Gardens, fireworks and rollercoasters are only some of the things to be enjoyed this month in Paris
paris and its surrounding region are studded with a host of parks and gardens ranging from French formal gardens to a haven for biodiversity. Great attraction parks for young and old can also be found in and around Paris for a day, or more, of summertime fun. The Parc de Bagatelle offers a beautiful and bucolic promenade into a world of themed floral gardens, ponds, bridges, grottoes, waterfalls, an Orangery and encounters with peacocks. The park houses one of the finest rose gardens in France with over 1200 varieties and where an international rose competition has been held since 1907. While the park is known for its roses, it also houses a garden dedicated to irises, a pond filled with water lilies and lotus, a market garden and a collection of clematis. Just 30 minutes east of Paris sits the elegant castle and gardens of Champs-sur-Marne. An ode to the lovely lifestyle of the 18th century, its illustrious inhabitants have included the Marquise de Pompadour and the Princess of Conti. The 85-hectare park is one of the first mixed style gardens with its 900 metre perspective punctuated by two ornamental ponds forming the formal French part of the gardens while wide English-style landscaped areas form the backdrop replete with woodlands. A masterpiece of 17th century France emerges just 50 kilometres from Paris at the castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte. This enchanting castle has sweeping gardens, perspectives and fountains designed by the great gardener and landscape artist André Le Nôtre. Every Saturday night until October 3rd, the castle, which is privately owned, holds its famous candlelit soirées when 2000 candles illuminate the castle and grounds. There is also a fireworks display every Saturday at 11pm, and this year a drawing will give a lucky visitor a chance to set off the fireworks every week. One of the latest additions to the park and garden offerings in the greater Paris region is the Parc du Peuple de l’Herbe (The Park of the Grass People), which is devoted to the preservation of biodiversity and which opened in June just 40 minutes west of Paris. Situated on the banks of the Seine, the park is outfitted with a monumental observatory from which the flora and fauna of the park can be observed. The park has been designed to raise public awareness of nature and the environment and their preservation. In Marne-la-Vallée the wonderful world of Disneyland Paris is celebrating its 25th birthday in style this year. To begin the celebrations, there is a brand new parade with spectacular floats during which Mickey and his friends become explorers of the future in an imaginative 8-chapter story. There are also two new Star Wars attractions on the agenda, a new take on Star Tours: the Adventure Continues and Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain. The former will take visitors to new destinations with a new pilot and new 3D technology, while the space attraction Space Mountain has become
Hyperspace Mountain, taking visitors on a sensational expedition inspired by the world of Star Wars. Also on the birthday agenda is the Waltz of the Princesses in which each princess wears a new dress designed for the anniversary. And at nightfall don’t miss the Disney Illuminations, a new show of fireworks, sound and light. Meanwhile, a unique experience is waiting to be discovered just 30 kilometres north of the French capital at Parc Astérix. Here the world of the Gauls, who were among the original inhabitants of France, is being played out. The park offers a fabulous blend of 40 attractions and shows staged in six different worlds, Welcome to Gaul, The Roman Empire, Ancient Greece, The Vikings, Travel Through Time and Egypt. This year’s new attraction is the Pégase Express, named for the winged horse Pegasus and the rocking rollercoaster takes the visitor through the world of Antiquity in leaps and bounds. Every Saturday through to August 19th, the park is open until 10:30pm as a superb display of sound, light and fireworks is played out. The show, entitled Le Ciel Vous Tombe sur la Tête (The Sky is Falling Down) is a spellbinding spectacle featuring druids working their magic. Meanwhile, the Enchanted River boat ride, the Little Train that wends through the woods, a riding academy and exotic birds are among the panorama of attractions awaiting the visitor in the Bois de Boulogne at the Jardin d’Acclimatation, the oldest theme park in France, which has been frequented by generations of Parisians. Founded in 1860, the park was inaugurated by Napoleon III and the Empress Eugenie. And right in the heart of Paris in the Jardin des Tuileries an attraction adventure is ready to be taken with a traditional funfair that runs through to August 27th. Some 60 attractions are on-hand including bumper cars, ghost trains, a hall of mirrors and a wooden carrousel. There are trampolines and giant slides as well as typical fairground treats.
The Parade at Disneyland Paris (above), the sound, light and fireworks show at Parc Astérix (opposite page) and the funfair in the Jardin des Tuileries (bottom right)
From top to bottom: View onto Castle of Vaux- le-Vicomte, view of the Orangery and the Rose Garden at the Parc de Bagatelle and the Grounds of Vaux- le-Vicomte