“Powerful competition for Disneyland Paris”
Parc Astérix, a.k.a. the theme park we always see while driving to Disneyland. It opened in 1989 and it can be found approximately 35 kilometres north of Paris, close to the city’s main airport. Parc Astérix’ international popularity may seem limited, but the park is often filled to the brim during weekends and vacation periods. With 7 roller coasters, 4 water rides, extensive entertainment options and 3 on-site hotels, Parc Astérix manages to attract over 2.000.000 guests annually. Searching for a nice way to add some thrills to your Paris getaway? Or are you getting tired of visiting Disneyland Paris for the 20th time? Then definitely consider Parc Astérix as an alternative.
Parc Astérix’ most beautiful area is the Egyptian-themed land, which is home to the wonderful OzIris. Two minutes full of g-forces and B&M goodness, that’s what OzIris is all about. This coaster is a surprisingly intense combination of powerful inversions and curves. Besides, OzIris’ layout features some unexpected elements and high speeds are maintained until the final brake run. Only one minor downside should be mentioned: there’s a constant rattle which is rather unusual for a relatively young B&M. It’s not overly bothersome, but some of the older inverted coasters are considerably smoother than this one. Nevertheless, OzIris is still my favourite French roller coaster and it may even be in my European top ten.
Another park icon was opened in 1997. It was called Tonnerre De Zeus and it was one of the few remaining CCI wooden coasters in Europe. Tonnerre De Zeus was one of the company’s absolute masterpieces: it’s got a total length of over 1,200 metres, it’s 30 metres tall and it reaches speeds of up to 85 km/h. I remembered it as a rough and horrible ride from my previous visits, but my most recent experiences were a lot better. Thanks to huge re-trackings in the past few years, Tonnerre De Zeus had become just as awesome as it was during its early years. It still had that intense and shaky feeling every wooden coaster needs, but it was enjoyable. In 2022, a new version of the ride (called Tonnerre 2 Zeus) premiered at Parc Astérix, but I haven’t been able to ride it yet. To be continued soon.
OzIris and Tonnerre De Zeus are the eye-catchers, but Pégase Express delivers just as much fun as its two famous brothers. Pégase Express can be considered as the European version of Dollywood’s Firechaser Express and it delivers just as much fun. The ride could use a little more theming, but the station and queue are simply stunning. It’s full of hilarious details and references to trains, so queueing for Pégase Express shouldn’t be too annoying.
And then there’s Goudurix. Warning: don’t be fooled by this roller coaster’s wonderful lakeside location. It looks great, but the ride is downright horrible. Goudurix belongs to the one percent roughest coasters I’ve ever ridden. Especially its first element is painful as hell. Roller Coaster Database defines this element as a Butterfly, but that sounds way too cute. By the way… the rest of the layout doesn’t perform much better, so definitely skip this ride if you want to avoid headaches.
The last noteworthy roller coaster is called La Trace du Hourra. This is one of the largest Mack Bobsled Coasters in the world. It’s 900 metres long and 31 metres tall, which is very impressive for this coaster type. Also impressive: the ride’s capacity. Bobsled coasters aren’t known for their huge throughput, but Trace du Hourra’s five trains guarantee a smoothly moving queue. Overall, this is an excellent family coaster and the theming is (as you’d expect from Parc Astérix) once again unique. The funny thing is that it’s themed to prehistorical caves and mammoths instead of Olympic bobsleighs. Nice touch.
Parc Astérix has a lot of attractions for the whole family. The park offers a few flat rides (especially the Disk’o Coaster in the Greek area is exceptionally themed) and an elaborately themed mad house. Besides, the park offers an attraction type that’s clearly missing at the nearby Disneyland Paris: water rides. Parc Astérix has a total of four water rides and they all perform well. I can certainly recommend a ride on Menhir Express during the hottest days of summer. This log flume is, as its name suggests, themed to menhirs and the layout is everything but ordinary. There’s a fair chance of getting soaked, so this might not be the ideal attraction for chilly days.
Parc Astérix is known for its original theming. That’s not only noticeable in the park, but also in the resort hotels. The newest hotel is called Les Quais de Lutèce and it’s shaped as ancient Paris. With this new hotel, Parc Astérix proves that it’s playing with the big boys nowadays. Phantasialand and Europa-Park have stunning resort hotels, but Les Quais de Lutèce is on the same level. We obviously checked the room, but we also paid a visit to the terrace of the hotel’s cocktail bar. And I must say that the drinks were delicious and correctly priced. Approved by Glenn!
WORTH A VISIT?
I used to wonder how a theme park like Parc Astérix managed to survive. It is in direct proximity to Disneyland Paris and the park isn’t that well known to the international audience. However, Parc Astérix is definitely worth visiting and the French seem to love this place. It’s easy to tell why: the park offers a world-class B&M and a sensational classic wooden coaster, they have a ton of cool water rides and there are quite a few shows. Furthermore, the park and its hotels are designed cleverly and if you look closely, you’ll find a lot of hilarious details. The park would definitely benefit from another major coaster (an Intamin Blitz Coaster is planned for 2023, yay!), a new dark ride or a thrilling flat ride, but the current ride selection feels very complete nevertheless. Parc Astérix is undoubtedly one of my favourite European theme parks.
LA GRÈCE ANTIQUE
À TRAVERS LE TEMPS
Did you ever get the chance to visit this wonderful French theme park? Would you rather pay a visit to Disneyland Paris or Parc Astérix? And would you consider staying at one of the resort’s hotels? Share your opinion in the comments section at the bottom of this page.