Just outside of Paris is one of Europe’s biggest regional parks: Parc Astérix! While the destination comes from an ambition to build a major park in Paris before Disney could come in and do it, the 1989 theme park is very much different than Disney and offers some fun alternative themes and experiences. Do you still want to go for a resort visit? Parc Astérix has you covered with several onsite resort hotels!
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We’ll start with some more background to the park. Parc Astérix is a seasonal theme park resort themed after the popular European comics characters from Astérix. This comic book series originates in France and discusses Gaullish warriors and their fight against the upcoming Roman Republic. Many of the series’ characters and stories are inspiration for the themes found around the park and on attractions. The resort is part of the Compagnie des Alpes portfolio, theme park fans may know the company for operating Walibi Belgium, Walibi Holland, Futuroscope and other European destinations. The park’s location is close to the Charles de Gaulle International Airport – and only 20 miles from Disneyland Paris –and can easily be tagged on to a trip to Paris.
Let’s dive into our visit and what attractions the park has to offer. We opted to buy Filotomatix, the park’s front-of-the-line service. We figured with the crowds and the large lineup of attractions, this would grant us the opportunity to ride at least every major ride once and then focus on some rerides of our favorite attractions. Please note that they only accept pre-purchased reservations or cash transactions for this. Please also note you need very good internet to use the park’s app as it is digital, however, you may opt for a wristband version for a $20 refundable deposit. – Upon arrival we were greeted by Astérix sitting on a giant rock in the distance. That rock happens to also be where the Grand Splatch shoot the chute runs through.
Grand Splatch is a classic shoot the chute type ride, but unlike the ones you’ll see all over the World, it’s very lengthy and features several drops. The ride takes you into the rockwork and around a set of fountains, water effects and landscaping on the way to the final drop that shares a lagoon with the park’s MACK Rides Bobsled Coaster. You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Trace du Hourra is said MACK Rides Bobsled Coaster. The custom coaster is 900 meters long and has some of the World’s most impressive operations. During our visit the coaster ran 5 trains simultaneously, meaning there were frequently multiple trains on the lift hill at the same time. The ride is famous for its wonderful pacing and intense helices. The first drop into a set of helices is simply spectacular. This is also the only coaster of its kind to not be white, and that’s because it’s themed to the cave man that (according to the comics) learned to walk and ran down a hill celebrating. This is quite literally why it’s called Trace du Hourra, aka Trail of Hurray. The ride’s queue navigates around the second half of the ride, which includes tunnels bridges and rockwork that also interact with the coaster. It’s one of the park’s most popular attractions, and for a good reason.
I can’t go to a major European park and not sit myself down for a nice espresso and pastries, Parc Astérix was no exception. For lunch we ventured to a Masters Chef sponsored restaurant overlooking Goudurix and had one of (if not THE) best meals of the trip. I had a tomato based quinoa dish with fried vegetables. The real star (of course, it’s France) was the next array of pastries and my never ending need for espresso. You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
While at this point I feel every European park has a taste for unusual themes, Parc Astérix is home to a ton. Near the old Parisian themed area of the park is a steampunk themed White Water West raftslide called L’Oxygenarium, a highly popular attraction hidden in the woods. While none of these are ever THAT long (unless they’re the crazy new ones found all over China) with the Filotomatix we didn’t have to wait to get on, so that was nice. You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Hopping clear across the park to the Roman/Grecian themed area of the park we find Le Vol D’Icare, a unique Zierer Hornet Coaster perfect for families. While the ride is brake-run city and not very long, it’s rather strange and it looks beautiful. We really enjoyed our rides on this coaster.
This side of the park is breathtaking and all of the flat rides found here have a major presence. The flying carpet and Disk-O are some of most beautiful versions of their respective product lines.
Pégase Express is the park’s newest coaster and is a lengthy updated version of Dollywood’s Firechaser Express. This ride fixed some of the oddities of the original and added some length. The coaster is themed to a train that takes you from Greece to the Roman Empire and the coaster’s layout takes you all the way alongside the rapids ride and back. For a family coaster there are actually quite some forces on this ride. Mid-ride the coaster switches directions with help of a show scene and finishes its course backwards. While we didn’t have much time at the end of the day, we prioritized a reride because it was that good! You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Tonnerre de Zeus is the park’s legendary wooden coaster and at 1,232.60m it’s one of the longer wooden coasters around. Tonnerre de Zeus runs incredibly smooth, though it is a little slower than in previous years. The ride will undergo a redesign that will alter the layout and introduce Timberliner trains in 2022 cleverly named Tonnerre Deux Zeus, which Deux means Two in French. You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Right in between Tonnerre de Zeus and Goudurix is the park’s unique Sky Bar. This floorless bar slowly rotates up to the top of the tower for a 10 minute rotating view of the park. The concept is awesome. You order your drink on your way in, then you sit at the table of whatever bar session you’ve been given. When they are about to board the Sky Bar, your drink is being made and it’s handed to you. Then you head to the platform and strap in. You enjoy your drink while enjoying the views of the rolling hills around you, and roller coasters around you of course. Definitely a can’t-miss attraction at the park! You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Like any well-balanced park, Parc Astérix is also home to a variety of other theme park staples such as a log flume, wave swinger, and a European classic: garden boats. (Or whatever they’re truly called, because they generally serve the sole purpose of showing off gardens). You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Onto one of my absolute favorites: Goudurix. Is this a favorite among most enthusiasts? Probably not. Could it use some new MK1212 trains like nearby Hyperspace Mountain and its smaller sibling Blue Hawk in Georgia? Definitely. Nonetheless, this ride deserves a shoutout for its absolute ferociousness. It may be the wildest classic looping coaster around. As a massive Viper (Six Flags Magic Mountain) fan, I am particularly tickled that this Dutch-manufactured French counterpart opened in 1989, a year before Viper, but feels so much more advanced. The transitions are clean, the elements flow, and the overall ride has some of THE best pacing around.
Goudurix opened with the park in 1989 and is one of the country’s most legendary coasters. Despite there being more notable coasters in the park, like Tonnerre de Zeus and OzIris, the lines for Goudurix will still get quite long. The coaster’s layout features a nice straight drop that leads directly into a unique Butterfly element that features four sharp 45-degree rotations throughout the element, as well as a very sharp valley that pulls some insane positive Gs. This one-of-a-kind element is followed up with a giant Batwing element over the water, then a glass smooth Vertical Loop. After the loop the train has a nice floater moment before swooping into a rapid-paced Double Corkscrew. The ride’s finale is a minimally banked fast waving helix with some strong lateral Gs before slamming into the brakes. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that there is no mid-course brake run and Goudurix doesn’t slow down in pacing at any point. It is absolutely ferocious. Enjoy some more pictures of this photogenic fav below. You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Last but not least is the park’s custom B&M Inverted Coaster: OzIris. This coaster comes from a very special window of time where B&M was incredibly busy with everything not related to the Invert and they built this Inverted Coaster for the park. This meant that it lives a few years ahead of Black Mamba at Phantasialand while also being on a similar scale. Needless to say, the general consensus is true, OzIris is an absolute dream coaster. From a nice queue and station to a gorgeous entry plaza and integration with the surrounding infrastructure, this ride has it all. Most importantly, the layout is over the top awesome.
On OzIris you can sense a modern edge, especially the way the coaster flows. Think of the lack of a pre-drop, the more audacious banking of the first Zero-G-Roll and the absolute weightlessness on the second Zero-G-Roll. While it has the snappiness of a Batman clone, it feels much newer – but also full of character. The coaster starts with a sharp 40m drop into a Dive Loop. An overbanked turn rapidly throws you into the ride’s Vertical Loop that is followed by a slope down to create distance for the next element: an Immelman. Throw in another sharp overbanked turn into an under ground tunnel featuring water effects and into a big stretched out Zero-G-Roll! A helix up deposits the train into a drop that is followed with a snappy smaller Zero-G-Roll. Then the ride’s signature low-to-the-ground helix follows. There’s a quick drop towards the ground and back up into the brake to finish off the ride on a high note. Simply a brilliant 1km of acrobatics. You can click on each image and swipe to take a closer look!
Why I feel the urge to share my top three coasters at the park, I don’t really know, but here it is anyways: My top three is a combination of Goudurix, OzIris and Trace du Hourra. All three are very particular coasters that just scream “Parc Astérix” to me while also being some of the best in their respective ride production lines.
We had a great time at the park and for any coaster enthusiast there are some very notable coasters that are worth the pilgrimage to the park. For now, wait ’til perhaps 2023 with making the trek to France as the Tonnerre Deux Zeus is coming in 2022 and Toutatis, the park’s 51m tall, 1km+ long Intamin Launch Coaster is coming in 2023!