A day au Parc Astérix
Parc Astérix is a large theme park based on the adventures of the popular French comic book hero, Astérix the Gaul. Have you heard of it? Well, to tell you the truth, if it were not for GGiant's grand collection of Astérix hardbound comic books, I wouldn't know that "he" has been as popular as Lucky Luke and Tintin. Prior to this, I had never heard of it. Strange ... I used to spend hours hanging out at the National Bookstore when I was still in high school but I never came across any Astérix books. Ohh, maybe it's because I didn't go to any section other than Romance in this bookstore. In fact, I was a secret Mills and Boon addict. It's just that books like these weren't allowed in the house or my mother would confiscate them (tsk, tsk, there wasn't much going on in those books really, some heavy pettings at the most).
Oh, where was I? Ah, yes ... Astérix. For those who haven't heard of this comic book character, let me enlighten you a little about "him". Ok, Astérix the Gaul is the inspired creation of Renè Goscinny (he's also the renowned author of Lucky Luke and Iznogood) in collaboration with Albert Uderzo, his illustrator. Together in 1959 they set out to create a humorous character set in Roman Times. The Gauls, of course, were the people that inhabited France before the Roman invasion. Astérix, a defiant Gaul, for whom, surrender to the Romans was out of the question, no way! So, he would always ask Panoramix, the village's druid, to brew a magic potion that draws supernatural strength with which he can defeat the Romans, at times defying Julius Caesar. So, with the help of the magic potion, the village where Astérix lived wasn't conquered by the Romans. The story sounds simple but the realization of Goscinny and Uderzo was quite outstanding. It's not just a mere comic book am telling you, Astérix, together with his best friend Obélix will make your belly ache with laughter. From what I last heard, less than two hundred million copies of Astérix comic books had been sold. There were also several feature length films that had been made, remember Gérard Depardieu as Obélix?
Parc Astérix opened its doors in 1989. It is very French in nature and you can see features/aspects of French history and culture depicted throughout the park. It is located just off the A1 Autoroute, about 35 kms. north of Paris in the middle of a protected forest. The best thing is, it's only 10 minutes drive from where we live, cool, eh? There are around 30 rides to suit all ages, from gentle kids rides to a wooden gigantic roller coaster called Tonnerre de Zeus, it's about 30 meters high reaching a speed of up to 80 kilometers per hour, that makes it onto most lists of the best theme park rides in the world - absolutely not for the fainthearted! Definitely not for me, I almost threw up just after trying the Oxygenarium, a spinning 'rapids' ride in a large circular liferaft. It is one of the water rides and there are actually lots of them, that's why it is ideal to visit the park during not-so-cold days as getting soaking wet is also part of the fun and is also the reason why the park is open only from April to October, unlike the Disneyland which is open all year round. And if you want a break from the rides, there are also plenty of shows. Cléms favorite was the Dolphin show, well I don't know exactly what dolphins had to do with Astérix except that we had fun watching them! One day is not really enough to see and experience all these attractions and rides.
L'entrée de Parc Astérix
Le Vieux (The old) Paris
Les Chaises Volantes (The Flying Chairs)
Une maison Gauloise (A Gallic house)
Astérix, Clémentix et Obélix
Tired as we were, despite aching feet, we were happy at the end of the day. Le Parc Astérix was a thrill every minute with Gallic wit and charms, offering the ultimate fun-filled day out for everyone!