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Premiere Soquet Grilling

JoshC.

Active Member
With the 'new normal' in full swing and parks open again, I'd been itching for a European trip again. With my Heide/Hansa trip back in April cancelled, and my June Europa trip delayed before I booked, the Covid situation had dented some big plans for new parks for me.

However, wanting to remain cautious, I didn't want to swing into big parks, and risk not visiting them in case something happened (having to self-isolate, a park randomly closing, etc). So something I bit smaller was needed. Back in 2017, I visited Bagatelle, and really enjoyed their two Soquet creds - Gaz Express and Spirale des Dunes, and had joked with my housemates in the past of doing a trip to hunt out more of their creds. And lo and behold, this trip was born!

A few smaller French parks could be ticked off, boosting my cred count, and also a first visit to Parc Asterix, just to add some real quality to the trip too. And, if all worked out perfectly, I would end the trip on exactly 200 creds, becoming slightly less basic in the process.

Keeping the costs down meant we stayed at Premier Class hotels whilst in France, and anyone who's visited one will know they're certainly not premiere in class (we fortunately knew that in advance)..More on that later though!

Day 0
We travelled over to Calais Thursday afternoon by ferry with P&O, which was sadly delayed by a couple of hours. As for their Covid measures, it was pretty simple: wear a mask on the ferry at all times (except if eating/drinking), and keep 2m distance from everyone. Keeping the distance was easy as the ferry was quiet, and I wore a mask all the time - little warm, but no issue. Lots of people did end up taking their masks off, but given how quiet it was, I wasn't surprised.

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To encourage social distancing, each table in the main seating area only had 1 seat, which made no sense when a group wanted to sit together...

We arrived at our first Premiere Class, where we had upgraded to a room which gave us breakfast and a sea view for only a couple of Euros extra. We were intrigued, but the sea view was, well...
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A little lacking to say the least!

Coincidentally, each Premiere Class we stayed at had a Buffalo Grill restaurant very nearby. An American-esque BBQ style place, we decided that Day 0 would be the perfect time to try it out, and it was pretty good! On the pricier side for a budget trip, but decent food, including amazing Mozzarella sticks with BBQ sauce!

Day 1 - Parc du Bocasse
Unsure of how Covid measures would affect park capacities and throughputs, we decided to give each park a day, and then do other stuff in the afternoon/evening if time allowed (spoilers: we regularly left parks early!). Parc du Bocasse was park number 1, we arrived a little before 10, with rides opening at half 10.

Covid Measures
The park had a variety of signs which said whether a ride/queue/building required masks or simply recommended them. The queues had social distancing markers, and there were hand sanitising points before going on a ride, and sometimes afterwards. There was no social distancing on rides. Masks weren't required in the park's walkways. Their 4D cinema was closed, but everything else remained open.

Social distancing was largely respected in queue lines which was nice. I wore my mask everywhere except on water rides (where we always were in our own group anyway).
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A quick bag check and we were in, and wandered to the back of the park towards their pirate area.

We ticked off the kiddie cred and some of the flats, along with their shooting ride - Pirate's Plunder. It's the first time I've done one of these types: where you are on a seat which tilts and moves and fire at a stationary screen. I quite enjoyed it, and liked the competitive nature it had throughout. We did it later in the day, and sadly it didn't cope when the room was almost full, with none of our guns registering properly.

We worked through the park, ticking off their other family cred, and came up to arguably their major cred - Fort d'Odin, their Soquet. The ride looked fun from its rcdb entry, and it had been rethemed last year. However, I wasn't prepared for how extensive the retheme was:
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My photos don't do it enough justice - but it feels completely different compared to the rcdb photos!

It was a fun ride. Whilst nothing special of course, it at least gave us some reassurance we hadn't planned a trip based entirely around a manufacturer which makes terrible rides, bar two at some random small park!

We continued, doing their dark ride Apiland, which has a ton of animatronics, but goes on way too long, before arriving back to the front of the park, which is a Dinosaur / Jurassic themed land. I think a few years ago this was pretty unthemed and had a 'plonked in a car park' feel, but looks a lot better now. We did their Spinning Wild Mouse, which was vile due to us distributing the weight badly (I'm really not a fan of spinning).

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We then moved to their log flume, which is also a Soquet, Splash-o-Saure. It features a backwards section and a vertical lift, and some nice theming. It was the right level of wet too. Little on the short side, but really enjoyed it to be honest.

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This took us up the lunch time, and aside from the park's fountain show, which first showed at 2pm, we had done the park. After a spot of food and some rerides, we milled around and eventually queued up for Symphonie Aquatique, which was surprisingly hosted indoors. The show was about 10-15mins long, and featured a stage with some fountains which were just going off pretty consistently, whilst some lasers and music played. The concept is cool, but it misses the mark with the fountains being boring, and all the seats being on the same level, so being at the back meant we saw little.

After milling around a bit more and a couple more re-rides, we called it a day just after 3pm. Parc du Bocasse was a surprisingly nice park, with some decent theming and a nice little selection of rides. It always seems like they're preparing to expand, with work going on next to their log flume. It'll be interesting to see what they do next!

One annoying thing though - bugs! There were a ton around the park. I don't know what they were; tiny little fly-like things? I guess it's because of the park's location, but it was a little bit annoying after a while, especially since the colour of my shorts seemed to really attract them!


We then headed into Rouen, which was en route to our next hotel. We popped into a Laser Quest, and the three of us played a game - just us three! Their Covid measures meant we still had to wear masks inside. And let's just say, if I can wear a mask for 20 minutes whilst running around indoors playing Laser Quest, I don't see why any normal person can't wear one!

Our next Premiere Class would be our base for two nights, and didn't promise a sea view, being far away from the sea and all that, so we weren't disappointed. Fortunately there were lots of restaurants and shops nearby which meant we had plenty of options to keep ourselves entertained for the evening, before turning in for the night.

Coming soon: Day 2 - Festyland, and a surprise cred...
 
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HeartlineCoaster

Active Member
Either I missed all these dark rides or they've nearly doubled their attraction count in a very short space of time (on top that impressive looking retheme), which is good to see.

Planning a trip around Soquet is an idea I have a great amount of respect for.
 

JoshC.

Active Member
Either I missed all these dark rides or they've nearly doubled their attraction count in a very short space of time (on top that impressive looking retheme), which is good to see.

Planning a trip around Soquet is an idea I have a great amount of respect for.
The shooting thing is just opposite the exit of the water dingy slide, but rather poorly signposted. Apiland was in a huge building by their carousel and rapids, but despite its size, you wouldn't necessarily have thought a ride was in there!

Anyways, on to Day 2 - Festyland...

A quick mention of their Covid measures. There were social distancing markers in queue lines and a few signs about wearing masks.There didn't seem to be as many people wearing masks and social distancing in queue lines wasn't the best, but equally not the worst. Many of the operators at rides had unlabelled bottles of liquid, which they would spray onto your hands before going on rides. I can only hope it was hand sanitiser! Though I'm sure I could start a conspiracy theory somewhere on the internet saying it's some mind control liquid to stop us thinking about 5G or something....

Anyways, onto the park. We arrived shortly after opening and headed straight to the back of the park, where the first of two Soquets awaited, 1066...

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The building looks cool, but the signage leaves a little to be desired!

Unlike other Soquets, this ran two short trains, which was a little bit of a surprise. It's also nicely situated on the edge of the park towards a field, meaning it could make use of the terrain a bit more. The ride was a walk on so I went straight to the back for my first ride. And damn, this little cred packed a bit of a punch. Coming off the drop gave some solid ejector. The ride then turns around a bit before going into a helix which gave some really nice laterals. An airtime hill with a kicker wheel followed, which sadly meant not much airtime. Another helix and a jump up into the station followed, which again gave some nice laterals.

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So all in all, a really neat cred. It was the right level and mix of weird and fun that I had expected. The area still had no one else around, which meant another lap followed, with me heading to the front. The drop wasn't as good, but the laterals and side to side movement were still solid.

Sticking to the back of the park, the next port of call was Kaskade, the park's rapids. It very much has a budget River Quest feel, with an elevator lift and intimidating (in context of the park) look. The drop lead to some of the craziest spinning I've ever had on a water ride, and the final splash gets you a good level of wet too. A solid ride, and a nice little gem in the park.

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We moved over to the park's other cred, Drakkar Express. This is nothing more than a +1, but features a drop halfway through the layout where you somehow manage to slow down rather than speed up I swear. Oh Soquet...

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The park have a really neat, large and well themed Viking land, which features a few rides, including an Air Race-like ride, Rocking Tug and more. We ticked off these rides, as well as their standard dingy slide and drop tower rides, before a re-ride on 1066.

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Fun fact: I did get the standard photo of me holding this, etc. BUT this was shortly after Kaskade, and so I had a huge wet patch down half my body, which looked like a massive sweat mark, and so will never see the light of day...

It was now midday and the park was filling up a fair bit (Kaskade had a full queue, which probably would have taken a good 30+minutes given the lack of boats). We did a ride on their bumper boats, which we didn't think adults would be allowed on, but they didn't seem to mind. One of our group fell into the water whilst getting out, much to the enjoyment of everyone in the queue!

So after barely two hours, we called it a day at Festyland. It's a cute little park with some surprisingly well themed parts, and 1066 is a solid ride. But ultimately, it isn't much more than a stop on a cred run for us.

Anticipating that this could well happen, we had made contingency plans the night prior, and thanks to leaflets at our hotel and coast2coaster, we found a couple of Alpine coasters near-ish to the park. Both were about a 40 minutes drive away, and 40 minutes away from each other. We ultimately opted to do just one, and so of we headed to the...

Normandie-Luge
Located in the valley of an old Viaduct designed in 1887 by Gustave Eiffel, this was a complex of activities. The Viaduc de la Souleuvre is the name of the wider, free-to-enter, complex, and has activities such as bungee jumping, giant swings and zip lining from the top of the viaduct, as well as the cred, a high ropes course and other things. Unsurprisingly the likes of bungee jumping were very expensive (149€!!), but the cred was just 4€..much more reasonable.

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After eating at the onsite restaurant, which was fantastic and well priced, we hit up the Luge, as they like to call the cred specifically. No need to wear masks, but you have to clean your hands before, as well as the 'car' being cleaned as well. The layout makes excellent use of the terrain, and features some decent sweeping turns and banked moments, as well as some pops of airtime. Fortunately was able to go full speed all the way down, and the ending was a particular highlight!

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The ending
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You can also buy a photo for 2€. Since it captured the exact moment a fly decided to try and get in my mouth, I couldn't refuse...

After a little bit of milling around and watching people bungee jump, we moved on. Not a place I'd ever return to (as awesome as it would be to jump from a viaduct, I can't justify paying seven times what I paid for my bungee jump a few years back...even if it was off a crane in a pub car park). But I certainly would recommend heading down there for the alpine cred if you're nearby!

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We left and headed to the commune of Deauville by the sea, which was only 15 or so minutes away from our hotel. It's a seaside place, but our only reason for going there was to play some mini golf, which seemed to be the only one anywhere vaguely nearby. It was a very open circuit, but had some decent courses.
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And that concludes Day 2. We eventually got back to our hotel at about 7 (how we dragged out an entire from Festyland, an alpine cred and mini golf I'm still not quiet sure..), before food and sleep.

Day 3 to come soon, featuring the somewhat controversial Parc Saint Paul, and an unplanned park (or rather, an unplanned garden)...
 

JamesB

Member
I have fond memories of going to Festyland as a child, it was quite a quirky park from what I remember. Various self-operated fairground type rides and so on. Looking at the website it seems to have modernised a lot since them. Thanks for sharing!
 

JoshC.

Active Member
And so we come to Day 3

When this trip was planned, it was prior to the Formule incident at Parc Saint Paul. I didn't know much about the park beyond their reasonably new woodie, but after the accident I'd read more on it. Needless to say the accident was shocking in itself, and the reaction from the park's director was even moreso. There was a point where loads of rides were closed, and even rumours the park may be closed, so we had looked at alternatives to the day if that was the case. This turned out attention to Jardin d'Acclimatation - somewhere which I had completely discounted / forgotten about.

Ultimately, Parc Saint Paul had all rides bar Formule running, but we realised we wouldn't need a full day, so decided to do both parks. More creds! And "Jar-da" (which was much easier to say) also had 2 Soquets - even better! :p

Parc Saint Paul
Covid measures
Like other parks, they had signs saying where masks were obligatory. From memory, I think basically all the rides we did you had to wear one. There were a few hand sanitising points about, and social distancing seemed minimal. It seemed that some rides were having seats sanitised after every 2-3 cycles too.

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We pretty much arrived as the park opened at 10am, but most rides weren't meant to open till half 10. After some milling around, and a go on their slide, first ride of the day was the log flume. Credit to the staff member here who was brilliant too. Set an expectation that the park would be one of those ones where staff were the right level of friendly, whilst also being efficient. Turned out she was the exception - most staff were more focused on talking among themselves.

Log flume was exceptionally wet though; took a solid couple of hours to get dry.

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We moved onto Wood Express, which I later realised was my first Gravity Group woodie. I was both surprised and disappointed by the ride - there's a good few moments of airtime throughout. Nothing major or really powerful, but a few moments which were nice. But the ride was incredibly rattly. For a ride that's barely 2 years old, it was really bad. Vibrating all over the place and really just not that enjoyable to ride. The restraints aren't the greatest either which doesn't help. So yeah, despite some nice moments, it's just not that good.

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A quick go on the spinning wild mouse (where we sat sensibly this time and had minimal spinning!) and drop tower (which takes WAY too long to reach the top), we moved onto their open Pax - Wild Train. It had the classic Pax uncomfortable-ness from going side-to-side, but the first drop was pretty damn fun at the back.

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We moved on quickly and collected the final 3 open creds (Wacky Worm - which actually had a queue, disgraceful! - the custom Vekoma Rollerskater which was meh and the Zamperla Mini Mouse). All creds done by 11am! Temperatures were soaring so we cooled down on their dingy slide, which has an impressive entrance feature, before heading to the infamous Telepherique. You know, this thing...

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I'd heard about this a few times before visiting, and had forgotten on the day it was actually here until I saw it. For those who don't know - you stand on a little podium suspending under the track. You run off the platform and gravity goes the rest; with your platform swinging and spinning frantically throughout. Frankly, it's a bloody terrifying experience. I was hanging on for dear life throughout, and I spun an obscene amount through the second half, to the point I had no clue how to stop myself near the end. Took me a few minutes to recover too; bloody spinning rides making me feel old...

To more or less round the day off, we did their indoor walkthroughs. In particular, Le Château Hanté was fantastic! A really well done, scary walkthrough in my eyes - some solid jump scares, really dark and good triggered effects. It does feel like it would be a bit better as a Ghost Train rather than a walkthrough, but I guess that any walkthrough done this well would be the same.

We wandered round the park a bit more, opted to do a second ride on Wood Express, which was a little more uncomfortable at the back, which rounded off our time at the park, a little before midday.

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Entrance to the dingy slide was cool - love me a good waterfall!
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I rarely do Disk'os, and this was no exception - but it looks really cool!

Honestly, I wasn't a big fan of Parc Saint Paul. Rides themselves weren't great anyway, despite some pockets of good theming, but the park just didn't sit right with me. From things like the seemingly circus-like lion show, which feels like an outdated principle, to them parading the fact they have extremely tall and extremely short staff members like they're an attraction in themselves, it just felt off with me. Along of course with the recent incident. With most (perhaps even all?) parks I've visited, I could at least envision myself revisiting them in some circumstances - but Parc Saint Paul, I really don't envision me wanting to return, without some larger changes.

For those wondering what the state of Formule is...
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Some fences with fake grass draped over them. The cars are covered in tarp. No signage accompanying it.


Taking to the road, an hour and a bit later we were at the outskirts of Paris, in 30C+ temperatures getting ready to enter Jardin d'Acclimatation...

Entering was a bit of a faff. There was a small queue to buy entry/tickets, and since we were paying by card, we were directed to the automatic machine for buying entry. However, it wasn't till after we got there that we realised we couldn't buy the wristband (which gives entry and unlimited ride access) there, and instead had to queue to get to a booth, which took a long time.

We were eventually in, and food was the first sensible stop. The first food place we went to was out of all lunch options, except for a few kids sandwiches. We eventually found somewhere that was open, albeit with a long queue and food options weren't the greatest. It was just after 2pm by the time we ate - meaning it took about 50 minutes to enter and find found. Not the greatest start, but given this was a Sunday on the outskirts of Paris with temperatures now peaking at 33C, perhaps not overly surprising.

Covid measures
Just another little word about that pesky virus. Masks seemed to be obligatory on all rides. Interestingly, they have also set up 'zones' whilst walking around where masks are obligatory, with the rest of the pathways only being recommended. Hand sanitising points were all around, and particularly just before you got on a ride, and social distancing was recommended to be 1.5m (though, as was rather common in France seemingly, not really adhered to much!).
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After eating, the first stop was Dragon Chinois, one of the park's two Soquets. It has a weird layout, with three "lift hills", if you can even call them that, and honestly not much else. Wasn't the most exciting thing in the world. I didn't even get a photo of it...though that was in part down to me eating my lunch, and having my ice cold drink, a bit too quickly I think..!

We would have done Machine à Vapeur, their powered Soquet, next. But alas, it was closed, and has been for a while it seems. The first spite of the trip! Fortunately, having got the alpine cred the day before, I was still on track for hitting 200 creds, but I would need no more spites...

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Spite </3

Instead, we moved over to Speed Rockets, their Gerstlauer bobsled. The ride had a long, almost full queue, and a little bit of downtime, but we were on quick enough. Given the park can't go above tree height, the ride does a good enough job with it's restrictions. But it's still probably the weakest one of these I've done - it just doesn't have much to offer. But the weird double down drop element is fun - would love to experience more of these!

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Do any other Gerstlauer bobsleds have these weird-but-fun mini double downs?

Carrying on with the cred-theme, Souris Mécaniques, their junior Reverchon spinner, packs a little punch. Due to the park's '2 adult per car' rule, I was in a car by myself. For such a short and weird layout, I got a surprising amount of spin in my car. Not something I particularly enjoyed, but if spinning is your thing, I'd guess that would be..

None of the creds were worth a re-ride, and all had very long queues, so we took the opportunity to just wander round the place and do a few of their smaller rides, including their cute little boat ride. A stand out in terms of rides was Kinetorium, their shooter. Another 'sit on a saddle in front of a screen with 20 other people' experience, this had a pretty cool pre show (with not-perfect English subtitles) explaining the story: some biology thing gone wrong basically. The system was much better than Bocasse's one (it actually worked with a room full of people!), and the story and video were much better. A fun little experience; so much so that we did re-ride it.

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Originally, Jardin was meant to close at 7pm, with rides shutting at half 6, but clearly due to the weather and how busy it was, they extended both closures by an hour! However, by 5pm we were pretty much done - with nothing worth doing again and having explored around the non-ride side of things, along with the beating heat and little shade, it was time. Despite some areas only being 'masks recommended', I wore my face covering everywhere on site too, so this was my first time wearing one in hot temperatures - I was fine with it, but certainly appreciated taking it off after a few hours!

Overall thoughts: whilst a nice-looking place, Jar-da didn't do much for me. They've done great to integrate a park into the surroundings, but yeah, it doesn't do it for me. The really hot weather probably didn't help either tbh. Glad to have gone and experienced it though. I was also surprised at how few English signs were about, and how little English staff seemed to speak. Given the location, I expected some more multi-lingual-ness. I guess it's not big with tourists given the location and what it is, but still, surprised me a little. Didn't affect my day as I was able to get by with my limited French, but yeah, surprising.

Also, they're advertising a new ride for 2021...
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Nothing major, but something ey!

Another Premiere Class Hotel awaited us, and this one was ever so slightly better than our previous one! Still not good enough to warrant spending an evening in it, so after another Buffalo Grill meal, we headed to a nearby bowling centre which was open. One of the group is a big bowling fan, but since he hadn't had the chance to bowl for a few months, I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to come close to his score...

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...seemingly not!

And with that disappointment, Day 3 drew to a close. Day 4 brings more disappointment, as there's no Soquets, but I'm sure being at Parc Asterix will compensate for that, right..?
 

JoshC.

Active Member
And now the big one, Day 4 - Parc Asterix! And this was, in fact, my first visit to Asterix.

I'll start as ever with the Covid measures
Face coverings were obligatory on all rides and in queue lines. There were hand sanitising points at the end of every queue (just before you board the ride), as well as at ride exits and dotted around the park. There were social distancing markers in queues, but no one really followed them much tbh. However, park security had a major presence in queue lines, regularly walking through queue lines, making sure everyone had coverings on, and were covering their noses. This went to the extreme where I witnessed a security guard watch someone have a drink and not move on until they had finished their drink and put their covering back over their face. A little OTT in my opinion, but equally I can't argue with results: seeing everyone in queues masked up did give a good level of reassurance.

Interestingly as well, the park were very hot on filling up every seat - single rider was still in operation, and they were happy to get smaller groups matched up in queues too. The only exception was on water rides, where they weren't trying to fill boats to the full. There are questions about the point of social distancing on rides in my opinion, especially if everyone is wearing a covering, but it did feel odd sitting next to strangers again.

Anyways, onto the park. First time I've experienced metal detectors at a full on theme park (Ja-Dar isn't necessarily a 'full on park' imo), but it was done smoothly and easily. Anticipating it would get long queues, we headed over towards the back of the park, where the first stop was Tonnerre de Zeus..

We were on in under 15mins which was nice. Zeus is a ride I'd heard a lot about for many years. Whilst I'd seen a lot of people say it's a bit of a love-or-hate ride, most reviews I'd actually read were that it was good, which gave me some quiet optimism. Sadly though, it did nothing for me. It's got a long layout, yet manages to feel like it does nothing with it. It's not rough, but doesn't have enough fun / classic woodie laterals to give it that sort of edge. I don't remember there being any air time either. It just sort of goes around for a while and ends?

Even riding it later in the day, it did very little for me. I remember feeling a bit more positive about it, but not much. I just don't really get it? Why do people like this?
Is it because of Zeus' underpants? I bet it's because of Zeus' underpants.

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I don't care if you're wearing floral underpants - your ride isn't that good
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A quick stop to the neighbouring Goudrix was of course in order. Similarly, this is something I'd heard a bit of a mixed bag of, but mostly negative reviews. And, of course, it has regularly been near the bottom of several coaster polls over the years. So I wasn't looking forward to it. However, I was pleasantly surprised! The ride was smooth, the right level of intense and reasonably fun. It's not something I rank highly, as a layout of inversions is ultimately a bit meh, but it was fun enough.

Again, a ride was had later in the day. And frankly, I don't know what happened - was a riding a different ride? It was rough and jerky and I did not enjoy it from the third inversion! Perhaps not as bad as some had described it, but still pretty bad. Really not sure how I could have such different reactions to it.

My first ride was in the front of a car, and the second in the back of a car, so I guess that could have something to do with it. Could also be different trains too I guess. After that second ride though, I didn't want to risk a third to try and figure it out. But it's just crazy how different the ride experiences were.

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A ride on L'Oxygenarium ("the good Storm Surge" I believe us Brits are required to call it by law) followed, en route to the next cred: Trace du Hourra. I've only ever done Intamin Swiss Bobs before, so it was intriguing to see how the Mack equivalent would ride. And it was alright. Layout is solid, theming around is good and the operations were outstanding. It'd be nice if it swayed a bit more, as it did feel very restricted, but I guess many of these rides feel like this.

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We collected the +1 of the Zierer bum rattler, SOS Numerobis (which has an excellent, almost B&M-like roar might I add), before arriving at the highlight attraction, which is of course Oz'Iris.

Just looking at the area you can tell it's something spectacular. It just looks stunning, from the theming, the dive under the pathway, to even things like the track colour. Everything just blends beautifully. The queue wasn't too long, no more than 30mins, which was long enough to appreciate the stunning indoor queue line too. And once you get into the station, you see they've capped off the atmosphere perfectly. Even the little lighting sequence on dispatch is just great. Everything works. Also, fair play to the staff, who worked their nuts off loading and unloading the ride - jumping inbetween rows to unclip the seat belts whilst the train was still moving(!), and checking bars insanely quickly. Something like that is an art.

As for the ride itself, it was brilliant. A lovely mix of forces, floatly moments, great inversions, decent length and perfectly paced. First drop is fantastic. My highlight has to be when you dive underground past the waterfall, and then come out into the inversion, which is wonderfully profiled. It's just fantastic all round.

My issue with B&M rides, which may be a bit controversial, is that when their rides age, they seem to become more intense and forceful. I've noticed it particularly with Inferno at Thorpe, but even my experiences on the likes of Nemesis, Baron 1898 and even Galactica suggest this 'more intense with age' trend. They're like cheeses: they mature and get stronger flavour. As someone who's not a fan of high-G intense rides usually, it's meant some of those rides have gone down in my rankings as time goes on (particularly true with Nemesis).

Oz'Iris was intense, but it was the right level for me. It'll be interesting to see how it feels in a few years (ie - when I go back for the Intamin), and whether it's experiencing the same 'growing intensity with age' thing! But for now: 4 rides throughout the day, including a wondrous front row ride, puts it as my favourite B&M, and slides into my Top 5..

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I really liked this bit in the station, loosely showing the layout of the ride
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The random fountain show was fun too - never saw it in its entirety though!

Another water ride was in order before lunch, and with the log flume closed for technical difficulties, Le Grand Splatch was the port of call. I'm not normally a fan of big boat / big splash rides (too wet too quick), but this was surprisingly decent, since the finale was more for show, and it was water effects which got you wet.

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In case you haven't been able to tell, I really like water effects

With stomachs grumbling, lunch was needed. I'd heard not-good things about food options at Asterix, but ended up being pleasantly surprised at the quality of the restaurant by the log flume (Le Relais Gaulois). A canteen-style restaurant where all the food options looked really good, and ended up being great too. Reasonably priced too, so would recommend!

Explored some of the kiddie area, including their decent boat ride, before heading to their Vekoma madhouse, Le Defi de Cesar. I'd heard wonderful things about this, including the pre shows, but knew before visiting that because of Covid, they weren't running said preshows. I was intrigued how it would operate, and the short answer is: badly. It didn't help we went on the ride just after a shutdown, but you enter the ride through the exit and just go straight into the ride. Sadly there was no audio and half the screens weren't on either, creating a really awkward experience. From what I've heard, it sounds like the complete experience is a good one, but this was just rubbish. Hopefully the lack of on ride effects was a blip, but I do wonder if they should just keep it shut whilst they're running the pre shows.

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Boat ride in the kids land has loads of nice set pieces
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This chap gave me some serious moustache-envy...


Keeping within the Roman area, we cooled off on the rapids, which look stunning but could do with being a bit wetter in my opinion, before braving Pégase Express. Unsurprisingly, this had a long queue pretty much all day, but I guess a 40 minute queue for the park's newest coaster in the middle of July isn't too bad. Again, queue was magnificent, giving great views of the ride and the rapids, and the indoor section was brilliant. The ride itself is solid too. The launch out the station took me by surprise, the section after the lift hill is good fun with some nice twists and turns. The shed is simple but effective, and the backwards section is the perfect length and style. So all in all, a fantastic family coaster.
Also worth saying they weren't using the bag drop; don't know if that's just because of Covid (it seemed in an awkward space) or if they're just not bothering with it (let's face it, if you can keep your bags on Goudrix, you can keep your bags on this easily).

The final cred was ticked off after this. Another +1.

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Something I'd been really looking forward to at Asterix was L'Aérolaf, the park's 'rotating bar'. You buy a drink, then take a seat at a table at the bottom of a tower. You then go up 35m and slowly rotate, taking in views of the park and surrounding area, whilst enjoying your drink for about 10mins, before coming back down. Awesome concept for a theme park, and I'd always wanted to do one of those 'have a meal in the sky' experiences - so this was very much a discount version on that. Great views, really nice and open (you just have a seatbelt in your seat of course), and was a great way to break up the day.

It's on the pricier side - my mocktail was 7,90€ - but I'd say it's worth doing. For reference, a bottle of Coke was 6,90€, which I think was about a 3-3,50€ mark up compared to elsewhere at the park. So if you view it in that sense, you're paying about 3,50€ for the experience, which isn't bad. You even get to keep the themed cup your drink is served in!

One weird quirk for this though: You had to wear a covering whilst the table went from the bottom to the top. You were then told you could remove it. When it was ready to go back down, we were told to wear a covering again. Felt very odd and pointless given everyone had their coverings off/down for the past 10 minutes and we were the same distance away as before.

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Excuse the feet, but yeah - it's high!
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Me trying not to look like I'm bricking myself and desperately afraid of dropping drink
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Ahh, the face covering hides that fear...but just makes me look like a confused middle-aged man who has no idea how the selfie mode on his phone works...

Final major ride to do was Menhir Express, their log flume, which was back open and had a reasonable queue. It was a decent log flume, good level of wet and the surprise shed moment took me completely off guard and I loved it!

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This took us to about half 4ish, leaving the final 2 and a bit hours for re-rides and just admiring the park. Things really died down in the last half hour or so; Oz'Iris was basically walk on for example! Really awesome way to end the day.

Final thoughts: Asterix is bloody brilliant. I really enjoyed it and, all in all, it's up there as one of my favourite parks. I may not be a fan of two of their major coasters, but it's clear they serve a purpose and people do enjoy them. Their water ride selection is brilliant. And they have a good selection of other rides which will suit most people's tastes too (I never bothered with their flat rides for example, but they were always busy and look sublime). Their quality of theming is amazing as well, along with all the staff being top notch too! Would love to see the park get another dark ride or two, and can't wait till 2023 for the Intamin (or whenever it gets pushed back too..!)
 

Hixee

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Me trying not to look like I'm bricking myself and desperately afraid of dropping drink
Not entirely sure you succeeded there, mate. ;)

You sound like you had a great day at the park! I'd love to get back to Parc Asterix (probably when the new cred opens), as I've got a lot of new/changed stuff to experience since my last visit.
 

JoshC.

Active Member
And Day 5 brings an end to the trip, where we spend a few hours at Dennlys Parc...

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Covid Measures
Face coverings on rides if you're over the age of 11. Some queues had social distancing markers I think, and people kept at a sensible enough distance. The visit was the day after face coverings has become compulsory in shops again across the whole of France, so I expect that the idea of social distancing might have been on people's minds a bit if it was pushed a lot by the media.

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A long meandering drive meant we arrived to the park about quarter past 10, and their first (smaller) car park was approaching full-ness, and a couple of coaches of young school kids were entering the park. A little bit of a worrying start, but it turned out not to matter as the park was pretty quiet all day, with basically no queues.

First stop of the day was Nitro, a Mobius loop coaster where you do both sides in one ride. It's an okay ride, the concept of course being quite novel, especially with a hint of duelling (though I wish it was timed so that cars went over the air time hill at the same time). However, there's a really nasty turn half way through the 'left side' of circuit, which gave a really uncomfortable lateral jerk. Was not a fan. Plus there was little leg room in the front row of the car, making it a bit uncomfortable.

We rode it later in the day too, so it's not horrendous, but that was more out of 'needing to drag a bit more out of the park' than really wanting to reride.

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We did some of their family rides, including their new-for-2020 ride which was a pedal sky car ride called Xotic. It wasn't a very exotic experience tbh. Next stop was a ride on their figure 8 spinner for the +1 (made by a company called Gesotto, who I'd never heard of before - another one for the manufacturer count I guess!). All that led upto a ride on Furio, their Soquet coaster which was by 200th cred. Boom, achievement unlocked right - I'm slightly less basic now...

I remember being a younger, very basic goon sitting on 20 creds thinking how cool it would be one day to have 200 creds; a 'bucket list' sort of thing. So it was nice to hit it, feels a bit more substantial than any other milestone I'll probably hit (unless I magic myself to 1000 one day)..
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I even made a terrible sign and felt like a pillock getting my photo taken. Never again.

Furio itself was a bit meh. Not the good level of wacky that some Soquets are.

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Looks nice though with the trees

With creds done, it was just a case of ticking off rides. One intriguing ride was Squadron 33, which is a mix of an Enterprise and Gerstlauer Sky Fly..

As I've said, I hate spinning rides, but I'm also a sucker for doing something a little different and unique (most of the time), and I don't usually mind Sky Flys (though I hate Enterprises..), so I gave it a go. But damn did I regret it. I was able to rotate myself at points - I think! - but the double spinning motion really hit me. It was much more difficult to judge when you'd be upside down. However, you can get some really cool 'drops' if you time your rotations right.
Definitely not my cup of tea, but a really solid and different ride in fairness!

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After recovering and doing gentler rides, we'd managed to squeeze to just past midday, so had lunch at the restaurant near the front of the park. They had "tacos" on the menu, with a variety of fillings (Mexican, doner, vegetarian, etc). I ordered a Mexican taco, and was somewhat disappointed to find that their version of a 'taco' is in fact a panini... Still, was alright for price.

It turns out that after lunch I didn't bother taking any more photos, which probably says something about my feelings about the place. The afternoon was spent doing some of their other family rides on the side of the park that doesn't have creds and a couple of rerides. A particular highlight was their water boat ride, where you drive your own dingy around what's effectively a pool, which also has a water gun attached. You get a solid 3 minute cycle to just squirt people, including helpless people in the queue, and bump around. Pure, simple fun - but also very wet! And, in fact their rapids ride was decent as well - also very well, and actually built by, you guessed it, Soquet.. Oh that random French company, you're full of surprises.

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I lied, I took one photo after lunch...of this pistachio ice cream I had. It was tasty. So enjoy this final photo...

The park also had a 'sitting on a rocking chair with a gun in front of a screen and shoot things' attraction, behind their spinner, but it was closed all day. No sign explaining why and nothing on the website, so not sure if because of Covid or if it's just buggered.

We managed to drag the day out till just after 2pm, before ultimately deciding to move on. With no creds or nothing of particular fun en route between the park and Calais, where out half 7 ferry would eventually await us, we decided to divert to Cité Europe, the large shopping centre by the channel tunnel terminal, to kill a couple of hours before a stress-free journey home.

Final Dennlys thoughts: My trips have a habit of sticking on a smaller park after visiting great parks to end it (my first major European trip saw me end with a visit Bobbejaanland after multiple days after Efteling and Phantasialand, for example). Unsurprisingly, Dennlys felt rather flat after an incredible day at Asterix. The park is nice and has a few cool rides for a family group, but felt a little weak compared to some of the other smaller parks from the trip.

And so that's that - thanks for reading! :D
 

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