Disney might be the best place to realise your fairytale dreams, but thrills can be sought more authentically elsewhere, such as in Parc Asterix. Based on a well-loved French comic series, this park has a passion for propagating the historic legacy of France, albeit with an adrenaline-fuelled and slightly fictionalised disguise.
Parc Asterix, located only 22 miles north of central Paris, is based on the popular comic book series Asterix. The series follows the trials and tribulations of a village in Bretagne that fiercely resists the Roman invasion; and French adults, elders and children alike have been swooning over these magazines since they started printing in 1959.
It’s the most famous French comic series, and so already, based just on its thematic conception, this park is authentically rooted in popular French culture. Unlike Disneyland Paris, for example, that passes Mickey Mouse off as its own.
All the rides in this park transform this popular comic series into real-life attractions, with creative genius at every turn. It’s not just about selling tickets to tourists, it’s about continuing the Asterix legacy France is so proud of.
There are 13 Asterix-inspired attractions specifically geared towards children, 20 to be enjoyed as a family and seven adrenaline-fuelled rollercoasters for the most fearless daredevils. The first thing you’ll notice is that traditional music from Bretagne booms across the park to really conjure up the impression that you’re immersed in this comic series.
It’s been completely revamped for the 2018 season with a host of impressive additions that travellers can discover for the first time. It’s not just a theme park, but also a show-park with dolphin shows, magic shows and historical shows depicting, for example, the Roman warriors fighting against the resisting Gaulois.
The park explores the historic legacy of France being the country of ‘Les Gauls’. If you speak a little French, you’ll notice some funny wordplay when you visit, such as calling the little ones ‘Les Petits Gaulois’ on the children rides (France used to be called La Gaule).
The fact that it teaches them about French history while they’re enjoying themselves pioneers a form of education in disguise. There are also Egyptian and Viking-themed rides exploring the legacy of a brutal past reimagined in this comic series where the French are the winners.
As well as the historical theme, inspired by the comic series, there are further clues that hint at this park’s unique authenticity. The very first thing you’ll notice is that the tourist map is printed in French only, which gives a good indication to the clientele. The locals tend to avoid the tourist-trap of Disneyland, heading for the more authentic Parc Asterix instead. Even hot dogs are served in baguettes, as a tribute to the national cuisine.
Not only is it worth a visit for its authenticity, but also for its practicality. It’s really easy to reach as it’s located only 22 miles north of central Paris with direct transport links (navettes from the Louvre are €20 each and elsewhere, Ouibus and Flixbus offer €5 one-way tickets).
It’s also a cheaper alternative to Disneyland (drinks from €2.60, food from €3) and less chaotic when you visit. There is noticeably less queuing for rides, though peak summer season can get busy. For adrenaline junkies who also love authenticity, it’s definitely worth the trip.