If you ever visited Paris with kids, you’re definitely familiar with Disneyland and probably with other theme parks like Astérix and Jardin d’Acclimatisation. However, everyone knows that there are quite a few amazing parks outside the French capital, especially in the Southwest region. In this article, I gathered some of the best theme parks in the southwest of France, to encourage you to discover France beyond Paris.
My list includes traditional amusement parks, historical parks, and special theme parks specialized in science, space, or animals. All the parks on my list are suitable for single travelers, couples, and families with children. Spending a day in an amusement park is a really fun way to get to know the area and experience France in a different adventurous way!
If you’re planning a family trip in the southwest of France be sure to check out my family-friendly guides to Bordeaux, Toulouse, Dordogne, and Ile de Ré.
Puy du Fou – one of the most famous theme parks in France
Puy du Fou isn’t located in what is considered the Southwest of France but I included it anyway as it has been voted as one of the best-themed parks in Europe.
Located in Vendée, in the heart of a century-old forest, Puy du Fou offers a magnificent artistic adventure. It caters to audiences of all ages, making it suitable for families, history enthusiasts, and thrill-seekers alike.
In addition to some traditional roller coasters, Puy du Fou is all about a theatrical experience and an enchanting ambiance of magic and marvel. The theme park is acclaimed for its grand-scale shows, historical reenactments, and dazzling light shows. Through these, you get to travel in time to different periods like ancient Rome and the Middle Ages, the Viking era, and more.
There’s an incredible amount of stuff to see and experience here so make sure you plan at least one full day to make the most of your visit at Puy du Fou. You have four villages and more than 15 captivating spectacles to choose from. All the shows offer free simultaneous interpretation into English, German, Spanish, and Dutch. The park also offers plenty of fun workshops and about 20 different places to ear (which is always important when traveling with kids 🙂 )
If you stay late (or stay the night) you also get to enjoy their beautiful night shows. The stunning night spectacle unfolds against the backdrop of an ancient castle, offering elements of water, fire, and music. It’s an amazing experience that is highly recommended.
Tickets: You can buy tickets for 1,2,3,4 day, these include access to all the shows. The only show that requires additional tickets is their famous Cinéscénie spectacle which takes place on weekends in the summer. The park is open from April to October – see opening hours.
Here are the links to purchase a one-day ticket or a multi-day entry ticket – See all the options here. If you’re staying there for more than one day, there are three hotels you can choose from during your stay. There are also a few accommodation options outside of the park if you want to be a bit more isolated, such as this cozy guest house.
Theme Parks in Nouvelle Aquitaine – the Bordeaux region
Futuroscope – the biggest park in the region
The Futuriscope is the biggest amusement park in the Southwest and one of the most popular parks in France. Known for its futuristic architecture and multimedia and cinematic experiences, this amusement park attracts around 2 million people from all over the world every year.
Packed with state-of-the-art attractions, Futuroscope is a haven for tech enthusiasts and thrill-seekers alike. The park offers a wide range of entertainment shows, including light and water displays and live performances. Throughout all these amazing experiences your kids get to learn about science, technology, and innovation.
Other interactive experiences include 3D and 4D shows, dancing with robots in the air, and mind-bending rides in a time machine. You can only imagine your kids’ enthusiasm in this adventurous cutting-edge park. But even the adults will be swept away on this magical journey, I can guarantee that.
So if you’re looking for a perfect futuristic gateway, Futuroscope is your place! The park is located in Chasseneuil-du-Poitou, about a 20-minute drive from the city of Poitiers and 2 hours away from Bordeaux. There’s a direct train that goes there from Poitiers so it’s very easy to get to by public transport. The park is open daily from February to October, on weekends during November and December, and closed in February.
Tickets: You can buy tickets for one or two days and if you’re planning to come later in the day there’s a reduced price after 17:00. See all your ticket options here. While anyone can enter the park, it’s not recommended under the age of 5yo. So if you’re looking for the best parks for little ones, keep reading this list.
If you’re planning to stay there for two days, there are quite a few hotels within walking distance, such as Novotel, Kyriad, or the Pirates-themed Hotel du Parc.
Le Bournat – a beautiful historic park
Le Bournat amusement park is the biggest theme park in Dordogne, situated in the heart of the Périgord region.
The open-air museum is all around unfolding life in a traditional Périgord village from a bygone era; Cobblestone streets wind through the park, adorned with craftsmen showcasing their skills, horse-drawn carriages traversing the lanes, and lively performances echoing the spirit of the past.
Le Bournat is a fantastic option for families looking for a place designed for children to explore freely. Your kids will have the chance to actively engage in traditional crafts, try their hand at vintage games, and have fun in a classic funfair that harks back to a simpler time. It is a great blend of education and entertainment. The park is considered one of the best things to do with kids in the Dordogne.
Le Bugue is generally a great place to stay in the Dordogne if you travel with your family. Many fun attractions from a historic labyrinth to an aquarium and kayaking are at your disposal, open during the tourist season in Dordogne.
L’écomusée de Marquèze
Another outdoor historical park on this list is L’ écomusée de Marquèze, nestled in the heart of the Landes forest in southwestern France. The park is ideal for those seeking a more laid-back atmosphere where children can safely run around, explore, and discover the rich history and heritage of the region.
This unique destination offers a journey back in time, a chance to experience the traditional way of life in the Gascony region. Your journey starts at the train station in Sabres where you will embark on an old train that will take you to the site through a beautiful foresty route. As you wander through the park, you’ll see real 19th-century houses and other structures used by the locals for farming and daily life.
The park’s immersive experience extends to interactive demonstrations and workshops. Visitors can engage in traditional crafts and activities such as wool and weaving or feather pen writing. You’ll also meet domestic animals and explore the nature around you.
L’ écomusée de Marquèze is one of the largest outdoor museums in France, located in a fascinating and unique region preserving the heritage of Gascony. So if you’re traveling in Les Landes or the south of the Gironde departments, I highly recommend taking your kids to this fascinating place.
The park is open from April to the end of September. You can plan your visit and book your tickets here.
Walygator Sud Ouest
Situated in southwest France, Walygator Park is a more traditional amusement park, ideal for thrill-seekers. This park is home to many attractions: from adrenaline-pumping roller coasters such as “The Monster” and “The Anaconda,” to family-friendly rides.
If you are into intense and unforgettable excitments, don’t miss The Dark Tower. Feel your heart racing as you slowly rise to the skies, offering breathtaking views of the entire park. Or maybe you’re more of a roller coaster lover? this park is known for its heart-pounding twists and turns rides. And if you wish to take a chill break, there is a sea lion show!
The park is open from April to October, but not every day, the hours for this year will be published soon here. You can buy your tickets online or on-site. If you’re going to spend a few days in the region, you can also try the water park Aqualand Agen, that’s just nearby – there’s a combined ticket for the two parks.
La Rochelle Aquarium
La Rochelle is one of the most attractive destinations in the southwest of France. A beautiful historic port city on the Atlantic coast of France, with a lively center abundant with cute shops and museums. One of La Rochelle’s best attractions is its Aquarium, standing as a marine marvel that captivates visitors with its diverse aquatic exhibits.
From colorful coral reefs to majestic sharks and playful sea otters, the exhibits are thoughtfully designed to provide an awe-inspiring spectacle as well as valuable insight into ocean conservation. One of the most beautiful parts is The Oceanic Tunnel, a transparent passage that allows you to stroll through an underwater world surrounded by sharks, rays, and other majestic sea creatures.
When planning your visit to La Rochelle Aquarium, be sure not to miss the scheduled feedings and interactive sessions. These experiences provide a deeper understanding of marine biology and offer a chance to witness the fascinating behaviors of the aquarium’s inhabitants.
La Rochelle Aquarium is open daily all year long, you can buy your tickets online or onsite.
* If you’re traveling in the south and La Rochelle is too far for you, Biarritz also has a great aquarium that kids adore. It’s open all year long – you can buy tickets here.
After exploring the underwater wonders, you can stroll through the picturesque streets of La Rochelle, known for its charming architecture, vibrant markets, and delicious seafood cuisine. If you need a restaurant recommendation, check out my article about where to eat in La Rochelle.
KID PARC Île d’Aventures
If you’re planning a family-friendly vacation in the Bordeaux region, the Kid Parc in Gujan Mestras is an option to have on your list. Located on Arcachon Bay it’s the biggest amusement park for kids in the Bordeaux region. That is why in the summer or during school breaks, the lines can get a bit long.
The Kid Parc offers more than 30 different attractions which include a pirate boat, a carousel, different roller coasters, inflatable houses, and more. It’s not as big as the Futuroscope or other impressive parks you can visit in Europe but it’s a place kids truly enjoy. If you have preteen kids, this place will provide a safe and joyous space for them to release some energy.
This park is great for kids over 5yo, if you’re traveling for little ones, I highly recommend going to the neighboring park La Coccinelle. You can find more family-friendly activities in Arcachon in my article about 15 Fun Things to Do with kids in Arcachon.
KID PARC Île d’Aventures is open from April to early November and you can buy your tickets here.
Theme parks in Occitanie – the Toulouse region
Cité de l’Espace in Toulouse
The Cité de l’Espace is a space theme park that takes visitors on an immersive journey into the cosmos. It’s among the coolest museums in Southwest France, located in the beautiful city of Toulouse. The Cité includes interactive activities and exhibits, like looking at fragments of the Moon and Mars up close, getting inside a real Russian spacecraft, and more.
There is a collection of a few exhibits and interactive displays in it, that offer a hands-on exploration of space and astronomy. From life-size replicas of spacecraft to cutting-edge simulations, visitors can experience the thrill of space exploration firsthand. The park is not only an educational hub but also a celebration of human ingenuity and the wonders of the universe.
You can also enjoy a newly opened exhibition called “L’Envol des Pionniers”, a captivating homage to aviation pioneers. The exhibition explores the evolution of flight, showcasing historic aircraft and providing a glimpse into the daring feats of the first French aviators. A great visit for space lovers and curious minds alike!
If you are planning a visit to Toulouse with kids, the Cité de l’Espace is a must! Whether you’re gazing at the stars in the planetarium, exploring the intricacies of space travel, or taking part in interactive exhibits, this space-themed park is an experience you’re kids won’t forget. There’s also a cute space dedicated to the little ones with soft plays, funny mirrors, and space-related toys. My kids stayed there for hours!
Animal Park of the Pyrenees
Parc Animalier des Pyrénées is a wildlife haven located in Argelès-Gazost, in the heart of the Pyrenees mountains. Visitors experience a close encounter with the region’s diverse wildlife, enveloped by the breathtaking backdrop of majestic mountains.
With more than 500 animals, this beautiful park is dedicated to the cultivation and preservation of extinct breeds in the area. As you wander through the park, you’ll encounter a variety of indigenous species, including bears, wolves, and marmots, in a natural setting. You’ll be invited to feed them yourself and learn more about their habits by accompanying the passionate caregivers in their daily lives.
A must-see is the captivating spectacle of raptor flight demonstrations. You can marvel at the grace and agility of majestic birds of prey as they soar through the Pyrenean skies.
Throughout the year the park hosts many special events as well as a special Escape game (usually on school breaks). Want to enjoy this park even more? You can spend the night at the park, and sleep with some of its prettiest animals (well not really with them, but next to them 🙂 )
Stay at a splendid dome-shaped cabin overlooking the Brown Bear enclosure or in an authentic Trapper’s Cabin near the Grey Wolfs. See all the accommodation options here.
You can also get plenty of tips on things to do in the Southwest of France via Lost in Bordeaux’s social media accounts and email list, check them out here:
*Note – Some of the links in this article include affiliate links for which I earn a small commission. It adds absolutely nothing to your cost and helps me continue writing about this amazing region. Don’t worry, I’m not getting rich here, I’ll never recommend anything I don’t believe in 🙂