Parc Astérix


Parc Astérix


Parc Astérix is a theme amusement park in France, based on the comic book series Asterix by Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny. With more than two million visitors yearly, Parc Astérix is the country's second biggest theme park after Disneyland Paris and its 14 million annual visitors.

It is especially well known in France for its large variety of roller coasters; it has begun incorporating rides and themes from historic cultures such as the Gauls, the Romans, Ancient Greece and recently Ancient Egypt, but always in the visual style of the stories. It is situated approximately 35 km (22 mi) north of Paris, 32 km (20 mi) from Disneyland Paris and 20 km (12 mi) from the historic Château de Chantilly, in the commune of Plailly, in the department of Oise. Opened in 1989, the park is operated by Compagnie des Alpes.

History

Conception and inauguration

Largely funded by the Barclays financial company, with 20 other investors including Compagnie Générale des Eaux, the Havas group, Union des Assurances de Paris and the Picardy region, the park cost 850 million French francs to build at the time of its creation, which generated 1,200 jobs. The location was chosen due to the transport network: a private interchange connects it with the nearby A1 autoroute and a bus shuttle service connects it with Paris Métro Line 7. Jack Lang, then Minister of Culture, inaugurated the park on 30 April 1989 after two years of work.

Recent developments

The opening of Disneyland Paris in 1992 impacted greatly on Parc Astérix, as attendance fell by 30% and revenue by 19%. In 1997, Parc Astérix recorded 1.9 million visitors. In 1999, it recorded 2 million visitors. In October 2005, Parc Astérix ran La Fête des Druides ("The Festival of the Druids"), as a way to "thumbing their noses" at Halloween. In 2007, Parc Astérix opened for the first time in its history during the Christmas holidays. In 2009, for the 20th anniversary of the park, it opened during the weekends in September and October and ran a Halloween event called Peur sur le parc Astérix ("Fear at Parc Astérix"). In November 2018, it was announced that the park would be building a new multilaunch roller coaster manufactured by Intamin, to be opened in 2023.

Attractions

There are many attractions and shows including:

  • Tonnerre de Zeus, a large wooden roller coaster, built by Custom Coasters International (1997);
  • Goudurix, a large steel multi-looping coaster, built by Vekoma (1989);
  • Trace du Hourra, a 900 metre bobsled roller coaster, with cars that reach 80 km/h (2001);
  • Romus et Rapidus, a river rafting ride (1989);
  • OzIris, an inverted roller coaster, built by Bolliger & Mabillard (2012);
  • Attention Menhir, a 4D cinema show (2019);
  • L'Oxygénarium, spinning rapids: large, twisting water slide with round inflatable dinghies (1999);
  • La Galère, a swinging ship (1989);
  • Menhir Express, a Menhir-themed log flume ride with a 13 metre high final drop (1995);
  • Grand Splatch, Shoot the Chute (1989);
  • Le Défi de César, a mad house (2008);
  • Le Delphinarium, one of the largest dolphin enclosures in Europe;
  • Pégase Express, a steel roller coaster that reverses the ride direction after a pause halfway through the ride, built by Gerstlauer (2017).

Incidents

  • In July 2004, an 11-year-old boy was hit by lightning at the foot of the Tonnerre de Zeus (Zeus' Thunder). The park had continued operating despite weather warnings.
  • On 5 July 2006, a 6-year-old Belgian child drowned on the ride La Descente du Styx, sucked in by the water pumps used to create the flow in the bottom of the ride's canal. The ride underwent various security measures; it was renamed to Romus et Rapidus in order to cast off the bad memory and unfortunate implications.

See also

  • Incidents at European amusement parks

References

External links

  • Parc Astérix official website (some parts require Adobe Flash. In French, with some English translations)
  • Parc Astérix on rcdb.com

Parc Astérix


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