LivingTravelTerra Botanica Parc in Angers, France

Terra Botanica Parc in Angers, France

Introduction:

Terra Botania in Angers, France, is the latest newcomer to France’s theme parks. Inaugurated in April 2010 with the aim of exploring and explaining the universe of plants, the concept of this innovative botanical theme park is very ambitious. All aspects of plant life – historical, geographical, economic, symbolic, scientific, and aesthetic – are here, some presented in earnest, others in a decidedly far-fetched way. It’s a major new attraction, so here’s help planning your visit.

What to do:

Terra Botánica is divided into four different ‘worlds’. The park covers 11 hectares, so decide early what you want to see. (There are currently very few seats, so keep that in mind as well.) It is also very new, so you are seeing a work in progress; I will be back in a couple of years and it will look very different.

If you do this logically, you will start with the ‘coveted’ plant section. It’s to the left of the entrance as you enter, and it features the plants that our ancestors searched for for their medicinal properties and rarity. Skip the narrator: a parrot and a maniacal animated parrot. Instead, look for attractions like the film about the 18th-century Atlantic crossing to Venezuela by naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humbolt.

As you walk through this first section, you will soon dominate the park and find a true mix. There are attractions you would expect at a theme park: rides (on a boat or pedaling a nut through the treetops), movies, games that teach kids (and adults) about plants, and experiences like discovering The Leek Who Discovered the disco music in a bucket (not kidding).

Each section has its climax. In the ‘Mysterious’ plants area, don’t miss the 3D film Journey to the Center of the Plant which follows the journey of a raindrop through the tree on a seat that moves you and reflects the journey. But there are also areas that will intrigue the serious gardener: greenhouses dripping with strange green plants shrouded in steam; Enchanting walks on bridges that show the differences between cultivated rice fields and landscapes that man has not touched, an orchard and rare plants that you will not see in your back garden.

Tip: Make a plan, bring good walking shoes and bottles of water, and if you want to eat at the restaurant, find a table on the outdoor terrace.

Some figures and statistics:

This great project cost € 94 million. It took 10 years to conceive and design, but only 2 years to build. It has 367 exceptional trees, 5,500 tropical trees and shrubs, 510 rose bushes and 520 climbing plants.

Why in Anjou?

Anjou is the main horticultural region of France, so it was logical to build a theme park on the fortresses of the region. All of Anjou is full of nurseries, agricultural and horticultural businesses, as well as serious research and training centers. Anjou is the leading European producer of hydrangeas and the leading French producer of medicinal plants, apples, cucumbers, dahlias and more. And the capital of the region, Angers, wins the award for the best flower city year after year.

Angers itself is a charming city, well worth a visit in its own right. It is relatively small so it is easy to get around, it has some wonderful urban parks and gardens and an impressive medieval fortress, home to the mighty Counts of Anjou for centuries. Among the many attractions of Angers, the most powerful and little-known treasure is the spectacular and terrifying Tapestry of the Apocalypse.

Practical information:

Address: Route de Cantenay, Epinard
49000 Angers
Tel.: 00 33 (0) 2 41 25 00 00
Website

Tickets:

  • Adult € 17.50
  • Child (4-12 years) € 10
  • Family (up to 5 people) € 50
  • Annual pass (individual) € 45

Open:
May-end of August every day
April, September: Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. depending on the time of year (see website)

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