Thanks to my friend Pascal, 2 Americans (myself included), a Venezuelan, and a Croatian got to experience a little bit of French culture in an entirely different way last Friday – a trip to Parc Asterix. While signs and maps for Euro Disney are plastered everywhere around Paris, Parc Asterix is very much a theme park catered to the French. It’s definitely not as cheery, rosy as Disney, nor are they afraid to show a little wear and tear around the edges. Every step and ambient sound isn’t planned to a science, but in that respect we found it very refreshing, and very French (et bien sur tous est en francais). (It was also very French in the fact that when standing in lines, as with at the post office, personal space is pretty much ignored).
My favorite part was the French sense of humor, best exhibited in the image above from the carousel – yes, you can literally sit in the ass of Obelix!
The park is very much geared towards adults, over kids, although is fun for the whole family. All I know is that when it came to the haunted house we were terrified as 20-somethings (rules against personal space and touching [hello chainsaw man!] and guide lights didn’t really exist here), but for all we know an 8 year old would have been fine with it.The biggest perk on going on a week day (note: the park is not always open on weekdays, so consult the schedule before going; it also doesn’t open until 10am) and off/cooler season is that we hardly had to wait in lines. We still had to wait about 30 minutes for Goulduriiix, but it was the perfect time for us to digest before going upside down 5 times (a first for me, and it was completely awesome).
Of course the downside for going in the off-season is that it was way to cold for water-rides, except for the boat tour. Next visit we’re totally bringing ponchos so we can stay dry!
It only seemed appropriate that we visited the park on a cold, grey (aka typically Parisian) day. In a way it helped transport us back to the days of the Gauls and Roman conquests and put us in place of Asterix and Obelix. It also made the wood-burning “heat lamps” extra awesome.
Once in the park the food was surprisingly affordable and good (it is France after all), but the real cost (beyond the tickets) is getting there. To get there take the RER B to Charles de Gaulle 1 (note: they never tell you to get off at the 1st airport stop) for 17,50E roundtrip, followed by a 7,50E bus ride (RT) to the park. It takes about an hour, hour and a half from central Paris.Currently, in honor of the 50th Anniversary (20th for the park) of Asterix and Obelix, there are all sorts of celebrations happening around the city. A scavenger hunt of sorts is happening across Paris now, with installations at various monuments, honoring the dynamic duo (Place de Concorde and the Louvre [metro] pictured below).
For many more adventures in Parc Asterix, click HERE!