On Monday the 26th, I visited Futuroscope, which is a technology park situation on the edge of Poitiers, with my Tourism class. The day began with most of my class getting off the city bus confused and not sure where to go. We eventually found our way to the administrative entrance for a presentation organized by our professor from the park officials. They talked about how they run the park, and keep visitors coming.
Basically, the park used to be privately run, but it is now owned and operated by the local government. The architecture of the buildings is very cool and futuristic, although the actual attraction themselves have mixed reviews. I can’t complain too much because we got in free, but most parts of the park were just simulations where you sit and watch something. They were typically realistic with your chairs vibrating to match what you see on screen, as if you’re in the movie. One of the simulators even had a character that sneezes on the audience several times, resulting in blasts of water (I HOPE it was just water) being sprayed on your face.
This is one of the best views within the park, with beautiful water being overlooked by a very unusual building. Our presentation was in that building at the very bottom. The Gyrotower can be seen in the background. I went up to the top of this tower (as one of the park’s few “rides”) where the entire park could be seen. According to the voiceovers, Futuroscope has some of the highest concentration of hotels in Europe with thousands of rooms available. Several technology related companies also make their home on site.
Strange building with a huge ball on top. Also note the building to the right which also has an unusual shape like all the others.
Modern art of some type
The “Dancing with Robots” ride. I went on this and it was quite intense. You’re strapped to the end of a robotic arm which swings you all around. It’s about 2 minutes long, and you’re quite ready to get off at the end!
That’s water running down the windows of this building (except above the door, thankfully!). Perhaps this is a possible solution that building owners in France could use in the event of a widespread window cleaner strike.
These buildings must have been very expensive to create. Inside this one, I believe there was a nature film shown on large screens in front of you as well as below the clear glass floor, adding a bit extra sense of realism perhaps.
An upside-down staircase, perhaps.
Overall, Futuroscope was very interesting. It’s unfair to compare it with Disneyland, simply because it does not try to have any thrill rides, but you can learn a lot, and play a lot with technology here. One attraction, which wasn’t running yet when I saw it, was a robot that can draw your portrait.
In other news, I decided that I did not like my Panasonic Lumix camera too much, so I returned it. It wasn’t bad, but it did lack some features and quality that I missed in my Canon. I bought the minor upgrade to my old camera, the Canon PowerShot S3 IS. It is almost the same as what I had. I plan to use it for the rest of my time in France, and then sell it on eBay before I leave to return to Canada where I can have my other camera repaired. I’m likely only going to live in France once, so I want a camera that I am very comfortable with.