Our top 10 theme parks in France

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Family holidays need fun days out and a theme park trip is a guaranteed hit - so here are our favourite theme parks to visit when you holiday in France this summer...

Fun for all the family

Whatever kind of theme park you and your family are interested in, France has something to offer.

Whether you're looking for parks filled with a huge variety of exciting rides and fun activities to enjoy with your favourite characters, waterparks that are home to giant flumes and breathtaking waterslides, or more educational parks that are great fun and your kids will learn something new too - you will find there's many to choose from in France.

The biggest and most famous parks in France are undoubtedly Disneyland® Paris, the sleek multimedia technology-based Parc du Futuroscope and the historical Puy du Fou, which was voted the best theme park in the world in 2012. In all of these you'll need to spend at least one whole day to explore. You could even make these theme parks the main base of your holiday or short break by staying on site.

France also has many smaller, more regional theme parks throughout the country. Find the theme park nearest to your holiday destination or pick the one you want to visit and plan your holiday around it. You're sure to find something that your whole family will happy with - it'll be the highlight of your family holiday!

France's best theme parks

1. Disneyland® Paris

This needs little introduction. Disney's only theme park in Europe, Disneyland Paris is only two and a half hours from our port in Le Havre and around three hours from Caen. The park is huge - nearly one fifth the size of Paris itself - and features so many rides that everyone in the family will find a favourite. Explore the five different worlds of the park - Main Street U.S.A.®, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Adventureland and Discoveryland. Rides include Space Mountain: Mission 2, Pirates of the Caribbean and Big Thunder Mountain.

Also, don't miss the Walt Disney Studios® Park where you can discover what it's like being behind the camera at the movies, with stunt performers, working movie sets and animation demonstrations.

2. Futuroscope

A unique theme park, and one of the biggest in France, Parc du Futuroscope is an incredible experience. Housed inside ultra-modern buildings that sit in 60 hectares of tranquil countryside, the park's attractions are all about technology and multimedia and several of the attractions have won THEA awards.

Sit in a giant robot arm as it dances to music at Dances with Robots, be launched 115 feet into the air at the Aerobar and enjoy a drink at the top, and there's also lots of spectacular shows including Ice Age: the 4D experience and The Kube Mysteries, which takes place on a video-mapped stage.

3. Puy du Fou

2012's best theme park in the world, Puy du Fou is a sensational experience where you can travel into the past with thrilling live-action shows that are truly spectacular. From Vikings to musketeers, Romans to medieval knights, there's a whole host of historical characters here.

There's so much to see including jousting, falconry, chariots, even skills such as blacksmithing. Stunts, fights, explosions, dancing - it's all here in Puy du Fou's enthralling shows. And, the night-time show, the Cinéscenie, is the biggest night-time show in the world featuring 1,200 actors on a 23 hectare stage. Unmissable if you're anywhere near the Poitiers area, Puy du Fou is a visit you will never forget.

4. Festyland

Located just outside Caen, this historical theme park is perfect for younger children. With rollercoasters, waterslides, a medieval castle and even a 3D cinema, Festyland is a great day out on a smaller scale than the big theme parks.

With attractions centred around William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings, the Belle Epoque and more, kids might even learn a little during their fun. There's also live shows in the summer featuring pirates, Vikings and dinosaurs!

5. Parc de Préhistoire de Bretagne

If your kids love dinosaurs then the Parc de Préhistoire de Bretagne is the place to go. Stroll along the trail at this 20 hectare park that meanders through forests and alongside lakes and you'll never know what dinosaurs might be lying around the corner.

With 30 life-size models of dinosaurs in different scenes and also some scenes of prehistoric people hunting, fishing and more, this is an entertaining and educational way to spend an afternoon with the little ones.

6. Terra Botanica

Whilst a plant-life theme park might sound an odd premise, Terra Botanica is a great, unusual day out amongst beautiful greenery and has a really fun atmosphere. From walking in the entrance of the ogre's head to the elves that ride around the park on bicycles, Terra Botanica has a unique sense of fun.

There's 110,000m² of gardens to explore with 40 attractions and presentations around the site to get interactive with as well as a 4D cinema. Fun, educational and a day spent around nature. What could be better?

7. Cité de l'Espace

Got a space fanatic in the family? Then head to the Cité de l'Espace where you can find out all about man's journeys into space through interactive exhibits. Outside are full-size replicas of the Mir space station and an Ariane 5 rocket and you can also take a look at the Soyuz spacecraft.

With an observation dome, IMAX cinema and planetarium as well as the exhibition centre, there's a lot to see and do. Be sure to give the moonwalk simulator a try! And there's also plenty of places outside for the kids to play, including an area for younger kids.

8. Parc Astérix

Probably France's most famous comic book character, Astérix has his own park where you can meet him and all his friends and enjoy some great theme park rides. One of the best-known theme parks in France, Parc Astérix has rollercoasters, ghost rides, dodgems and more.

With historical worlds to explore - Gaul, Vikings, Ancient Greece, Roman Empire, Egypt and the Travel Through Time world of 14th to 20th century France, there's much outdoor fun to be had with your favourite characters. Don't miss the hilarious live shows including stories such as a Gaulish spy trying to infiltrate a Roman camp.

9. Vulcania

Located in Auvergne, looking across the Chaîne de Puys row of dormant volcanoes, Vulcania is a volcano theme park that's a great educational day out and lots of fun. Mainly underground, Vulcania is an interactive park where you can travel into the heart of an active volcano, take part in science experiments and enjoy some really immersive film experiences, including 4D.

Outside, you can take a trip around the park in the Volcanbul, a GPS-driven electric vehicle, and admire the stunning views of the Chaîne de Puys.

10. Aqualand - Bassin d'Arcachon

For waterpark fun, Aqualand Arcachon, in beautiful Gujan Mestras on the coast of Aquitaine, is a fantastic day out. Whether you like your rides more sedate or enjoy rapids, whirlpools and giant flumes, there is something for all the family here.

Those who are real daredevils will love the Black Hole flume that is in complete darkness - not for the faint-hearted!

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