France 2000
Futuroscope

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

Panorama of the park



 
 

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 -  Le Pavillon du Futuroscope
High Definition building
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 effects.
Leaving the building
Le Défi d'Atlantis
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.
Clouds merging with the building housing le Défi d'Atlantis
The gardens of the park One example of the queuing system

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.

Queueing system at Pavillon de la Vienne
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.
Tapis Magique seen from the Pavillon de la Vienne
We walked 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.
Imax 3D building Gyrotour
Jackie getting ready to eat !
And, finally, there was nothing
left to do
but to eat. For more on food, come inside. Hoorah !