Small but mighty: 4 fascinating model villages in France to visit

France Miniature. Pic: Frederic Bisson/Wikimedia

France Miniature. Pic: Frederic Bisson/Wikimedia - Credit: Archant

Whether you’re eight or 80, these parcs de miniatures promise a great day out and a chance to see France from another perspective

Embarking on your very own Tour de France is no longer out of reach thanks to France’s range of model villages. In just a few hours you can see all the top sights, from the Eiffel Tower to the châteaux of the Loire, and get some fantastic photo opportunities. Here we’ve rounded up four of the country’s best parcs des miniatures for an unusual day out.

France Miniature, Élancourt

If you’re staying in Paris and have exhausted the city centre’s attractions, head to the Yvelines department for a model village that’s celebrating its 30th birthday in 2021. France Miniature boasts 117 intricate models depicting some of the country’s best-loved tourist attractions and architectural wonders, including churches, châteaux and bridges. There’s also a model train network that criss-crosses the park, and you’ll even see mini versions of the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean.

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Mini World Lyon

France’s largest indoor model village complex at 4,500 square metres, Mini World Lyon has been entertaining tourists since 2016. The complex consists of three main areas – the city, the countryside and the mountains, brought to life with some 30,000 tiny inhabitants. Many of the models are animated and there are lots of pop culture references to spot.

This May, a brand new Mini World has opened near the southern city of Toulon depicting the beautiful Côte d’Azur. See Saint-Tropez’s colourful harbour up-close or marvel at Nice’s famous promenade.

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Parc Mini-Châteaux, Amboise

See all the Loire châteaux without leaving Amboise in this model village with a majestic theme. Set within gorgeous gardens, the park is home to 44 of the area’s finest castles with their most precious details reproduced, including their moats and parkland. Don’t miss the Château du Clos-Lucé, Leonardo da Vinci’s final residence – this model took the craftspeople 800 hours to build! Young visitors will delight in the other amusements on offer like the Mini Bugatti circuit.

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Parc Miniatures Plombières-Les-Bains

One of the smaller model villages but still a great way to spend a few hours if you’re in the Vosges. Plombières-Les-Bains’ model village is set in the town’s Imperial Park, built on the orders of Napoleon III. Enjoy the colourful reproductions of eastern France’s half-timbered houses, as well as the region’s churches and castles. For even more fun you can enjoy a game of mini-golf on-site.

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