Futuroscope was one of the things
we had in our minds to see during this holiday. It is on the outskirts
of Poitiers and it is a theme park, much like the Epcot Center at Walt
Disney World, Florida, but devoted entirely to the moving image.
The exotic buildings house different types of film - 3D; Imax; etc. etc.
It has a great web-site, if you are interested: www.futuroscope.com
|On the panorama above,
you can see on the left, le Pavillon du Futuroscope, the first building
in the park, which I think resembles a Golf Ball; then one of the walkways
over the lake with its fountains and, on the right, le Tapis Magique.
Here is a closer picture of the Golf Ball -
The first film we saw was in
the building on the left with a swirl. It was a New Zealand Travelogue,
"The Adventures of Mr Barnes", dubbed into French and in High Definition.
The pictures were astoundingly clear. Helicopter blades looked vivid.
The countryside was gorgeous; the story was crazy. The exit from
the building is shown on the right and you can see other visitors exiting
from the Solido sphere, where they will have seen "T-Rex: Retour au Crétace",
our next stop. This was 3-D using alternate pictures. The story
started in a museum then took us back to the Cretaceous. Good story; good
We walked on, around the park,
stopping to admire the gardens. Unfortunately, that put us behind
a party of schoolchildren in the queue for the 3D simulator ride, le Défi
d'Atlantis. We waited 30 minutes and it wasn't too painful.
We saw evidence all around the park that the place was prepared to manage
long queues, just like Disney, in the height of the summer. For the
ride we sat in big simulators, 5 rows of 5 people, looking at a fantasy
computer graphics film about Atlantis projected onto an Imax screen.
One of the amazing things about
the park is the buildings. This one
fascinated me. I call it
the Rock, although its official title is Le Kinémax.
The design is based on a quartz
crystal, changing colour and catching the sun
thanks to about 3,000 carefully
positioned panes of glass.
The Pavillon de la Vienne contained
exhibits from the département around Poitiers. As you can
see, the queueing space was unused. The facade of the building ran
with water. The picture on the right is taken from the Pavillon de
la Vienne and shows le Tapis Magique, the Magic Carpet, where we went next.
It had two Imax screens: one in front and one below the seats, through
a perspex floor that was quite scary to walk on. It showed a film
about a butterfly and it didn't look real to me. It stopped before
the end, when the film broke.
around an area called "Paysages d'Europe", which was a series of gardens:
French Louis XV, English Victorian, Provençal and Alpine.
Then we walked back around the other parts of park. The buildings
here are the Imax 3D, with its glass "lens", and the Gyrotour.
The circlet on the tower rises
and falls so visitors see a view of the park.
And, finally, there was nothing
left to do
but to eat. For more on food, come
inside. Hoorah !