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An Intamin & The Best and Worst of Soquet – France – May 2023 {Day 3 - The Way Home & Summary}


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As some may have spotted in the Trip Planning forum – I’d been eyeing up a short whip through Northern France. Focus, for probably obvious reasons, was Parc Asterix, but there is some halfway notable stuff along the way too, so strung it out over a long weekend. Those plans got spotted by some others, and after a few logistical chats, it morphed from a solo trip into a car full - @Bentleya, @DelPiero and @chainedbanana came along for the ride(s)!

As ever, mostly just an excuse to post the photos.

Day 1 – The Way There
Part 1 – Parc Saint Paul

A very early start meeting at Ashford for an early train, but a seamless journey had us cruising down the motorway in France in no time. Pretty much the longest drive of the trip down to Parc Saint Paul, so it was nice to have that one out of the way.

Arriving at Parc Saint Paul gave us the first proper fizz of upcoming cred fun. An understated park entrance, but when all said and done quite a pleasant little approach.


They don’t open Wood Express until an hour or so after opening, so we planned to try to clear off the other bits and pieces before that to give us plenty of time to enjoy that ride. We made a hard left turn as we entered the park – let’s knock off the kiddie creds likely to get the worst queues (both at a family park AND right by the entrance.


Wasn’t a particularly good start, with the Big Apple stalling halfway through the layout during testing. Wild Train was next. Not going to set the world alight, but we actually laughed all the way round this. Gotta be worth something.


Generic spinning mouse and tragically small kiddie cred next, and we were making good time through the park without having to rush.



Back round to the entrance for what turned out to be the longest wait of the park. Long train, one ride-op, two lap cycle and lots of children is not conducive to a high throughput. Coaster was pleasant enough. Next!



Yes – we have the mental age of fourteen year olds.

Big Apple was open by this point, so a quick lap on that and with all that done it was time for the main event.


Mercifully there seemed to be little interest in the woodie as soon as it opened, so we were able to get a few walk-on laps of the coaster straight away.


And what a fantastic little coaster this is! The ride is so dynamic, deceptively fast, has some really excellent airtime moments, and has a very compact layout. I think by the end our preference was back row, but frankly this thing was great in every row. It’s a very impressive bit of hardware. Can’t help but look at coasters like this and think that it’s got to be something somewhere like Paultons has taken a look at – we can but hope!

By all accounts, everyone riding this – young, old, big or small – was absolutely loving it. There were some hilarious expressions going round for first time (or perhaps inexperienced) riders, but without a doubt everyone coming back into the station was beaming ear to ear. It was a fantastic reminder that you don’t need the biggest, the fastest, the scariest, the-whatever, ride in your park – you just need something that is objectively enjoyable. Bravo!



As a result of the park being quiet and them waiting to mostly fill trains before dispatch, pictures of the coaster going round were hard to come by.

We weren’t in any huge rush to leave the park (we had made better time through the rides and re-rides than we were expecting), so decided to mooch about a little bit. We tried their log flume, which was decent, the ghost house walkthrough thing, which was… alright, but before too long decided that we wanted another few laps on Wood Express before moving on.


Overall the park was very nice too. It’s small, but it’s very green and has a nice little charm to it. Reminiscent of Paultons in a lot of ways, really. Wood Express sits towards the back of the park with a relatively new dinosaur area, and it’s clear they’re pushing on to develop the park. The area towards the front entrance (the older area of the park) is markedly less polished, but even then it’s clean and quaint – no complaints.

Part 2 –Jardin d'Acclimatation

It was onwards into Paris for the next stop. We parked up nearby and made the short walk to the park. First impressions were good, lots of green and a pleasant atmosphere, albeit absolutely heaving. Thankfully, turns out this is one of those parks where there’s a cheap ‘non-rider’ type ticket, so the queues for the coasters were completely manageable (note: I did woefully little research on this park beforehand, so this was news to me).

We knew we’d be one coaster down in this park as they are in the process of replacing it, but unfortunately the park’s other Soquet was also down (in fact – it looked to be that the back car was in pieces and the train strapped/tethered to the track, not even a ”maybe it’ll open later” one). No pictures of the spiting creds.

Onto the main coaster as the park – Speed Rockets. This was a great little Gerstlauer bobsled with some fantastic pops of airtime and sideways hills. We particularly liked the double drop style first drop, as well the section between the first and second MCBR. I was reminded, once again, that this is the old coaster model Gerstlauer can consistently do well. They really should just sack off the rest of their portfolio at this point!




Next up was the mini spinning mouse, which was a bit different and felt nice and unique. Nothing spectacular, but it’s fun sometimes to get to ride something you’ve not done before – even if it’s small.

We did their dark shooter, which was a bit rubbish, and another lap on Speed Rockets, before calling it a day and setting our sights on the other side of Paris.

Part 3 – Foire du Trône

Didn’t bother moving the car and opted for the Metro instead – the Paris metro is simple and cheap, so by far the better option than moving the car.

We arrived at the already heaving fair and immediately set our sights on the coasters. We were expecting +5, though it quickly became clear (further proven by some Googling in a queue line later) that the toboggan had moved onto another fair already, so we were down to a +4. Thankfully (?), we found an unexpected 3 additional coasters so in the end were looking at a +7. Skipping over the fact that that was comprised of 2 Big Apples and some other kiddie thing. ;)


First up was the Jet Star. I always love these – they’re surprisingly intense both on and off ride, seem to have remained in decent shape (notwithstanding the employee acting as booster wheel on the brake run pushing the trains along with his feet). Good, clean, Schwarzkopf fun.


Along the way we rode a Galaxi (see many of the notes above about a well looked after coaster, surprisingly intense and great fun) and one of the spinniest-spinners I’ve ever done ( = disgusting). We’d not seen the biggest coaster in the park, King, operating so far, but just as we were heading round to that area of the park a train (with riders) climbed the lift hill. Excellent!


By far the biggest coaster at the park, we were automatically drawn to it. As we got our tickets and joined the queue we discovered it was actually a Soquet (note: see previous comment about woefully little research), and our hearts sank somewhat as we watch the train smash and crunch it’s way through every element.


Now – don’t get me wrong I love a bit of suffering from time to time. I’m a strong advocate for Type 2 Fun, but this was really pushing the limit. Suffice to say, I think this may hold the crown for the worst coaster I’ve ever ridden. I’ve never seen track shaping, train dynamics, uncomfortable seating, and a pain inducing layout like it! For the next three days we were all sore in our shoulders, or backs, or knees, or just all over, from this piece of junk. I urge you to skim through some POVs or offride videos to get a sense of how poorly engineered and horrible this thing is.

The only, ONLY, silver lining I can see if that I think I have now found the bottom of the barrel. It’s hard to imagine anything this substantial could ever be this bad. It’s literally only ever going to be up from here.

Absolute. Trash.


After that beating, we needed to wind down a little bit, so made a beeline for the smaller coasters throughout the park and something to eat. Nothing of any particular note here, other than some pretty decent kebabs for dinner and the stand-up pirate ship (which we decided not to do after the big kebab dinner- seemed like a recipe for disaster!).


All in all, it was a good evening at the fair. It was extremely busy – probably the densest crowds I can think of being in since pre-Covid – but the rides didn’t have any horrendous queues and the atmosphere was great. AND it was a +7. Great stuff!

We got the metro back across Paris, hopped in the car and headed for the hotel. We fancied something to drink once we got there, so after a bit of milling around the little village we ended up at a brand new (we guessed perhaps even opening night) Turkish/French bar. It was rather strange as we came in and were hurriedly made to shake hands with the owner (?), but the wine was decent and the vibe was nice. Wandered back to the hotel and had a couple of beers before we hit the sack. It'd been a long day – 20hrs with 3 parks and 15 new coasters – but we were in good spirits for Parc Asterix the next day.


Theme Park Superhero
Aww, I found King to be just on the right side of aggressive a couple years back, not overly rough. It just felt like carries way too much speed towards the end of the ride, that doesn't match the track profiling, and that's when things get really wild.

I'm guessing the powered Soquet at Jardin might have done you some damage too then. ;)


Staff member
Social Media Team
I found King to be just on the right side of aggressive a couple years back, not overly rough. It just felt like carries way too much speed towards the end of the ride, that doesn't match the track profiling, and that's when things get really wild.
Nah man. All the 'charm' was lost on this. It was a ****ing horror show. Perhaps @Bentleya, @DelPiero or @chainedbanana can back me up here. It wasn't just poorly shaped or paced, it was pure unadulterated carnage. I'm actually, as far as I can sometimes be a bit dramatic, quite up for a bit of brutality here and there, but this was boardering on unacceptable.

I'm guessing the powered Soquet at Jardin might have done you some damage too then. ;)
For me personally? Ha, not at all. The "best" referred to in the topic title comes later.


Staff member
Social Media Team
I can manage a bad few corners but the **** that came after the mcbr is up there with being tied down by a midget and whipped with a anchor chain.
**** that, never again.
Whilst I share the sentiment, that specific experience is one that I can't draw on for comparison myself. ;)


Hyper Poster
Nah man. All the 'charm' was lost on this. It was a ****ing horror show. Perhaps @Bentleya, @DelPiero or @chainedbanana can back me up here. It wasn't just poorly shaped or paced, it was pure unadulterated carnage. I'm actually, as far as I can sometimes be a bit dramatic, quite up for a bit of brutality here and there, but this was boardering on unacceptable.

Yup It was utter trash - the dictionary definition of rough! you only had to watch offride to see everybody's heads bouncing and jolting about like broken marionettes to know what a horror show it was going to be! No amount of bracing could save us from this relentless jolt-fest - hideous! Think we were all legitimately damaged afterwards!

And with this unfortunate revelation.... it was with deep regret and sadness that the Soquet fan group had to be disbanded with immediate effect - RIP!
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Strata Poster
As someone who has more than a soft spot for Soquet (why else do you think I set up the Rank the Soquets thread all those years ago? ;) ), I'm really disappointed to hear this.

But equally, morbid curiosity is compelling me to try out King...


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Social Media Team
Day 2 – The Main Event

Feels like a long time ago that we first saw this previewed at IAAPA all those years ago, and it was finally time to check it out! We’d opted some time back to go for the Gold level fastpass – one queue jump on the other major rides – as this felt like the best compromise between usefulness and price.

Tom needed a handful of coasters first in order to make Toutatis his #600, so we headed into the park to tick off a few others and then we’d head for Toutatis. After one of the kiddie creds, it was time for the first of my highly anticipated coasters – OzIris!


This has always been a highly regarded coaster amongst enthusiasts, and on first approach it certainly looked the part.


We opted for a front row ride, and man – I see why people like this coaster! It was very dynamic, smooth, great pops of floater mixed with some good positives, an interesting layout, solid theming, all round just a wonderful, wonderful B&M.

Did I mention it looks fantastic too?!



Really put me in a good mood, it did. Lovely.

With the walk-on fastpass thing we quickly popped on L’Oxygenarium – which was infinitely more charming and fun than Storm Surge – but it was quickly on to Goudurix. I’d ridden this many years ago, but was interested to try it again. I don’t remember it being particularly awful (and well – there’s no way it could be as bad as King from the night before), and whilst it wasn’t good in any real sense, it wasn’t truly bad. It wasn’t rough, but the slightly wonky track shaping does make for some odd dynamics as the train navigates the inversions.



Swiftly on to the woodie. Now, all those years back (2009!) when I visited the park last, I remember not being hugely impressed with this. The new work that has been done is excellent, but it has highlighted very clearly how bad it was before. The sections that haven’t been re-tracked are night-and-day – I reckon blindfolded I’d identify where the track transition happens to the millimetre. Quite jarring (mentally) as you go along.

That being said, it was actually really quite good. It’s a very powerful woodie, and the sections that have been reshaped are excellent. It’s got a lot of speed, drama and unpredictability – all positives.

“You should have done the backwards seat!” I hear you cry.
“No thanks.” I would rebuff.
Going backwards on coasters doesn’t do wonders for me, and to be honest I think riding Zeus backwards would have wiped me out for a good chunk of the day. I think it would have been too rough, intense and long for me to enjoy it backwards.


Finally on the lap of ‘ride-what-we-need-to-to-get-the-milestone’ was Pegase Express. Won’t write loads, but suffice to say I remain resolute – this model is all Gerstlauer should make. It was brilliant. That said – by the end of the backwards section I was starting to feel a little woozy – definitely made the right call on Zeus!

And now… finally… Toutatis.


No fastpass for this sadly, but with credit where it’s due to the team running Toutatis they were absolutely hauling. The queue was advertised as 90mins, but we waited probably less than 80mins, and at virtually no point did we stop walking.

You get some decent views of the coaster too.



When we got to the platform we opted to wait a few more trains to sit in the back row – and man am I glad we did. The first launch was punchier than I was expecting, and whilst the first section is a little bit odd with it’s strange shaping, it works very well – especially with the excellent trains. Rolling through the first pass of the swing launch and you get a respectable pull, but is gets really exciting on the reverse pass. The pull backwards through the airtime hill is powerful, and the climb up the spike feels endless in the back row. You get a great view and lovely floater/freefall as you head back towards the launch. The final launch is solid, and before you know it you’re at the top of the tophat.

Sadly the trim brake bites really quite hard on Toutatis, so there’s a bit of a flow break into the drop, but thankfully it picks up again there. Quick turn and you’re into the stall. Not a patch on Wildfire or Toutatis, but it is very good. It’s following by the most substantial airtime moment on the ride which is a nice simple straight hill. A few more twists, turns, and one final quick inversion, and you’re thundering into the brakerun.

Yeah – that’s an extraordinary coaster. Very definitely one of those “Top 5%” coasters.


With our expectations met, we decided to start another quick lap of the park mopping up the other rides. We headed for some lunch – where we opted for the all-you-can-eat buffet. Probably some of the best theme park food I’ve had in Europe – quality, variety and value. Ate far too much – obviously – so went for some of the water rides before heading back to the coasters. Log flume and rapids were alright, but nothing hugely memorable, however their river raft ride had a somewhat unusual layout and a surprisingly intense double down finale.

We were on to mopping up the other coasters. I didn’t fancy re-riding the Zierer thing, so instead marvelled at the incoming storm clouds.



I didn’t fancy the spinning flat ride thing, but you can see @chainedbanana, @DelPiero and @Bentleya here.

On the way back to the other side of the park the heavens opened (that previously pictured storm cloud wasn’t messing about). Though very quickly it became apparent that this was truly a localised downpour – I assure you the following pictures were taken on the same day!

Went for our fastpass ride on OzIris (our previous ride had been in the standby queue as it was so early), and lucked out slightly as we got the back row. Equally as impressive in the back row and a thoroughly enjoyable coaster. Loved it.

We quickly nabbed the bobsled, before joining the queue for Toutatis once again. Another small downpour shut the ride temporarily, but in fairness to the park they kept the queue open (this was rapidly approaching park closing time) and only once the coaster reopened did they finally shut the queue. Queue was shorter this time (something around 50mins, if my memory serves) and again we opted for the back row.

Once again, brilliant. Absolutely great fun between us just enjoying a fantastic coaster together. One of those goon-highlight moments for me. Here’s a little photo dump now to round out the day.







Overall we’d had a brilliant time. Frankly though, it was only due to the fastpass. We had no cred-anxiety, didn’t have to rush and didn’t have a terrible time queuing. The park was heaving, and I think without the fastpass it would have been a terrible day!

On the park itself – it’s very good. The coasters are solid and the theming is good. They’ve got a good water ride selection, albeit lacking slightly on flats, and it’s fairly easy to navigate. In addition, the food options were decent too.

Yeah, good stuff.

We had a long drive through the French countryside to the next hotel in Rouen, but it was actually quite pleasant and full of good quality goon chat and typically crazy French local drivers. Got to the hotel and cracked open some beers, a box of wine, cheese and crisps. Hearty dinner – you could say. Smiles all round.

Final day next.


Giga Poster
I got assigned the back row of Zeus on one of my rides when I went, and I can assure you, you made the right choice! The problem with zeus is that the rough spots hit in very strange locations so you never know exactly when to brace, and that’s made a lot worse when you’re going backwards.


Strata Poster
@Hixee is doing a grand job on the main TR so I'll just add minor things.

Found St Paul to be a decent regional park, a couple of relatively substantial creds plus wood express, which is infinitely re-rideable. They really are the perfect family/teen coaster. The log flume there is really well themed and gives a nice misting, no drenching here.
St Paul also have probably the tallest security guard I've ever seen! Funnily enough they have a height chart for the tallest man ever in the park as well, I wonder if he measures himself there every week hoping to take the record.

The park in Paris with the 2 closed Soquets really wound me up, yeah the Gerst bobsled was decent and the mini mouse thing was interesting but it was a long day and spites hit hard when in that kind of mood. Glad we did the ****ty shooter, coming 2nd probably says more about the company we were in than my skill.

The fair was actually super fun, climbing every lift hill trying to spot the next cred was hilarious, @Hixee found the Speedy Gonzales cred whilst we were on the Reverchon mouse but none of the rest of us were able to spot it due to the constant turning of the car!
As discussed, King is garbage, looks impressive, but it needs a refurb, not just the track, the trains are in shocking condition.
One of the big apples looked like it was on fire but someone just went crazy with the strawberry smelling vape juice smoke.

Trying to find an open bar for a drink is difficult in these smaller villages, hence the wine box on night two. Also, don't mix sleeping pills with alcohol after a 22 hour day. Think smart kids.


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Social Media Team
Day 3 – The Way Back

Will be a shorter one this time.

Part 1 – Parc du Bocasse

Was a short drive in the morning to Parc du Bocasse – another friendly regional park. You enter the park in the new(er) area and are faced immediately with the spinning mouse. Park was very quiet this early, so it was a virtual walk on and a one-and-done.

We opted to head down the hill to their latest coaster – the charmingly mint-green, Orochi. This park have really done an excellent job with this coaster. The area it’s in is nicely presented and well laid out, and they make good use of the terrain difference in this area to give some nice perspectives of the ride.




The coaster itself was decent. Nice forces, good layout, same as the other clones. Will say it again though, the colour is excellent. As there was no queue the ride-ops gave us a second lap without leaving the station (we did swap front/back row), which was nice too.

While in the area we took a quick lap on the walk-on log flume. Simple, but very pleasant, and included a surprisingly spiteful exit path with the splash from the boats easily hitting the walkway (which is an elevated mesh floor type walkway, so you may not notice). Quality stuff. The sort of thing you could imagine Paultons getting at some point, when they finally ditch that trashy log flume thing they have now.


Time to head over to the other side of the park (which is situated across a footbridge over the local road), and headed straight for the kiddie coasters. Here’s two more pictures.



Finally over to the final cred (another random Soquet). So far the park had been operating things sensibly, but they let themselves down here. Trains randomly being run half empty, pointlessly running two laps per cycle, and a ride-op moving at glacial speed. Not great. Finally got on and it was… fine. Apart from the theming, I can’t really recall much about this coaster to be perfectly honest. Better than King – I remember that much.



On the way out we did take a quick ride on their dark ride – Apiland. Nightmare fuel. The other guys might have some pictures to share, but this was truly bleak. Slightly disturbing characters, too long and repetitive, and awful music. Not super.

We had our sights set on Bagatelle, so it was a polite goodbye to Parc du Bocasse. It is a pleasant little park, and their latest area at the front of the park is a real step up from the rest of the park (although I will say the rest of the park – darkride excluded – is actually really quite charming too). Definitely worth the stop, but also I don’t think worth more than a few hours for people like us!

Speedy easy drive North and soon we were at Bagatelle.

Part 2 – Bagatelle

I knew very little about this park really – other than the inverted Boomerang – but the entrance seemed fairly substantial and once inside the park was really quite nice overall. We made a beeline for the Big Apple as we’d heard it has been spiteful to adult riders in the past and with no queue and a smiley French lady we figured we’d try our luck. Seemingly no issues and we were on and off before we even realised! Nice!


Figured we’d head for the Boomerang next to get it over and done with. Opted for a backwards facing seat for the first pass through the layout, and to be honest it wasn’t too bad. It was intense, but nothing like as violent as some other Boomerangs have been over the years. Going backwards first also meant I was able to shake off the backwards wooziness on the reverse lift hill and was able to [somewhat] enjoy the return trip. Wouldn’t be riding again, but certainly not awful.



Quick lap on the spinner – was fine, and that’s all you need to know. We’ve all done loads of these.


Opted for the smaller Soquet next, which was again somewhat uneventful but equally inoffensive.


And finally then on to Gaz Express. @chainedbanana had been to this park before, so insisted we head towards the back. I’m not entirely sure how to describe what happened next, but suffice to say the main drop through the shed had some pretty severe ejector airtime. @DelPiero and I were simultaneously in shock and fits of laughter. The rest of the layout is half decent too, with some quite nice theming and water effects.


Now this, this is what Soquet is all about. King had shown us just how bad it can get, but this coaster almost immediately redeemed them. Not quite, King will never be forgotten, but Gaz Express was everything a Soquet should be. Silly, fun, crazy and charming all in one. We LOVED it – so much so it was the only thing we bothered re-riding all day.

We took a quick tour of their water rides – log flume (fine), rapids (fine), raft slide (fine), and then looped round for a final re-ride on Gaz Express.


And with that we had brought the trip nearly to an end. Headed back towards Calais, with a stop off at Cité Europe for a bite to eat before the train home. Seamless train home (they actually loaded us onto an earlier one, which was nice given the long drive I had ahead of me), and before too long we were parting ways in Ashford.

Brilliant stuff. Thoroughly enjoyed. Highly recommend.

Summary next, as is tradition.


Staff member
Social Media Team

Finally, the stats!

New creds: 28
Total creds: 39
New parks: 4
Total parks: 5

Milestones: None

Best Park: Parc Asterix. Feels a bit unfair, as the other parks were quite nice for what they were, but we really enjoyed our day at Asterix.

Best Cred: Toutatis, by a landslide.

And the route(s):

Green = Transportation, Blue = Nights, Red = Parks

Cheers for reading – hope you enjoyed the pictures too. :)

Until next time.


Mega Poster
@Hixee – thank you for you for putting the trip report together and for letting me tag along; I had a fab time!

@chainedbanana and @DelPiero - fab company gents.

A couple of points from me.

Wood express is pure joy… there needs to be a lot more these – I’m looking at you Chessington, Paultons Park or even Thorpe Park for that matter!
The fact you come off and just want to go around again just says it all.

Jardin d'Acclimatation was a bit of an anti-climax as such, really enjoyed Speed Rockets and I completely agree Gerstlauer need to stick to Bobsleds and family coasters.

Foire du Trône was amazing, fantastic atmosphere and a great laugh – especially watching those brave enough to go on the Tagada’s.
Really enjoyed the Jet Star and there are no words out there to describe King – apart from it now being the benchmark for probably being the roughest coaster out there and now everything out there is going to be okay; surely?

Parc Astérix – I absolutely loved it; surpassed my expectations. Everyone needs to come to this park; just get fast pass if going on a weekend.
Ozlris had it all, the looks, the speed, the forces – perfection!
Toutatis is the real deal and super excited for Batman Gotham City Escape in November.

The buffet restaurant (Le Cirque) we ate lunch at was epic, proper food, well priced and made the day that little bit more fab!


Mega Poster
I also forgot to mention about the older gentleman asking us where the “lonely riders” queue was for Toutatis.