No matter how much we may wish for a cultural weekend spent visiting historical sites, exploring new art exhibitions and tasting delicious dishes in fancy restaurants, children often act as a constraint, meaning these 'boring' activities are often off-limits. Of course, plonking the kids in front of the television to amuse themselves is not an option either. So, the question is: how to find a mix between cultural activities and the banality of weekend TV? Luckily, there are plenty of other ways to pass the weekends that suit both parents and children, and that mix knowledge and learning with entertainment.
Obviously, the first amusements that come to mind are theme parks - a big hit with all children. One of their main advantages - as the name suggests - is that they have a theme. Whether it be a discovery space at the Cité de l'espace in Toulouse, a trip back in time to discover life how it was in the Middle Ages in Puy de Fou in the Vendée, an exploration of the whole of France in just a few hours at the France Miniature in Ile-de-France, a discovery of new technologies and cinematographic techniques at Futuroscope, an exploration of the Earth's crust and the history of volcanoes at Vulcania in Auvergne, or a quick science lesson at the Cité des Sciences in Paris, these theme parks provide enough information and distractions to be entertaining for the whole family.
Alternatively, a trip to the safari or the zoo always goes does well with the kids, so why not don your winter coat and head out for a day of exploration in one of France's wildlife attractions? Gone are the days of desperate looking animals in cages staring at you from behind bars, with the modern emphasis placed much more upon protection of the animal's habitat and the species themselves. Most parks nowadays that have animals in captivity do everything they can to keep them outside in large spaces resembling their natural habitat. Thanks to this change of mindset and a shift of focus to conservation and protection, trips to the zoo or safari park are now educational and entertaining rather than traumatic. Whether it be the aquariums of Océanopolis in Brest or Nausicaa in Boulogne-sur-Mer, the animals of the African Reserve of Sigean, the Thoiry Zoo, or the Wild Cat Park in Nesles, you will no longer find drugged or depressed animals staring at you from behind bars, but rather beautiful examples of the species the attractions are trying to protect.A weekend of wine trails A weekend discovering National Parks