Chapter 2: All Gaul Is Divided into Three Parts, All of Them Wacky—Parc Asterix
I learned three valuable history lessons at TPR’s first “official” park of the Europe trip (Monday, June 23, 2008):
1. Caesar and his vaunted Roman legions were even more inept than Colonel Klink and Sgt. Schultz.
2. The gods of ancient Rome (who were stolen from the gods of ancient Greece—let’s be honest here) liked “exciting” underpants.
3. Cavemen invented the bobsled.
Yes, I learned so much about the ancient world at Parc Asterix, and had a great time learning it. The inspiration for the place is an old French comic strip about the exploits of Asterix, a little Gaul warrior with a handlebar moustache and horned helmet, and his big, rotund buddy, who I think is named Menhir. Anyway, they both possess superpowers and spend most of their time harassing and thrashing Emperor Caesar’s invading legions.
This quirky, very nicely themed park (on a par with the Busch parks) got the trip off to a great start with ERT on its two best coasters. Here they are, from best to worst:
Tonnere de Zeus—
This is a very good woodie, with a twisty layout and an out-of-control feeling (at least the day that we were there). There’s plenty of airtime, and despite a rough patch here and there, it’s very re-rideable. I liked it a lot.
Trace du Hourra—
This is, as many have said, the only Mack Bobsled that isn’t themed to be a “bobsled.” It’s a coaster as conceived by a bunch of bored cavemen, and I think it’s the biggest, tallest, and best of the Mack Bobsleds. Lots of fun as it whips around those turns and through those helices.
Le Vol D’Icare—
A fun family coaster with winged cars themed to the story of Icarus (the boy who flew too close to the sun). It brakes a bit hard, so be careful lest you crack open your kneecaps.
Family mine-train coaster that’s OK for what it is.
Is this really the worst steel coaster ever, as stated in the annual Hawker poll? Well, there are a few SLCs that would give it a run for its money, but this uncomfortable, rough, Vekoma looper and twister is definitely in the bottom five.
La Ronde des Rondins—
Wee coaster for kiddies and credit whores only.
Parc Asterix has a good mix of other attractions. Le Defi de Cesar
is an OK madhouse with a great preshow, which gives us insight into how desperate the Romans were to take out Asterix. (Hey, they drafted TPR members to join their legions—that’s really scraping the bottom of the barrel.) Transdemonium
is one wacked-out dark ride (with some coasterish moments) about evil demon puppets. The Menhir Express
is a very good flume ride that will leave you soaked. L’Oxygenarium
is a spinning raft ride with a strange “Jules Verne” look that won’t soak you at all. There’s also a boat ride through the world of Asterix, which involves lots of Romans getting beaten up.
Here’s a look at Parc Asterix.