Paris is a wonderful place to visit but having been there many times, especially my step kids, we had to dig deep to find something new to see other then the usual sights.
This past summer, I came across an article about this park about 20 miles outside of Paris in Élancourt called France Miniature Theme Park. We were looking for an off beat experience and this place really fit the bill.
A park featuring regional landscapes and the exact replicas models of major French landmarks on a 1/30 scale of 116 historical monuments in an outdoor park with rides.
What seemed to be a easy train ride to the park became a nightmare. Why didn’t I listen to my husband and rent a car? I figured we could take the train and not have to worry about driving. That was mistake number one. After taking around four trains and a bus, we were left in what we thought was the middle of nowhere. Once we figured out where we were, we walked 1/2 mile from the bus stop to the park entrance.
The park is organized by regions and there are clear signs throughout the park so that one can follow the map and stay on track.
They provide you with a booklet to follow the numbers around the park. The booklet also gives you information on each model, which was very interesting and informative. The models are set out into individual sections like North, West, Mid-France etc. The models are very well made and are extremely detailed. There is a lake with moving boats, trains darting in and out of bridges and something to see around every corner!
The entire walk is step-free making it easily accessible for people with mobility issues and strollers. They have plenty of trees with a good amount of shade as one walks through the park. It was a very hot day when we went and we didn’t think of bringing any drinks or food with us. The main restaurant was closed. They did however have a little food stand which sold drinks and some fast food. (Not a very big selection, and not the best quality either).
There are a couple of rides/attractions in the park but from an age perspective, they are tailored to kids age 5 and over. Some of the kids we saw were on a school trip. The park wasn’t very busy on the day of our visited, and we were able to go through undisturbed at a fairly leisurely pace. The visit itself lasted about two hours but since we used public transportation to get there it took us most of the day.
Most of us that visit France are unable to travel to every famous monument or historical place because of time contrains. France Miniature enables you to see all of France from a different perspective. For those that only have time to explore Paris, this is a great way to find out what else France has to offer, and maybe find out which areas of France would be of interest for a future visit.
It was a very interesting way of exploring France. My advice is skip the public transportation and rent yourself a car for the day. It’s cheaper and much more practical. We ended up having an employee at the park call us a taxi and spent $90 euros to drive us back into Paris.
What’s your favorite part of France?
FRANCE MINIATURE THEME PARK
Accès Boulevard André Malraux
Courrier au 25 route du Mesnil – 78 990 Elancourt