Star Trip in Alsace-Lorraine and Europa Park
A branch of the fantastic holiday village chain
Center Parcs opened its doors in May 2010. It is called
Le Trois Forêts and it is located in Lorraine in
The village is located an hour’s drive from Strasbourg in Alsace and an hour’s drive from Nancy in Lorraine.
The holiday village offers excellent lodging. It is located in the heart of a nature reserve, in a beautiful forest with 35-metre tall trees and a wide river flowing through it.
The village is full of family attractions. You can spend full days simply enjoying the village itself. Similar to all other Center Parcs branches, this one has a huge indoor water park.
It is 5,000 square metres in size and features a wave pool, a great variety of water slides, a flowing river, Jacuzzis, and rides for young children.
Another attraction of the village is a large, authentic farm full of cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, rabbits, ponies and many other animals. Friendly bulls and deer walk freely around the trails of the park.
Sports enthusiasts will get to enjoy archery, mini-golfing, wall-climbing, bowling, and a big sports centre with sports fields and courts of every kind. There is a rope park, ziplines, a river in which you can ride pedal boats and electric boats, horseback riding, and a variety of shows and organised activities for every age.
One of the greatest
pleasures of Center Parcs is the ability to ride bikes
safely without having to worry about cars, as cars are
not allowed into the village. They park safely at a
parking lot just outside the village. You can rent all
kinds of bikes in the village – ones with an electric
engine, special seats for infants, tricycles, double
bikes, bikes with training wheels, and more. You can
even rent a golf cart suitable for 4-6 passengers (these
are particularly popular, so book ahead)!
There are lovely trails for walking and biking through the forest.
This new Centre Parcs branch features modern and well-maintained cottages in a variety of sizes, from four-person apartments to twelve-person apartments suitable for extended families or two to three families travelling together. Apartments with three bedrooms or more have two bathrooms, something that is uncommon in Europe. The village has villas of three levels of luxury: Comfort, premium, and VIP. The latter has a home entertainment system, a Jacuzzi in one bathroom and a sauna in another. The villas are spacious, well-lit and well-equipped. Every villa has a porch with outdoor furniture.
The excellent location of the park
allows for star trips in France in the Alsace-Lorraine
territories and in the Black Forest, which has long ago
become a popular family destination. This is
particularly in thanks to Europa Park, located on the
border between France and Germany.
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Europa Park is one of the biggest and best amusement parks in Europe. Many think it is better than Disneyland Paris or Italy’s Gardaland. Every section of the park reflects a different European country, from food to architecture to music. Most importantly, the park has a great variety of rides, including some amazing roller coasters. Some call the park ‘Europe’s Epcot’.
The park has over 100 attractions, including the biggest and tallest roller coaster in Europe, sledding, rafting in an African jungle, and a life-size model of the Mir Space Station. There is also an area for very little kids, where they will meet fairies and dinosaurs. The park also hosts different shows and competitions. More information about the park can be found at its official website.
I recommend spending at least one full day at the park. Theme park lovers may even want to spend two days there. Europa Park has a few advantages over other popular theme parks in Europe: First of all, entry is relatively cheap (you can also buy discounted packages of tickets for the park and other attractions in the area) and lines are fairly short. The park is located in the Black Forest near the town of Rust, close to the border with France.
Europa Park operates in rainy weather as well, so even if the weather isn’t that great, don’t change your plans; buy some thin raincoats to wear over your clothes and have a great time and the park! (Lines are shorter on rainy days!)
Lorraine, where the village is located, has a myriad of family attractions to offer.
Half an hour’s drive away you will find plenty of activities: starting with St. Croix Animal Park, where there are many animals living in their natural habitats, as well as a trail full of activities for children, a tree house and many surprises.
Near the animal park is an adventure park called La Foret Des Enigmes which has tracks of varying difficulties suitable for any age, from young children to brave adults.
Plan Incline is a unique attraction where you will see boats going up and down an inclined elevator along a huge dam which connects rivers at very different heights.
You can go on a guided
boat tour which includes going up and down the elevator,
or just watch the boats being moved by the elevator’s
gigantic engines and see the local museum.
Nearby is an alpine slide, Luges, which overlooks the river and the Plan Incline.
Only a short drive away is the Crystal House, a huge store selling works of glass and crystal at great prices. It also has demonstrations of glassblowing and glass cutting.
Another 15-minute drive will take you to Dabo Rock, a tall rock overlooking the forests around it. At the top of the rock is a church.You can see a beautiful view of the area from there.
Nearby is a charming town called Lutzelbourg, which has a river flowing through it. It is lovely to walk along the river promenade and see the ships going up and down the river. The most beautiful view can be seen from the ruins of an ancient fortress overlooking the town.
People who like cities,
culture and museums will love the cities of Nancy and
Nancy has a great big square called Place Stanislas which is decorated with gold. The square has been declared a UNESCO site. It is surrounded by impressive buildings (including the city hall, which houses the visitor centre as well), coffee shops and restaurants.
Near the square is a large park with
a mini golf course, a small zoo and plenty of beautiful
greenery. Nancy is famous for its gardening and its Art
Nouveau style of architecture. It has an excellent art
museum and a special museum for Art Nouveau.
You can combine your visit to Nancy with a visit to the impressive castle of Lunéville Château, located on the way back to Center Parcs.
In Metz you can hire a guide to take you on a tour through churches, gardens and interesting buildings and along the river. You can book the tour through the local tourist office (I recommend doing so at least a few days ahead of time). Don’t miss a visit to the indoor marketplace, which offers a variety of delicious foods for great prices.
The new popular attraction of the city is Pompidou-Metz Centre.
The building, which opened
in May 2010, is itself beautiful. It displays a
selection of art by some of the greatest artists.
Anyone looking for another amusement park will be pleased to find that near Metz is Walygator Parc, an amusement park with over sixty attractions including the largest roller coaster in Europe.
Alsace is also full of family attractions, all an hour to ninety minutes away from Center Parcs:
I recommend touring the impressive Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle:
And the nearby Monkey park, La Montagne des Singes, where you can feed monkeys straight out of your hand.
Afterwards, visit the eagle park Volerie des Aigles,
where you can watch a great show of birds of prey.
Another lovely day trip is through Alsace’s wine road, or D’Alsace la Route des Vins. The most beautiful town along this road is Obernai. You can tour the old city along its wall, visit its winery and taste wines, and wander around chocolate shops, bakeries and the town marketplace.
Yet another lovely town, nicknamed the Venice of Alsace, is Colmar. This is the biggest city along the wine road and an important city to the wine trade. Short streets wind around old buildings between piazzas and lead to the old quarter of town where there are winding canals between the narrow streets. Some of the restaurants are reachable by gondola.
Colmar also has a great museum for old cars.
Don’t miss out on a visit to Strasbourg, the biggest
and most beautiful of the cities of Alsace. Its
highlight is a visit to Petite France and boating
through the city’s canals.
I also recommend taking a Segway tour through the city which will take you from the old quarters to the new European parliament buildings, through the entire city.
Alternatively, you can rent a bike and cycle through the city’s many safe bike roads.
The most beautiful view of the city can be seen from the top of the cathedral tower in the centre of the city, opposite the visitor centre.
Strasbourg also has several
museums, including a nice chocolate museum, Musee les
Secrets du Chocolat.
I recommend purchasing the Strasbourg Pass from the city’s tourist office, as it allows you entry into the city’s major attractions for a great price.
I recommend combining 4-7 days of vacationing at Center Parcs in Lorraine with 3-7 days in the Black Forest or Lake Constance.
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