West Virginia University in Vendée, France
Le Futuroscope

Having visited some of the oldest stones in France at the CAIRN WVU-V will also explore some of its newest structures.  The Futuroscope is located just outside Poitiers, not far from where Charles Martel turned back the Sarrasin armies in the 732, thus preserving the Christian religion that would soon be the heart of his grandson Charlemagne's empire.

The Futuroscope is in fact a theme park, but the theme is at once indebted to and quite different from the Disney formula.  In fact the theme of this park is the image in all its glory.  While the architecture is worthy alone of a vist to this site, the strikingly modern buildings in fact serve a very specific purpose.  They are nearly all movie theatres!  The expositons of the Futuroscope focus (a good word for this situation) primarily on the history and on the future of the image in French and world culture.  Going from the first public projection of a film by the Lumiere brothers in Paris in 1896 all the way to the next millenium, the Futuroscope has it all.  The theatres are each designed to allow a unique viewing experience of experimental films and media, many of which were produced specifically for the park and only available for viewing there.

From the pre-historic caves of Lascaux to the most avant-garde of modern cinema and passing along the way the stained glass windows of the great cathedrals, the visual arts have always been central to French culture. It is in this context that WVU-V will spend a day at the Futuroscope exploring some of the most spectular visual effects in the world.

For a more in-depth view, see the official pages of le Parc du Futuroscope.