In 2017, Futuroscope will enjoy its 30th anniversary as one of France’s and the world’s most popular and innovative amusement parks with not a single roller coaster in sight! Located in family-friendly Poitou-Charentes, just a 15 minute drive from Poitier, the capital, Futuroscope offers a multi-media experience with attractions utilising 3D cinema as well as 4D techniques which incorporates the latest audio-visual simulation right into the theatre experience.
The brainchild of René Monory, who was president of the Vienne General Council at the time, he envisioned a theme park focused on the future that would become a major leisure destination. Alongside the park sits a technology business enterprise zone and training hub. The first stone was put in place by M. Monory on 11th December 1984 and Futuroscope – France’s first major amusement park – opened to the public three years later in 1987. The park welcomed over 600,000 visitors by the end of the summer this year, a record for the attraction which is now the second most important in France in terms of turnover after Disneyland Paris. Vine Council is still the park’s second largest shareholder and owns the land on which it is built.
As well as being innovative in terms of attraction, Futuroscope is also innovative in its business strategy which is lead by two tenets. The first is to completely renew 50% of its inventory every two years in order to given visitors a reason to return and experience something new. The second works on a 10/20/60 model using 10% of its turnover to renew 20% of its content with the goal or have a 60% repeat visit ratio. Its turnover will go past the 100 million euro mark this season. The model seems to be working well as one in every two French people have visited Futuroscope since its opening.
Now positioning itself as the perfect attraction for Fun, Festivities and Family, Futuroscope will launch its new 2017 attraction on 17th December 2016 – a technological jewel which will mark the largest financial investment they have made int the last 15 years at a cost of around 12 million euros and called Extraordinary Voyage. An attraction completely unique in Europe, visitors will be entertained in a flying theatre which will see them go from horizontal to vertical in 12 seconds. This immersive experience is based on the voyages of Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg and it based on the park’s founding principles of placing the image at the heart of the experience whilst harnessing the incredible capacity of innovation.
In all, there are 25 inter-generational attractions including Dancing with Robots, Aerobar, Raving Rabbids, Arthur the 4D adventure (won The Best Attraction in Europe by TEA – Themed Entertainment Association) and the Time Machine – all best enjoyed by adults and children over eight years old.
Futuroscope’s fabulous facts:
- Architect Denis Laming was a mere 34 years old when he caught the eye of M Monory who loved his bold vision and hired him on the spot. Laming has since designed all the theatres and buildings for both Futuroscope and the nearby technology park based on science, technology and the future – prisms, spheres, crystals, glass and steel. The Futuroscope Digital City was the first building constructed and features an enormous white ball fixed into the building’s glass exterior. Kinéma is the park’s flagship building and looks like a crystalline structure rising from the ground. It took 20,000 hours of drawing time to produce the desired architectural style. It has 45,750 square feet of surface area, every bit of which is covered by 3,000 reflective glass plates.
- Now featuring 25 attractions located over a space of 60 hectares, Futuroscope opened on 31st May 1989 with just three – the Kinémax, the Pavillon du Futuroscope and a play zone.
- One innovation allows visitors to explore different worlds lead by a blind guide in a route cloaked in darkness. This journey of the senses allows you to walk through the Louisiana bayou, step out in New York and end up in the highest Himalayan peak. Visitors are asked to make a donation of 5 euros per person on entering the park with all profits going to Les Jeux Grands Fermés association for initiatives to help the blind.
- Visitors arriving from Paris or Lille by TGV train arrive in the heart of Futuroscope – the perfect start for a visit.
- There are no fast-food outlets – just eight top quality restaurants, bars, cafés and nine take-away outlets catering for all budgets including the amazing molecular cuisine of Chef Noël Gutrin in the fine-food Le Cristal, open in high season and L’Aerobar where you can share a drink with friends and family 115 ft up in the air.
Contributor: Sue Lowry. Images thanks to Futuroscope.
Futuroscope is part of Poitou-Charentes, which is a client of Magellan, follow them on Twitter – @VisitPCharentes / @futuroscope and on Facebook//PoitouCharentesAtlanticCoastCognacCountry / futuroscope.eng
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