A 30min drive north of Metz lies Amnéville, an easy-to-overlook town off the A31 motorway. But, just outside, in the Parc Amnéville-Les-Thermes, there is a gigantic tourist site with a conglomeration of attractions, cinemas, restaurants, spas and hotels which you expect to see in North America rather than Europe. There are three large spas, Centre Thermal St Eloy (with a more therapeutic-medical orientation), Waterland (fun for the family) and Villa Pompéi (offering massage and beauty treatments), which have been built over natural thermal springs; sports arenas that include the largest indoor ski slope in Europe, an 18-hole golf and mini-golf course, a “Fitnessium”, an ice-skating rink and an Olympic-size swimming pool. There’s also an IMAX cinema, a bowling alley, a dinosaur exhibition, a discotheque and a live venue – the list is endless. But the main attraction is the zoo – one of the largest in France. You need a car to get there – and to move around the site. The zoo holds a large number of rare species; many of them are photogenic mammals, such as snow leopards, Siberian tigers, dwarf hippos, a big number of monkey species and, since 2012, a family of very active gorillas. Feeding of animals takes place several times a day; the wolf-pack feed is the biggest draw.
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