Family days out in the Loire Valley
Enjoy time with the family with some great family days out
Renting a holiday cottage or gite in France makes for a great family holiday. The Loire Valley has some great places for family days out, some costing nothing at all! We’ll keep building on this section as we hear of more so keep coming back. As usual, we’ll provide the Loire department and a web link where one exists. Make the most of your time and here’s to having some great family days out!
In 2012, Puy du Fou was elected “World’s best theme park” at the Thea Classic Awards in Los Angeles and bringing in 1.5 million visitors every year it is France’s fourth most popular attraction. It’s hard to describe, because its not hair raising rides, but different outdoor shows, each fantastic in its own right, but together completely mind-blowing. Check out our blog post for a great summary. It really is amazing and worth every penny.
Maine et Loire www.terrabotanica.fr
Fancy riding in a giant acorn or exploring the inside of a tree? Created in 2010 this mixes Kew Gardens, the Natural History Museum and a fair-ground – Terra Botanica is a theme park devoted to plant life. Twenty seven acres of tropical trees and plants, rose bushes & shrubs organised around four themed areas: exotics; Anjou favourites; plant evolution; and the weird and wonderful. There are rides for the children, places to eat and drink and something to see around every corner. We went shortly after it opened – not quite sure what to find – but it was fantastic and a whole day just vanished! Just off the autoroute at Angers it is easy to get to.
Maine et Loire www.hollypark.fr
Not very well known outside of Maine et Loire, but this is a value for money gem if you are a family with smaller children. No queues and the entrance ticket allows you as many rides as you can fit in. The rides aren’t the newest, the scariest or the biggest, but its a great place to spend three or four hours ensuring the children will sleep when you get home! It’s the sort of theme park I remember back in the 70’s as a child – good honest fun!
Maine et Loire www.bioparc-zoo.fr
Just south of Saumur and the Loire is the private zoo at Doue la Fontaine, making use of an old quarry to have created an amazing space for animals to feel close to their natural habitats. It feels more like a walk around safari park than a zoo. Highlights for us were walking through the vulture enclosure (you feel brave right up until the birds open their wings!) and the monkey islands. All that seperates you and the mokey is two feet of water, which the monkies just haven’t worked out how to get across!
Indre et Loire www.luluparc.com/en/home
A place for the little ones! Water slides, bouncy castles, ball pools, soft play, paddle boats and crazy golf to name some of the activities. You get the idea! Just on the outskirts of Tours on the way to Vouvray (very nice sparkling wine!) there is also a cafe and the park itself occupies a pretty spot next to the river Loire. A very pleasant place to be when the sun is out and the children want to burn off some energy!
Maine et Loire www.museedesblindes.fr
A great way to spend a rainy afternoon as its undercover, this is one of the world’s largest tank museums. In Saumur, because the French Cavalry officer training school has been here for over 200 years. There are well over 880 vehicles, although because of a shortage of space, less than a quarter can be exhibited. Tanks from all over the world are here, including some that have been displayed to allow you to clamber over and explore inside. If only some of the family want to see the tanks, then the Saumur winery Louis de Grenelle is just up the road!
Maine et Loire
The troglodyte village of Rochemenier is a well known attraction situated between Angers and SaumurLived in until the 1960′s. Troglodyte is the french term given to these cave dwellers and their dwellings and a visit to Rochemenier gives you the chance to wander through both the village and time. For children, Rochemenier is a fascinating and fun place to use up plenty of energy exploring.