PARIS – Tucked into a corner of eastern France where overseas tourists rarely venture, the Park of the Little Prince takes its name from one of French literature's most beloved characters — and takes its cues from a time when roller coasters didn't set out to terrify, living rooms televisions didn't have multi-player 3-D video games and theme parks were scaled for the small.
The park, which opened July 1, is perfect for visitors looking for a way to entertain small children who might have had their fill of the French, German or Swiss countryside. It's located in Ungersheim, in the heart of the Alsace region, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) from Basel, Switzerland, and about 15 kilometers (10 miles) from the German border.
There are 31 attractions based loosely on the theme of flight — the Little Prince is a space explorer and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a well-known pilot. (He got his pilot's license in Strasbourg, the regional capital of Alsace.) Attractions include two tethered passenger balloons, a film about deep-sea mysteries watched from the perspective of a water scooter, and visits with real fox cubs or a flock of sheep with their sheepdog.
Despite the smattering of high-tech, the park — like the book, which was published in 1943 — is more about slowing down and taking stock of the small things that delight. And remember, as the Little Prince said, "children should always show great forbearance toward grown-up people."
If You Go...
PARK OF THE LITTLE PRINCE: http://www.parcdupetitprince.com. Located in Ungersheim in eastern France. Open daily, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Adults, 22 euros ($30), children 3-11, 16 euros ($21), children younger than 3 free. Family pass (2 adults, 2 children), 69 euros ($94).
GETTING THERE: High-speed trains serve Strasbourg, about a 90-minute drive from Ungersheim, as well as Basel, Switzerland, about a half-hour drive from the park.