The South of France is generally regarded to have some of the best waterparks in Europe. You have a choice of 4 different water parks to choose from in Provence and the Cote d'Azur. Two of the waterparks are run by Aqualand (which seems to specialise in teenagers) and there are two good alternatives for smaller children. Speedwater is an independently run water park in between Aix-en-Provence and Marseille and Aquasplash is a new waterpark which is part of the huge Marineland Aquapark facilty in Antibes near Nice.
Best water parks in France
Here is our list of the best water parks in South France to visit this summer. Our kids have ordered them according to their preferences (which mainly involve parks with rides that can scare the living daylights out of their Dad!).
1. Aqualand Frejus water park in France
We visited the Aqualand park in Frejus two summers ago. Our favourite rides at the were the Niagra - a 25m high straight long chute that propels you down in 2 seconds; the King Cobra - absolutely terrifying, a pitch black ride that seems to last for ever and takes you spinning and turning down; and the Black hole - a massive flume. But all of these slides do attract massive queues. There is a clutch of good slides which don't get too busy (Anaconda, Colour Splash and Blue Mountain). The wave machine pool is very good and the toddler pools are safe and entertaining. If you kids are under 1.10m tall, then there isn't a great deal of rides for them to go on (so you may be better off at the Aquasplash or Speedwater parks).
The only issue with Aqualand water parks is that they do get very busy during the high season. So you are advised to book online beforehand and to arrive at 10.00 am on the dot to make sure that you can get a good place to sit.
2. Speedwater Park, Aix-en-Provence, France
If you want a quieter alternative to Aqualand, then Speedwater Park near Aix-en-Provence could be just the place for you. We took our kids here last summer (ages 16, 14 and 11). Basically, Speedwater is a cheaper version of Aqualand (well I say cheap, it is still a water park, so charges a fortune). But the key difference to Aqualand, is that you do not have to fight to get a sunbed, the restaurants/cafes are not swarming with people and generally the queue for the rides is around 30 mins and not 45 mins. We went to Aqualand a couple of summers a go at the beginning of July (before the North of France descends on the South of France coast) and it was still absolutely packed. With Speedwater, we visited it in the middle of August. I was fearing the worst, but it was actually OK.
Th main attractions at Speedwater is the Black Fear. There was not a hope in hell of getting me on this ride - it is just a long straight chute about 30m high and propels you down like a bullet. Only one of our kids did this ride and he is a nutter anyway. I thought that the Light Hole was the best ride for me. Anyway for about €100 for 5 of us it was a good day out. The only shame is that they do not do a family ticket like Aqualand. Speedwater Park South France is located in between Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, just off the A52. The park opens from 10.00am and I would recommend that you arrive about 15 mins before the park opens.
3. Aquasplash water park France
Aquasplash is part of the Marineland aquapark facility in Antibes, close to Nice. This complex includes a sea aquarium, kids adventure themepark, golf course and a water park. This park does have some long flumes, but overall it seems to cater for a younger age group of kids (6-14 years). There is the usual lazy river, wave pool and big slides involving dingy boats and donuts (Spaceboat and Side Winder). The main attraction seems to be the Draguero, which is a 12m high water slide - but to be honest, if your kids are teenagers they will probably find this a bit tame. They also have a height limit of 1.4m on this slide, which will rule out any kids under 12.
The Aquasplash water park is located just off the A8 Autoroute on the outskirts of Antibes, close to Biot. It is a short 10 minute drive from Nice (or you can catch the train to Biot train station. The park opens from the middle of June to the first week of September. The ticket price is €27 for adults and €21 for kids (although they do provide a family ticket and a nice touch where you get 50% off if you go on your birthday.
4. Sainte-Maxime Aqualand South France water park
In addition to the Frejus Aqualand water park, there is also another Aqualand in Sainte-Maxime just up the road. I have no idea which is the better park (Aqualand seem to have similar rides at their parks), but when we looked it up on the internet, Frejus seemed to have more rides and looked a bigger park. I would also imagine that the Sainte-Maxime water park will get busier than the one in Frejus on account of all the camp sites and holiday resorts in Sainte-Maxime.
The Sainte-Maxime Aqualand water park does provide some good family tickets (€83 for 2 adults and 2 kids). The water park is located towards the nothern edge of Sainte-Maxime and provides some nice views of the hills and down to the coast. The park opens from the 24 June until the 30 August each year.