Like many other women, I am obsessed with flowers. Looking at them, smelling them, photographing them, learning about them – I love it and I can’t get enough of it.
So it doesn’t exactly come as a shocker to those who know me, that I’ll always make sure to schedule in a visit to the local botanical garden, whenever I’m planning a trip to a new destination. It’s just one of those things I have to do. Because, enjoying the scent of beautiful flowers while strolling through a picturesque garden is something that gives me a feeling of tranquility. And it fills my Instagram with amazing colorful photos too!
The day I scrolled through my news feed on Facebook and stumbled upon an article (including a video) on Terra Botanica – a botanical theme park in France – I knew I’d just made a great discovery. I had found my paradise.
Right there in Angers, a city in western France.
I thought to myself, a theme park AND botanical gardens in one? That’s just a whole other level of happiness right there – and it’s something for all generations to enjoy.
Me, I have moments where I behave older than your grandma, and moments where I behave like a little child, which makes it all just perfect.
Considering the fact that I already live in France, I knew I could easily go to Angers on a weekend trip – which made the temptation to go there, even bigger. Just a two and a half hour drive from Paris, and I’d be there.
I showed my boyfriend the article on Terra Botanica and played him the video. He wasn’t too excited about it, being a macho man and all. “A flower park? The rides don’t even look exciting. It’s just slow and boring”, were his exact words, when referring to the scenic boat ride and the journey in a nutshell (pedaling through the forest, past the tops of the trees). Boring my ass. It looked awesome.
My puppy eyes and multiple repetitions of “please, please, please” and “come on” – as if I was a little girl begging her parents to take her to Disneyland – paid off in the end.
We spent the day of arrival just visiting the city of Angers, which is a lovely city famous for its medieval castle with as many as 17 towers!
The following day, we left the hotel at an early hour and were all set and super stoked (well, at least I was) and couldn’t wait to spend a full day enjoying everything Terra Botanica had to offer, before returning home from our overnight getaway.
The sun was shining through the windy clouds, bees were buzzing around and flowers of every color imaginable were decorating every corner of the park. Due to the strong wind, the big yellow air balloon was sadly closed to visitors, but we still had lots of other interesting things to see and do!
First thing up, was a 4D adventure. There are actually two different adventures, depending on what time of the day you get there. In the morning and until 2 pm, there’s a film where you’ll see things from a water droplets point of view and follow its journey from the sky to the heart of the plant. After 2 pm, there’s a film where you’re placed at the wheel of a Jeep and you’ll drive right into a dinosaur reserve. My boyfriend is a huge fan of dinosaurs and absolutely loved it. So did I. It reminded us of Jurassic Park, and who doesn’t love Jurassic Park?
Then we pedaled into the forests and enjoyed the view of the park from above while snapping a few photos, before changing the perspective and admiring the view from the relaxing boat ride. I asked my boyfriend if he still thought the park was boring, and he said no. Ah, see? I bloody told him so!
We fed our brains with interesting information about plants adaptations in different habitats (accompanied by hologram projections) before walking through different rooms to experience those different climate types and seeing the plants adapted to it.
After feeding our brains, we fed our bellies with a quick lunch from one of the restaurants in the park. My fish and chips was surprisingly as good as the fish and chips I’ve had in England – which means it’s freakin’ delicious (for a fast food meal). While my boyfriend was sitting there chewing on a mediocre hot dog, I could tell by the look on his face that he wanted to steal my fish. And then he asked me if I’d really be able to finish all of that, and offered to help out if not…
We continued exploring the park and moved on to the butterfly greenhouse. I’ve already been to plenty of butterfly greenhouses/butterfly sanctuaries in my life, and I just can’t seem to get enough of them. Ever. I love how aesthetic butterflies are. The colors, the patterns and even the way they flutter their wings. From a hobbyist photographers point of view, they are magnificent creatures.
Before leaving the park, we went to see something kind of creepy, yet extremely fascinating; carnivorous plants. Yes, meat eating (insects, mainly) plants. Some of them have teeth and look quite intimidating, while others just look like some kind of a tube. Harmless. Apparently they eat mosquito’s, so if you’re someone who’s always targeted by those bloodsucking insects, you might wanna consider investing in a carnivorous plant.
We left the park feeling smarter, feeling happy and feeling exactly the way I’m sure the park was designed to make you feel.
What else should you know about Terra Botanica?
- It is closed during winter (doesn’t quite come as a surprise, does it?)
- There’s an Autumn festival in the park from the 28th to the 31st of October, and a Spring festival on April 1st and 2nd!
- It is located in Angers, and is a 1 hour drive from Nantes and Rennes, 1 hour 20 minutes from Tours and 2 and a half hour drive from Paris.
- It’s on the top 10 list of TripAdvisor’s Preferred in France Theme Parks.
- Book tickets online and you’ll get a discount!