Thursday, 8 August 2013

Parc Asterix...

Kerry and I love Theme Parks...

If there's ever a chance to go to our local theme park, Thorpe Park in Surrey,  we are there. We even seriously considered buying a season pass at one point.

I'd done a little research on google and found some interesting places dotted around France. Futuristic science type setups, numerous water parks and of course Disneyland Paris.

It was only last week when Dad mentioned he had gone straight through Paris, causing havoc on the 'Periferique' that I remembered Paris' other themed world, Parc Asterix.

Entrance road at Parc Asterix
After a few very long days driving up the 'Autoroute de Soleil' from South to North we finally pulled in to the parc. Not before having a tour of Charles de Gaule airport and its spectacularly confusing one way systems.
Pulling in to the car park of the onsite hotel, we hunkered down to an evening reading books and listening to the last riders on the attractions. Screaming and hollering as they embraced the G's! Tomorrow that would be us!!

Getting in was a touch more expensive than I'd thought. There was an offer on the French website that said under 25's got in half price. That's only if you order it online though and we had to stump up the full 40 Euro's each. :(

Asterix atop the mountain at the middle of the park
It was well worth it once inside. The park is based on Asterix and Obelix, two cartoon characters that I remember watching as a kid. As per the cartoon where the characters travel around the world and through time to ancient civilizations, the park was split up in to Egyptian, Roman and Greek as well as Asterix's native caveman like village and a sort of steampunk section with mad inventions.

We ran around the park all day like little kids again. Every big ride was conquered at least once and there were some interesting rides from individual manufacturers and the main players including a new coaster by Bollinger and Mabillard called Ozlris.

The map had a timetable on the back for a range of performances, both spontaneous street performances and more tradition stage affairs. We took time out of running round like headless chickens and waiting in line for the Roman rendition of the call to arms. Once inside the Colosseum shaped and themed auditorium the show quickly started. Whilst the speaking parts were all in French it wasn't hard to get the jist of of the action. It was a mix of slapstick comedy mixed with some very good gymnastics and then later flying around on wires as if free falling from an airplane.

Massive looper called Gouduriiix
Kerry was desperate to see the on-site dolphin show. This can get us in to a touchy subject. We have both watched the 2010 Best Documentary Award winning documentary 'The Cove' on more than one occasion. Each time we are shocked and disturbed by the portrayal of mass Dolphin slaughter and capture around a particular cove in Taiji, Japan. Anyone who hasn't seen it, should. It really is a good film and sheds light on some wrong doings by both local fishermen as well as massive corruption and cohesion between states and countries at Government level.

Consequently I am reluctant to support an industry on which my opinion can be swayed in just an hour and a half film. I have seen these shows. I have watched the original 'Shamu' the killer whale in America, jump and splash the audience. I was very young then, and yes it was spectacular. But I am older now and have read about her being withdrawn from performances after grabbing and refusing to let go of a female performers leg. I don't believe these animals can be happy in these environments, even after every consideration by the keepers is made. Let alone the terrible capture process.

But Kerry hasn't before seen these shows and was, rightly, intrigued by its content. We watched the show and I'm not sure Kerry was too amazed. I'm sure she will write about it over at her blog.

Obelix actor larking around
The best show by far was inside another big concert type hall that faced a huuuge Hollywood style harbour scene. There was ambient noise playing of seagulls and other sounds associated with docks. One guy strolled around with a painters ladder and bucket whistling. This was all as the audience were filling in to their seats, but once the last had sat down the scene started to unravel in to an elaborate story of 3 robbers plight to steal the Mona Lisa from the local constabulary in 1920's France. The story had no speaking part and the action was amazing, incorporating motorcycles, classic cars, explosions, high wire acrobatics and slapstick humor that pleases everyone of the audience.

We were utterly knackered at the end of the day. Parc Asterix is a must see if your anywhere near the North-East of Paris. It's well worth the money. I think what makes Parc Asterix what it is is the themeing. It is everywhere, and so immersive. Everything is thought about, music, actors, buildings ... everything.

Go ... It's good 

Funky themeing

A bit different to the French castles we are used to....!

Big foot wasn't happy when she was woken up

Trying to explain to Asterix I can't speak French

The blokes were straining

Harbour show

Villains being villainous 
Skydiving Romans! 

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