Legend'aire children's park, Aix en ProvenceYou're in Provence with the children, and the weather is meant to be fabulous. But the rain is pouring or the Mistral is howling: what to do?

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Fortunately, there are several indoor play centres in Southern Provence, based on the Center Parcs concept popular in Northern Europe.

The founders of Legend'aire, Brigitte Leonardi and Domenico Basciano, were told they were mad to transplant the idea to the sunny South.

But Provence, too, has its fair share of bad weather and the park has proved a roaring success since it opened in 2009.

Similar parks in the region include Montopoto in Saint Cannet near Aix, which claims to be the largest of its kind in France, a smaller play centre, Urban Kids, in Venelles also just outside Aix and LudiQ'Land in Marseille.

Like these other parks, Legend'aire is slightly out of the city centre. It's located in a giant hangar in the industrial zone of Les Milles a short drive away from Aix, and not much further from Marseille and is, theoretically, accessible by bus from Aix (see below) if you don't have a car.

Legend'aire children's park, Aix en ProvenceThe 2,600 square metre / 28,000 square foot space offers a large range of games and activities aimed at children aged from one to 12.

Among the attractions on offer are trampolining, tobogganing, a ball pool (pictured) go-karts and table football. Workshops are organised during school holidays.

Originally, there were seating areas for families wishing to bring their own picnic, but this is no longer permitted - it seems to be the rule at a number of such parks, whether to boost profits at their own food outlets or to reduce mess and litter. Whatever the case, a bar at Legend'aire serves drinks and light snacks.

Certain rooms based on different themes (dinosaurs, magic castles, etc.) can be booked for a birthday party, with cake, piñata, snacks, drinks, sweets and access to the park, though Legend'aire doesn't provide supervision or entertainers.

Parents can join in certain games or take refuge in a "Zen" zone that's glassed-in (so as to keep an eye on proceedings) but also mercifully sound-proofed and equipped with wi-fi and magazines.

Legend'aire can get very busy (and noisy), so go in the morning if you want to beat the crowds, especially if you have younger children, as the older kids tend to take over the place in the afternoons.

Birthday party at LegendaireAdmissions are limited, and at busy periods you will have to queue, or even be turned away altogether. Note: anyone, small or big, wishing to use the equipment must wear socks.

Where: rue Frères Perret, 13090 Aix en Provence. Tel (+33) 4 42 38 94 85. Website for Legend'aire (in French only).

How to get there:

From Aix by car, take the A51 motorway towards Les Milles/ Aix TGV, exit 3 (Bouc Bel Air), then take the third exit at the roundabout by the Total service station. Turn right just before Promocash and continue for 200 metres. It's a 20 minute drive.

From Aix by bus, take line 17 from La Rotonde and get off at Bessemer, by the Total service station. From there it's a five minute walk. The bus runs Mon-Sat only.

From Marseille, take the A51 motorway towards Aix en Provence, exit 3, then follow the signs to Pôle d'activités d'Aix en Provence.

Continue for several kilometres, then turn right by the Total service station. Turn right again just before Promocash and continue for 200 metres. It's a 30 minute drive.

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