Les Barils is a small countryside town in the Normandy region of France. The size would suggest an unassuming village but the local waterpark attracts visitors from all over the country. Today we’ll take a look at the best things to do in Les Barils.
Exploring the French countryside is always an amazing experience. From cute villages to historic small towns, there’s a lot to see. Les Barils is well known for the modern aquapark but there are also some historical sights nearby.
Whether you are only planning a day trip or staying multiple days in Les Barils we’ve got something for you. So buckle up, and let’s dive into this list of the top things to do in Les Barils.
Where is Les Barils?
You will find Les Barils approximately 2 hours west of Paris. It’s got no local train station so public transport to the city can be very hard to find.
Driving to Les Barils is easy. There are plenty of main roads in the area and within 2 hours you’ll arrive from Paris which has one of the biggest airports nearby.
The closest train station is at Verneuil d’Avre et d’Iton which is actually very close to town but without a car, it’s still a bit problematic getting to Les Barils. You may catch a taxi from here but it will cost you.
Top Things to Do in Les Barils
Now let’s get into the interesting part of this travel guide with the best things to do in Les Barils. From the amazing Center Parcs to biking the countryside there’s plenty for everyone.
1. Le château des Bois Francs
One of the most impressive buildings of Les Barils is definitely the local Chateau. It’s an old castle that’s definitely seen better days. The center location allows for easy access and it’s a beautiful building to walk around.
Unfortunately, it is abandoned which means no entry to the inside. We wish the local authorities would do something about this as it would make an amazing museum for the area.
Regardless, you can walk the Chateau grounds, enjoy the beautiful sight that this building provides, and even meet farm animals. Yes, there are a few sheep and goats on the Chateau grounds making it a nice family activity.
2. Explore Center Parcs
The main attraction of Les Barils is definitely Center Parcs. It’s a huge park with cute accommodations, plenty of water, and space to walk and bike around.
There is a big parking area where you can leave a car and there is a bike rental right next to the parking so you can easily exchange four wheels for two wheels. In our opinion, it’s worth exploring via bike as there is the Voie verte des Bois Francs area next door which is an amazing place to bike.
In the park itself, you will find plenty of outdoor activities that you can try including mini-golf, pedalboat, and even archery. A great family spot to enjoy a day out.
3. Aquapark in Center Parcs
Another important attraction in Les Barils is the local waterpark. It’s right in the middle of Center Parcs and it’s an enjoyable waterpark with slides and relaxing facilities.
The waterpark is a combination of indoor and outdoor spaces with indoor attractions taking the majority. This means that even in bad weather there is something to enjoy.
4. Golf Center Parcs Bois Francs
Those who enjoy golf will be happy to learn that Center Parcs even have a golf course. It’s a nice 9-hole course that’s best enjoyed in the summer. In fact, during the off-season, we’ve found that the place is not maintained exceptionally.
However, if you visit during the summer, you’ll enjoy a nice time on the course in a beautiful environment. Definitely, the months to golf in Les Barils.
5. Visit Verneuil-sur-Avre
Verneuil-sur-Avre is a cute town nearby. If you want to visit a classic countryside town in France then this is a must-do when you are in Les Barils.
It really is a small place but the main historic center is very walkable and great to explore. You’ll find super picturesque opportunities around every corner. Well-maintained buildings, beautiful facades, and cute restaurants await if you decide to visit.
It’s only a short drive from Les Barils so we highly recommend that you include a half-day trip to your itinerary.
6. Perche et de la Trappe Forest
You’ll find Parc naturel régional du Perche, a nature park nearby as well. It’s one of the best places to see if you are after some nature exploration.
Inside this natural park, we are especially fond of the Perche et de la Trappe Forest. It’s a thick forest with multiple walking paths that seems to be perfect for a family day out. This place is also a well-known mushroom-picking forest among the locals.
7. Château de Beaumesnil
Château de Beaumesnil is a 40-minute drive away from Les Barils but it’s definitely worth the drive. It’s another one in the line of beautiful castles in the Normandy countryside.
However, unlike the local Chateau at Les Barils, you can totally explore this one. It has expansive grounds with beautiful gardens to walk around. The interior of the castle is also well-preserved and you can get the feeling of royalty while walking the great halls of Château de Beaumesnil.
This castle is pretty popular among tourists and locals alike so it’s recommended that you purchase your tickets in advance. You can do it at https://www.chateaubeaumesnil.com/.
8. Visit Le Mans
Finally, you’ll have the town of Le Mans approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes away by car. Le Mans has a nice historic downtown, a beautiful river walk, plenty of churches and museums, and is a nice place to visit.
However, motorsport fans will recognize the name Le Mans as something else. This town is home to the legendary 24 hours of Le Mans race. Those who love car racing must take this opportunity to visit Le Mans and see the track for themselves.
There is even a museum near the track entrance where you can check out some vintage cars and some classic racing vehicles. Also as parts of the circuit runs on a public road you will be able to drive on the actual Le Mans Circuit if there is no even running.
Is Les Barils worth visiting?
Les Barils is a cute town in Normandy and it’s a nice enough place as your base of exploration. If you like what Center Parcs has to offer and think you can spend multiple days here then it’s definitely worth a visit.
However, for most people, Les Barils will be too small. There are countless amazing small towns in Normandy that are bigger and offer similar entertainment.
Regardless, the aquapark and Center Parcs provide plenty of fun for visitors and if you have a rental car you can drive around this part of France and have a vacation full of amazing memories.
It’s also worth noting that Center Parcs is kind of a tourist ‘resort’. It’s got multiple cottages so even though Les Barils itself is a small town this area maintains a kind of a touristy feel. If you are into it then Les Barils will be right up your alley.
Les Barils is truly a place to unwind and enjoy a quiet time. However, if you must always be on the move and get bored easily you’ll find Les Barils not worth the visit.
Eating and Staying in Les Barils
Finally, we are not leaving you without some recommendations for food and lodging in Les Barils. Although options are limited, you’ll still find some great places in and around town.
Eating in Les Barils
- Le Barilois
- Local establishment Le Barilois is the place to eat in Les Barils. Not only it’s one of the only restaurants in town but it’s an excellent one. The food always tasted amazing and we’ve found the prices to be more than reasonable.
Staying in Les Barils
- Cabane perchée Normandie
- One of the cutest accommodation options in Les Bariles. It’s a small cabin near the outskirts of town. The wood cabin is fully equipped to house one family and it’s definitely one of the more unique places you can stay.
- Center Parcs Lodging
- Of course, most people stay in Center Parcs. There are multiple cottages available in all sizes and shapes. Great for anyone from families to couples. We did find the place a bit dated. Kind of stuck in the 2000s but otherwise, it’s fine for a few nights. Don’t expect a 5-star resort though and you won’t be disappointed.