Parc Asterix theme park: The French alternative to Disney

Parc Asterix theme park: The French alternative to Disney

Even if you’ve never read the comic books, you will still be swept away into the world of Asterix, the mighty little Gaul fighting the evil Roman Empire.

French children grow up devouring this comic, so it stands to reason that there is a theme park about 40 km (22 miles) north of Paris. The comic by René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, which has been enchanting readers since 1959.

History of the Asterix and Obelix Comic books

Romans at Parc Asterix
Romans at Parc Asterix

The year is 50 BC. Gaul is entirely occupied by the Romans. Well, not entirely… One small village of indomitable Gauls still holds out against the invaders.

And life is not easy for the Roman legionaries who garrison the fortified camps of Totorum, Aquarium, Laudanum and Compendium

Opening introduction of each Asterix comic

The story is set at the time when France was invaded by the Roman Empire (1st Century BC to 5AD). At the time France as called La Gaule and the people here were referred to Les Gaulois.

If you tour around Paris’s Left Bank or around the South of France, you will see one Roman monument after another. It is in this era that the comic books are set.

Fun Fact: Today in French we call “Pays des Galles” or Country of the Galles, to refer to another country: Wales.

Julius Caesar and Cleopatra are on the throne (hence the statues of them all over park) and the people of the village that Asterix lives in are cheerfully trying to continue their way of life.

To keep the Romans at bay, The old druid Panoramix (Getafix in the English version) creates a magical potion. If the Romans get too aggressive, Asterix drinks the potion, becomes super-strong and puts them back into their place.

With his little dog with his friend Obelix, who fell in the magic potion as a baby, Asterix continues on this merry adventures to this day.

Fun Conspiracy Theory: It would seem that Charles de Gaulle (i.e. Charles of Old France), had a very patriotic name as he was leading the French Resistance against the Nazis in World War II. In the words of Shakespeare, would a rose by any other name smell as sweet?

Rollercoasters at Parc Asterix
Rollercoasters at Parc Asterix

Overview of Parc Asterix

Parc Astérix itself has 7 sections: 

  • Via Antiqua which is the main street with shops and restaurants. Also where the parades are held.
  • the Roman Empire which has a large theatre with several shows during the day
  • Ancient Greece and the dolphin pool show.
  • The village of the Gaulois where you will find the characters of the Asterix comic books.
  • Land of the Vikings with several large rollercoasters.
  • Medieval France which is a covered section featuring a village in the middle ages and their knights.
  • Egypt which is the newest section featuring a giant Egyptian monument and the park’s newest rollercoaster.

There is a bit of everything for everyone at this park. I have been several times, with a group of adults, with 2 babies, and now 2 toddlers. There are enough rides sufficiently slow, or sufficiently fast, to make a great day out.

There are also several large restaurants with a good variety of food offerings, including a buffet at La Cirque if that is what you enjoy.

Download the app to keep up-to-date on how long the queues are, the food choices and more.

Medieval village at Parc Asterix
Medieval village at Parc Asterix

Parc Asterix vs Disneyland Paris

Since the story of the comics is based in France, Parc Asterix is a more authentically local theme park. As soon as you arrive, traditional music from Breton greets you as you enter.

There is no Mickey or Minnie dressed up (or heaven forbid the princesses), but there is a booth in the Gaulois village where you can take pictures with Asterix, Obelix, or whoever else is manning the booth that hour. The characters are a lot more accessible, rather than the “Hollywood star Mickey”. (I love Mickey, I’m just saying you can never get a picture alone with him, unless you are prepared to queue for an hour and/or elbow some small child out of the way!)

  • Cost: Asterix is probably a bit cheaper in terms of prices of food and tickets.
  • Accessibility: Disney wins this one, straight on RER B, it is much quicker to get to Disney, without waiting for any buses.
  • Number of Parks: Disneyland Paris is 2 parks which you have to buy separate tickets for, compared to 1 park ticket for Asterix.
  • Rides and shows: Plenty of rides and shows at both for kids and adults alike. You will not run out of things to do at either.
  • Hotels: Parc Asterix has fewer hotels around, but still plenty of accommodation.
Asterix and Obelix at Parc Asterix
Meet the Locals

Tips on Visiting Parc Asterix and FAQ

Is the park baby-friendly?

Yes, I didn’t have any trouble finding baby change tables and strollers are fine inside the park. Unless it is an expensive stroller, most people will leave them just outside each ride entrance as you hop on each ride. Just don’t leave anything valuable in there.

When to go to Parc Asterix?

Unlike Disney or Jardin d’Acclimatation, Parc Asterix is not open all year round. It is only open every day from June to August. At other times of the year the park is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, or not open at all.

Check the agenda carefully, as there are many days in the off-season when the park is not open.

Note: Parc Asterix is open the week of Christmas if you want to celebrate the holidays Gaullois style.

How to get to Parc Asterix?

Bus: The easiest way to get to Parc Asterix is by catching a Flixbux or Ouibus bus from the Louvre museum’s underground parking. They leave early in the morning and return around 6pm.
RER train: Take RER line B from Paris Gare du Nord. Get off at the stop “Aéroport Charles de Gaulle 1”. Head to the “Parc de Loisirs” desk where you will be directed to Parc Astérix shuttles (30 minutes between each shuttle).
Car: You can also rent a car to visit, Parc Asterix has a large parking lot attached.
Tours: There are several tour companies offering private transfers to and from the Park.

☞ RELATED POST: Visiting the family theme park: Jardin d’Acclimatation

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