“ 85560 Le Bernard. „
It was the words every father dreams of hearings Dont shoot Dad Im out of ammo Slowly I pondered my deep love for my 13 year old son and all the pleasure that I have felt watching him grow, I also remembered the grief his arguing with his sister had given me the day before and as I pumped the fifth and last paint ball into his fast retreating posterior I reflected that sometimes life cannot get much better.
During our recent holiday in the wonderful area around Jard Sur Mer in the Vendee we found ourselves having a bit of a lads only day at Indian Forest which is an outdoors adrenaline centre with a variety of activities to keep you occupied and burning off loads of energy.
The centre is located in woodland about one kilometre from Moutiers Les Mauxfaits and 15 kilometres from our base in Jard Sur Mer. It is well signposted as you approach the centre from about 10km away and the entrance is equally well sign posted so there was no danger of missing it. It is open between the months of April and October and the opening hours vary dependant upon the time of year with the shortest opening hours being 14.00 hours until 18.00 hours and the longest being 09.00 hrs until 21.00 hrs.
There are a number of activities that you can choose to do and that makes the pricing structure quite complicated as there are a number of options to combine activities that reduces the overall costs. The main activity is the Parcours Aventures which has you climbing through the trees on a series of zip wires and climbing obstacles ad for an adult this costs 18 euro and for children the price ranges from 16 euro to 11 euro dependant upon age. Paint balling costs a flat 19 euro for 100 balls with additional batches of 100 balls costing 6 euro and you can play for as long as you have ammo. However a combination ticket for both will cost 29 euro which represents an 8 euro saving.
The great thing about this park in my opinion is the range of activities available and whilst it is fair to say that it is aimed at the more outward bound orientated teen and above market there are enough activities available to suit the whole family as there are plenty of inflatables and pony trekking for the younger family members who do not have a head for heights or are too young for the paint balling.
The Parcours Aventures was the main reason for our visit and it is really well set out. When you arrive and have paid for what you want to do the first thing to do is to get kitted out in your harness which can be a bit of a performance as you wrap yourself in something that would get a bondage enthusiast all hot and bothered. You are then divided up into groups depending on whether you speak French or English for your safety briefing before being taken over to the beginner course for some practice. I found the briefing very easy to follow and delivered in perfect English however just in case you forget anything all of the obstacles have some basic visual instructions on them instructing you on how to tackle the obstacle and how you should clip yourself on to the wires. All of the courses through the trees are colour coded and graded according to difficulty with age restrictions on them and also an indication of the time they take. This is important as each session is two hours long and you are able to judge whether you have enough time for a course.
There is a great deal of variety and the top level courses are certainly only for those with a lot of experience as you are very high up and they have a great deal of technical difficulty; for example you take part in long rope swings into cargo nets that you have to grab, miss the net and you will be suspended from your harness with someone blowing one of the emergency whistles attached to all the trees to summon assistance much to your embarrassment. There are a number of zip wires which are great fun although I did find stopping a bit of a problem and the image of my body leaving an impression on a tree was never far from my mind. Some off the rope crossings are quite nerve wracking even if you know that you are securely clipped on and you definitely need to have a head for heights, good balance and body strength if you tackle any course seen to be suitable for those over nine years of age.
For the really intrepid and experienced it is possible to tackle the Noir and Super Noir courses in the dark with only a head mounted torch to illuminate your assault on the course, it looks great fun but also something none of our group were ready for.
The paint balling arena is equally safety conscious and I must say that compared with my experiences in the UK you did get a lot more protective gear. As well as a full face mask with integrated goggles you also got a padded chest and back protector which you wore over your t-shirt and a neck protector as well. The only down side was that instead of getting overalls you were given either a white of blue paper jump suit that resembled those worn by forensic investigators. White is not the best colour to wear for a sport where concealment and surprise are a factor however they certainly show up when you are hit and therefore it is not wise to wear any nice clothes as the paint will stain through to your clothes however it will wash out.
On the point of clothes I would recommend having a change of clothes as you do get very sweaty running around like a madman especially with the mask and goggles on.
The guns are all fitted with a safety catch and once again the briefing was well delivered and covered everything.
The various assault areas are well set out with plenty of both natural and man-made cover such as oil drums, huts and elevated firing positions from which to shoot from and dependant on the size of your group the arenas vary in size also. There were only four of us playing and even the smallest arena provided plenty of room to play in and could easily have accommodated five a side.
This is the area most suited to younger children however there is also plenty to do for older kids and adults alike. Basically it is full of a variety of inflatables such as bouncy castles, slides and assault courses as well as some quite original ones like an inflatable bucking bronco operated by those on the outside pulling a series of ropes. There are also a number of small carousel rides and a tree house to explore for the younger visitor.
For those with younger children you do have to supervise them as some of the time older kids can get a bit boisterous on the inflatables and at times I was amazed there were not more tears. For the older kids there is a water slide and also a full sized bar football arena where you are strapped to one of the poles running across the arena.
Additional activities that attract one off payments are the pony trekking which seemed to be very popular with ponies varying in size and helmets provided for everyone.
There was also an extreme reverse maxi bungee which saw people rising to heights of about 22 metre and looked to break any number of health and safety regulations as this height was achieved by the operator hanging on to one of the bungee ropes with you as he bounced up and down to use your combined weight to get some momentum before he let go launching you up into the air and leaving the contents of your stomach on the ground and any thoughts you may of harboured of keeping cool long forgotten as you screamed your head off. Great fun and well worth the extra 7 euros.
Parking is free and there is plenty of it however it did get noticeably busier in the afternoon.
There is a café on site which serves a range of reasonably priced meals from quick snacks to a three course offering including steak-hache or chicken with pasta and the prices were very reasonable with a main course costing about 10 euro.
The only real area that let the park down was that the toilets were a little rustic in the form of large porta-loo type constructions however they were pretty clean but could have done with a bit of attention towards the end of the day.
Certainly if you find yourself in the this area of France and you are looking for a bit of adventure then I would recommend Indian Adventure as a great place to visit especially if you have quite active teenagers, after all with the current nanny state telling us how to raise our kids who knows when it will seen as illegal to shoot the little darlings.