Did you know that you can travel back to ancient Gaul and escape to a magical theme park just outside Paris? Move over Disney. Here’s our Parc Asterix review.
The Parc Asterix Review
Perfect for a city break with kids, Parc Astérix in Paris has plenty of magic and thrills to keep a whole family busy for a day or two. Or three!
It is one of the largest theme parks in France, managing to snatch over 2 million tourists a year from the more famous Disneyland.
What you’ll get at Parc Astérix is a unique experience, a French experience. Follow Astérix and his joyful sidekick Obelix on their adventures in France, Greece, Rome, and Egypt. Bone rattling rollercoasters pump up the adrenaline, while great shows keep you entertained and colourful characters interact with the kids.
But is it worth trading Disneyland for the Astérix theme amusement park when you only have a couple of days to spend in Paris? We gave it a chance and we absolutely loved it.
Read our Parc Asterix review for details on the main attractions and the overall atmosphere.
Disclosure – we visited the park as guests for review purposes. However, we kept the right to write what we like, as ever, as always. Otherwise, what is the point?!
Where Is Parc Astérix?
Parc Astérix is situated 35 km north of Paris in Plailly, Hauts-de-France, France. If you are driving or taking a taxi from Paris to the park, you will be there in approximately 30 minutes, and the motorway is toll-free. You can also take a shuttle bus from Paris City Centre (Blablabus or FlixBus service this route daily) or from Paris Charles de Gaulles Airport.
What is Parc Astérix Based On?
The park was inspired by the Asterix comic series written by René Goscinny and illustrated by Albert Uderzo. These extremely popular comic books revolve around a small village of unconquerable Gaulish warriors who defend their territory against the Roman occupation or, occasionally, travel to other parts of the world and run into similar skirmishes.
Astérix and Obelix are the heroes of the books, drawing their power, just like all the fighters in Gaul, from a magic potion prepared by the Druid called Getafix.
All of the characters have great names, which only adds to the sense of fun.
Parc Astérix vs Disneyland Paris
Disneyland is larger and has a bigger brand name, so if you ask your kids where they would like to go, they will probably pick Disney. Unless they are huge Astérix fans.
Now, there’s no reason to dismiss Disneyland. But Parc Astérix has so many advantages that could easily tip the balance.
- Queues: 12 million people visit Disneyland every year. Instead, Parc Astérix receives only 2.3 million people per year. If you get there early on a weekday, you may even get to ride on the coolest roller coaster without waiting in line. (Although, I’d always recommend buying the filotomatix pass to skip the rollercoaster queues. Utterly worth it. Aslo, file means queue in French, so the name adds to the way the park works.)
- Rides: Disneyland has 50 attractions versus Parc Astérix, whose count comes in at 42. Although, how much does that matter? You won’t have enough time to try them all no matter where you visit, unless you stay for a whole week, so what matters is everything else.
- Theme: Parc Astérix is unique. Only here you can see Asterix and Obelix discovering the land of the Ancient Greeks or fighting the Roman centurions. Disneyland, on the other hand, has six parks, so you may get the chance to visit another one on a future trip.
- Food: Disneyland doesn’t have food stands or picnic areas. If you get hungry, you will need to take a seat at one of the restaurants and order from the menu. Parc Astérix has more food options, from stands selling hot dogs and ice cream to full restaurants serving steaks and the full round of French cheese. And you can bring your own food and have a picnic if you want.
- Cost: Disneyland is a lot more expensive – during high season, ticket prices can spike close to €100 for an adult, whilst at Parc Astérix, they stay around €55 for the whole season.
When to Visit Parc Astérix
In general, Parc Asterix is open from April to September with additional opening periods around Halloween and over Christmas. You can find full details on Parc Asterix opening times and prices here.
Details correct for Christmas in Gaul, December 2022
- Entry from 11am to 7pm
- Christmas Ticket: single rate: €47
- Family Ticket: single rate: €45 (5 to 9 tickets) and €43 (10 to 15 tickets)
- Bookings and information here
The Main Attractions at the Astérix Theme Park
First of all, don’t be put off by the view from the car park. Once inside, Parc Asterix is a gorgeous, fun, creative place whose owners obviously put in a lot of character and care.
The rides and roller coasters are exciting, and the decorations and effects are fun, funny and unforgettable.
Seven Worlds of Fun
Parc Astérix is divided into sections, each illustrating a world from the books. Within the worlds is where you will find the rides and the shows.
Via Antiqua (the ‘main street’ of the park)
If you enter via the main entrance instead of from the hotels, this will be the first thing you see. Via Antiqua is a wide street filled with restaurants and shops and ending with Asterix himself sat on a giant rocky outcrop.
Here, you can buy souvenir swords, helmets and books and watch the parade at the end of the day.
La Grèce Antique (Ancient Greece)
This area is home to the exhilarating Tonnerre de Zeus and includes a sweet family river cruise that takes you across Ancient Greece.
L’Empire Romain (The Roman Empire)
A wild water ride and other attractions await on the land of Caesar. The main attraction is Le défi de César, one of the funniest mad houses in the park, where the Roman emperor recruits spies to infiltrate them in the village of the Gaulois. Lots of humour and clowning around.
Les Vikings (The Vikings)
Ride the Goudurix and other rollercoasters or simply fly on a swing boat. The Viking area is set around a lake with a nice playground where the kids can meet the Vikings.
With great décor depicting Ancient Egypt, with its pyramids, sarcophagus, and mysterious gods, this area offers one of the scariest rides in the park – the OzIris – but also a gentler ride more suitable for sensitive hearts/ the sensible.
Bienvenue chez les Gaulois (The village of the Gauls)
The village described in the comic book series comes to life, and so do the characters. In this area, you can meet Astérix and Obelix in their homes or take a boat trip through key moments from the books.
À travers le temps (From Medieval to Modern France)
This gorgeous section moves through a recreated medieval area to a Victorian exhibition era and is quite simply beautiful.
Coming Soon: Festival Toutatis
Opening in April 2023, Parc Asterix will have a brand new zone with the fastest rollercoaster in France. It will run at 110km/h, with the world record for air times (23) and the European record for magnetic launches (four.) Gulp.
The zone will also have a huge playground for the tiny ones and a new attraction based on hypnotic visual effects called “Chez Gyrofolix.” I’m also told that there will be more restaurants and shops too. Sounds good enough to go back for!
Small and Big Rides for Astérix Fans of All Ages
You can check the Astérix app to see the minimum height accepted for each ride. There’s something for every kid, although some may need to wait a few years before they can try the most popular rides. That said, I was amazed that our six year old was tall enough to try almost everything in the park. Including the rollercoasters.
Parc Asterix Review: The Big, Scary Rides
These are the best rides in the park. For adrenaline junkies, which I used to be. These days, though, I skipped every single one. Mr Travel Lab gallantly tested them instead, using my ticket to go back for seconds.
Here’s what you need to know.
By far the scariest ridein the park, OzIris is an inverted roller coaster that reaches a speed of 90 km/h and a height of 40 meters from the ground – until it plunges underwater. With plenty of twists and drops, it is not for the faint of heart.
The blue steel Pégase Express is fast and scary and comes with a surprise right in the middle of the ride.
Tonnerre 2 Zeus
The Tonnerre de Zeus is the 2nd longest wooden coaster in Europe and will take you as high as 30 meters at a speed of up to 90 km/ hour. Mr Lab loved it but it was too much for our six year old.
Goudurix has so many inversions that you will need at least ten minutes to come to your senses after getting off it. It’s the first ride you see on the walk from the hotel and all those loop the loops and screams definitely make an impression. Another hit with Mr Lab.
Le Grand Splash
On a hot day, all you need is a good splash and just a pinch of adrenaline to make your blood run cold. Le Grand Splash has a track length of 540 m and two drops on the way. The biggest of them is 11 meters. However, in winter, it’s closed because, quite honestly, who wants to be soaking wet in France in December?
Family Rides: Parc Asterix Review
The adventures in this category don’t look as dangerous as the big coasters but can still provide a lot of fun for the whole family. Here are some of the highlights.
This spinning raft takes you along a large water slide, which continues with a slower voyage down a brick-walled river surrounded by beautiful gardens. Lots of splashes and spins yet gentle enough for everyone to enjoy. Yes, even me.
La Trace du Hourra
This is probably the only rollercoaster that we all agreed we enjoyed. With a few drops and plenty of twists, the vibrations on this challenge you enough.
Closed when we visited as I guess it was too cold, we’d heard great things about this ride. Embark on a menhir and ride along a river while coming across lots of obstacles like drops, throws, splashes, and jets of water.
Parc Asterix Review: Fun Rides for Small Kids
Very small children and toddlers can also have fun at Parc Astérix. Here are some of the highlights.
Baby Versions of the Main Rides
In Parc Asterix, you can find a kids log flume, dodgems, flying chairs and more. There are also several gentle boat rides, one through the village of Gaul and one in ancient Greece that allow you all to sit and chat and regroup in between the more adrenaline fuelled experiences.
Les Espions de Cesar
Er, this is billed for small children but was probably one of the rides I enjoyed the most. This tiny rollercoaster pootles around above the park at a lovely gentle pace. It allows you to get your bearings and see many of the different rides, chatting to your companions as you go.
We heard good things about this wooden rollercoaster with plenty of ups and downs and tight turns but didn’t manage to test it out.
Are Parc Astérix Shows Worth It?
The shows at Parc Asterix are absolutely amazing! As an adult and not such a great fan of rollercoasters, the shows really were the highlight for me. And, perhaps unfairly, they were far, far more impressive and professional than I was expecting.
The exact nature of the shows changes with the seasons. We visited at Christmas, where we saw a stunning circus performance, a festive ice skating show with acrobatics and “panto” experiences for kids and a razzle-dazzle Victorian era magic show.
Adults and children alike were enthralled by each and every one.
Now, the language is French (it being France and all) but either your rusty school French will leap into action or it won’t matter that much. Save for the odd joke, they are all visual spectacles and both adults and children will get the gist of what’s going on easily enough.
The 4D Cinema
I’d also add into this section the spectacular 4D show where Obelix throws menhirs into the audience and you all end up pelted with imaginary mud. I’ve tested out a few 4D shows but this was the biggest spectacle by far. Seats rattle and rail, snakes slither beneath your feet, you fly through the air into a cauldron and, yes, there is the rancid fake mud.
Each one of these experiences would be worth the day price to see in London, so to have all of them in one place is fantastic value for money, not to mention a day to remember.
How Much Does It Cost to Visit Parc Asterix?
With the caveat that you should always check the most up to date price before you book…
Entrance tickets cost around €55 for adults and €47 for kids, with discounts of a few euros per person for large families. Whilst you can buy your tickets at the ticket booths at the entrance, it’s better to book them online. The website often has promotions that will save you even more.
If you are driving to the park, you will also need to pay €20 per day to park your car, as there is no free parking at Parc Astérix. We’d recommend taking the shuttle instead or, depending on the size of your family, sharing a taxi or uber.
Even in the Christmas holidays, you can expect to queue for most of the rides and attractions. Yet there’s one way to skip this, with a Filotomatix pass.
Now, this only works for the high interest items, like the big rollercoasters, the shows and the 4D cinema. You’ll still need to queue for the “nursery” rides if they get popular.
But it makes such a difference to your trip, that it’s well worth the add on.
Parc Astérix App
The app is extremely useful as it features a park map and shows you the waiting time for each ride. You can quickly get info on most of the attractions and book tickets for the shows and 4D cinema. If you’re driving here for a day trip, you can log your car location to easily find your way back at the end of the day.
Food Options on the Premises
Parc Astérix has lots of fast-food options – it wouldn’t be an amusement park without hot dogs and burgers – but you can also find some nice restaurants to have a more peaceful meal, too. Here’s what we would recommend:
Restaurant du Lac – with giant fruit décor on the outside and set by the Grand Lac, this restaurant is a hit among kids and parents alike. It serves wild boar, smoking druid mocktails and a mysterious casque gaulois entry that we never did get to the bottom of.
La Guinguette – a quick kiosk for sandwiches, ice cream, coffee, refreshments, and sweets. Its Astérix menu costs under 10 euros (sandwich, water, and chips) and is ready on the spot.
Le Cirque – the exterior is an outstanding circus tent, right by the high chairs and Christmas market. Inside, a buffet awaits but we never had the time to test this out ourselves.
Le Relais Gaulois – a lovely, self service restaurant with classical French food including wine and cheese. Good options for children and a coffee bar at the end.
Also, when it comes to food, don’t miss the evening buffets at the Parc Asterix hotels. With timed slots, they run like a well oiled machine to get young children fed quickly and adults fed well with the wide variety of pretty high quality produce. Michelin starred, they may not be, but for feeding a family at a theme park at the end of a long day, they are amazing.
Is There a Hotel at Parc Asterix? Can You Stay there?
Parc Astérix Accommodation Options
For a double dose of magic, you can spend the night at the park and head back in early the next morning. Parc Astérix has three hotels on the premises, each offering nice family rooms. To be honest, this is the best way to go if you’re visiting from the UK.
Characters visit the hotels, the stress of the journey is gone and you can stay right to the end to see the fireworks and parade without then cramming into transport to get back to Paris.
La Cité Suspendue – Beautiful three star hotel in the forest, only 10 minutes walk from the park. This was not available when we went so check here before making firm plans.
Les Quais de Lutèce – Only five minutes from the park, Les Quais whisks you back to the past, with all the creature comforts. The exterior looks as though you’re in ancient Gaul, while the four star status means you have everything you need.
You do need to book a slot for dinner and for breakfast, but the buffet is extraordinary, including vast platters of fresh prawns, really good salads and a cheese collection to rival any.
Les Trois Hiboux – this three star hotel offers the shortest walk and sees to the basic amenities well.
Parc Asterix Review: The Christmas Experience
We travelled between Christmas and New Year, which means we got to taste the Noël Gaulois, or the Christmas in Gaul experience.
The hotels glimmered with gold wrapped gifts and giant Christmas trees. Parc Asterix had an included ice rink and ice toboggan ride, Papa Noël or Father Christmas appeared in the parade and the ice show. And a twinkling Christmas Market stretched from the medieval village to ancient Egypt.
It truly was a gorgeous winter experience and I’d highly recommend visiting at that time of year.
Parc Asterix Review in English: Conclusion
Congratulations on reading this far through this rather epic Parc Asterix review!
As you can tell, our family loved our time there and were surprised that after three full days, we still had things we hadn’t yet done.
It’s definitely worth the extra for the Filotomatix to beat the queues and definitely worth getting to the sit down restaurants before noon for a table and better food.
Apart from that, relax and enjoy the whole experience. And send us a postcard from ancient Gaul.
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