If you are a thrill seeker then this place is an absolute must. It’s between Vire and Jurques (which has an excellent Zoo by the way – another post for another time) in the Calvados region of Normandy. Even if you aren’t too keen on flinging yourself off a platform from a great height – your fate being decided by a big springy elastic band whilst your retina’s are still attached – this is still a very enjoyable day out for all ages.
In fact, only our eldest son is a thrill seeker. I’m a lightweight as is my daughter. Our youngest enjoys watching immensely and Mr Normandy’s would probably come out in a wheelchair given his back issues. Joking aside we parked up the top (not the main entrance) of the viaduct and walked down which is quite steep. Please bear this is mind on your way back up. However, you can enter the viaduct from the other side and get a mini train down/up which is what I would recommend if walking is a problem. Once at ground level it’s very flat.
We still had as much fun watching as the people who were whizzing down the hill in a luge, who were strapped in, launched up and backwards then catapulted from a stationary position, zip wiring across the park and, of course,the bungee jumping from the viaduct itself. I’m not sure if you get weighed or you tell the staff your weight which may explain why some people ended up having a dip in the pond below. If I had to tell them I’m pretty sure I’d have drowned as I’d be knocking a few stone off for sure. The pond area is a great viewing point. Pull up a seat and grab a beer!
I have to say the French love a theme park of any description and I personally think they excel at them.
So not only is this a hive of activity of which you can hear delighted and equally terrified screams echoing around the park – the park and I use this term loosely is, in fact, an area of outstanding beauty. It is an attraction in itself. The scenery is stunning and the photo opportunities immense. You can go off for a ramble, a barefooted walk – although not sure how many do this as you have to pay to go into this section. The French love to forage i.e pick their own blackberries and beachcomb for all manner of crustaceans for their lunch. I simply cannot see them paying to take their shoes off and walk barefoot in a garden. I could be wrong and if so I stand corrected. If you do go please let me know how many you see doing this!
And then there’s the history of the viaduct. It was built between 1887 and 1889 by Gustav Eiffel. No not the tower chap but a French engineer who looked like this:-
The railway line was built so the train could pass from Vire to Caen and cross the Souleuvre Valley and it opened to passengers in 1891. It was bombed several times during the Second World War. After the war ended the French national railway SNCF used it until 1960 but it was deemed too expensive and they blew up parts of it in 1970?! But it was later discovered again in 1988 and jumping began in 1990. Hooray!
If this feat of engineering and history appeal to you then there are lots of black and white pictures around the site and much more detailed information. Back to the fun stuff.
Or more importantly food. There’s an on site cafe which has a really good range and the prices, in my view, are very reasonable. We had coffee and ice-cream not a winning combination but nevertheless very enjoyable.
Whilst we were there the pompiers arrived on the scene. At first we thought perhaps one of the giant elastic bands (aka bungee) hadn’t taken the strain and a punter had come a cropper. However, it transpired that someone had got a back injury in the restaurant of all places and couldn’t get up. Still, it was reassuring to see that should an accident occur an ambulance was there toute de suite and had its own special access to the area.
I’m really looking forward to spending a full day here as we only really came across it by chance. I will come better prepared with walking shoes and maybe an ounce of dare devil have a go attitude and brave the luge with the kids.
For more details on how to get there and all the blurb – here’s a link to their website