One of the best-kept secrets on the Côte d’Azur is the sensational, and hugely original, Bois des Lutins, well-known to locals but luckily for us, not often mentioned in the tourist guides.  And even luckier for us is that it’s only 10 minutes from Lou Messugo.  The Bois des Lutins, (Pixie or Elf Wood) is a charmingly low-tech fun park for all ages (billed from 2-102 years) mainly consisting of rope walkways linking tree houses high in the trees.  There are enormous bouncy castles, zip wires and giant net trampolines, along with traditional wooden games, swings, slides, hammocks, “hamster wheels”, toboggans and tunnels to crawl through, all in a natural forest setting. The theme of elves and pixies runs throughout the park with trees named after different characters and magical little creatures hidden high in the branches to search for. Some trees blow bubbles, some play music or squirt water and most have a story to tell, in French, naturally.

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We went yesterday with cousins, in a group ranging from 10 months to 14 years and a handful of enthusiastic adults and we all had a blast.  It’s getting harder and harder to find a place that entertains both our 8 year old and teenager but this place still hits the spot.  Even the baby enjoyed watching her siblings and cousins muck around in the fresh air.  It’s late October and we were verging on too warm in jeans and long sleeves, such is the lovely autumn weather at the moment.

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The Bois des Lutins actively encourages picnics with plenty of tables all around the park, though there is a simple snack bar for drinks, ice-creams and sandwiches if you don’t want to bring your own food.  There are also several drinking-water fountains making it unnecessary to lug around heavy bottles of water, another little touch hugely appreciated by pack-horse parents!

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We’ve been many times over the years, in hot summers and cooler seasons but as the majority of the activities are in the trees it’s shady and not too warm in the summer and can even be a place to go in light rain.  I recommend this adventure activity park to all my gîte guests with families and without a single exception, they’ve all loved it.  Recently some even went twice in a one week stay!  If you’re planning a holiday on the Côte d’Azur with children you won’t regret spending a day at the Bois des Lutins, honest! You’ll love it!  And in the words of my 5 year old nephew from England, every time he comes to France from now on he wants to visit the magical pixie wood.  Every time!

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