-themed park Puy du Fou, named best theme park in the world in 2012 and where geeky guests (that’ll be us) can watch Vikings attack a fortress, gladiators attacking each other, Roman chariots, falconry displays and the swashbuckling of musketeers. Puy du Fou’s main show, the Cinéscénie, covers 700 years of local history using thousands of actors and the largest stage in the world.
Our many sites in Vendée have all sorts of accommodation options from basic pitches to luxury lodges with tipis and safari tents in between: Camping Les Chouans at Saint Hilaire de Riez has 10% off lodges until 11 July 2014 (from £40.17 a night) and a water park with waterslides to keep up the theme park adrenaline (and a Jacuzzi if not). Regular weekday activities and evening entertainment are laid on in summer.
Domaine les Moulins at La Guérinière is a beachside park with spa, hammam and massage pampering, kids’ club, pool, restaurant, cycle hire and free wifi. Two-bedroom safari tents with fully-equipped kitchen start from £41.85 a night and the mighty two-storey ‘Majestic tipi’ with mezzanine, ensuite and terrace with outdoor furniture from £108.80 (both from 16 May; available to book now).
All campsites and holiday parks in Pays de la Loire
Futuroscope, Poitou-Charentes , Vienne
As you might guess from the name, Futuroscope’s theme is all things techy and multimedia: futuristic or sci-fi loving kids will reach heady heights at the IMAX 3D and 4D cinemas, 4D Arthur Adventure, time travelling rides and thoroughly modern architecture of this south-west France park. When it’s time to take a break/you wrestle them away from the iMagic show, plenty of green spaces abound too.
Camping La Roche-Posay is 30 minutes from Futuroscope, on the banks of the river Creuse and with a water park and waterslides on site. For the days you’re not being dragged around the theme park, the site has a new children’s playground and puts on regular activities in summer. Electric grass pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes start from £15.06 a night.
All campsites and holiday parks in Poitou-Charentes
Vulcania Theme Park, Auvergne , Puy de Dome
‘The world’s first theme park dedicated to volcanoes’ sounds like an explosive concept, and is another one suitable pour les enfants fascinated with all things science.
Lift the lid off volcanic mysteries by going underground into a volcanic cone, watching 5D films or taking one of the many rides like the Magma Explorer and the Dragon Ride; discovery trails, exhibitions and guided tours are all available too.
Buy your tickets for Vulcania at the reception of Camping Royat , at the gateway to the Auvergne volcanoes where the theme park is set (Vulcania is a teeny 20 minute drive away). Camping Royat has tent, tourer and motorhome pitches with optional electric from £13.81 a night, bike hire, a café/restaurant and a guest lodge with telly so you can keep up with the Tour de France and the World Cup (essential).
Also in Auvergne
Le Pal : amusement park and zoo near Dompierre-sur-Besbre
La Cité de l'espace, Midi-Pyrénées , Haute-Garonne
A city of space! This is a must to jetset to if your kids are even the least starry-eyed about galaxies far far away, as not only is it a heavenly theme park in its own right, it’s on the edge of Toulouse, home of the Toulouse Space Centre, the biggest space centre in Europe. To infinity and beyond!
Small astronomers and astronauts have interactive exhibits to experiment with, two planetariums to goggle at, exhibits including full scale models of the Ariane 5 rocket and Mir space station, and a control room mock up where they can fiddle with the buttons to launch a rocket.
Between Toulouse and the Midi-Pyrénées, Camping le Moulin is a peaceful site (you’ll need it after seeing your six year old prepare to launch a rocket), with access to more park larks in the locale: Tepacap treetop adventure park and the Aqualudia water park are both within 40km.
On site, guests have access to a large swimming pool, daily activities and free tennis. Electric grass pitches for tents, tourers and motorhomes start from £20.21.
All campsites and holiday parks in the Midi-Pyrénées
Bagatelle Theme Park, Nord-Pas-de-Calais , Pas-de-Calais
France’s oldest theme park and one with a nicely vintage vibe, Bagatelle is in a woodland setting about an hour from Calais, near Merlimont and Le Touquet. We expect that an enthusiastic family could between them manage all 43 attractions in one day: once you’ve wobbled off the rides, enjoy a more sedate time at the zoo and Grand Prix circuit before getting wobbly again at the water rides, bouncy castle, water slides and Torture Island.
Camping La Forêt is a short drive from Bagatelle (and Aqualud water park), less than a kilometre from the sea and about 5km from upmarket Le Touquet-Paris-Plage, famed for its architectutre developed by British visitors such as Noël Coward. La Forêt has facilities including a gym, two games rooms and a kids’ club; book a holiday home sleeping up to four from £196.67 per two nights, or a three-bedroom home sleeping six from £246.89.
Also in Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Dennlys Parc : theme park in Dennebrœucq with 30 attractions and activities
All campsites and holiday parks in Nord-Pas-de-Calais
Find attractions including family and theme parks by clicking the ‘Local attractions’ tab at any of our French campsites and holiday parks, for info on local things to do, nearby bathing water quality and local cycle routes. You can also use dozens of filters including accommodation type, price, tourist board rating and leisure on site or nearby.