September 5th, 2021


A View To A Swim 4: Tuesday

On Tuesday, I set off to do something I'd wanted to do ever since slemslempike posted about it years ago.

I was going to Parc Astérix.

I was a little cheesed off to be charged for parking a motorbike, a first for me in France (in fact, charging for parking at all seems mean, since you'd only be there to visit the park), but it wore off as I walked through the entry and saw the charming, themed shops and stalls spread out before me, with a giant Asterix overseeing his kingdom from a mountain peak like a benign Olympian. I got a coffee in a paper cup with Dogmatix on and sat down with a map of the park to plan my attack.

The first thing I saw was a Roman centurion putting her legionaries through their drill. Of course, they all got it wrong and had to do press-ups. I retreated when they started looking for recruits, and joined the queue for the '4D cinema', where 3D glasses, moving seats and splashes of water let you experience life in the Gaulish village and a fight with some Romans.

Most of the rides I went on were family-friendly; my favourites are the kind where you are transported gently round the park looking at scenes and characters, or ride a slow-moving carriage that eventually trundles into a pool of water and soaks you (I had wet pants for much of the day). But right at the end I queued for the mighty 'Tonnerre de Zeus', an old-style wooden roller coaster that rattled along magnificently and was thrilling without being terrifying. I also loved sitting at a circular bar with my legs dangling, drinking a virgin mojito, while the whole outfit slowly climbed into the air and began to revolve for a panoramic view of the park.

The day flew by, thanks in part to how much of it I spent in queues. A quick trip to the gift shop, where a cuddly Dogmatix insisted on following me home, and I headed back to my hotel to take a COVID test and upload the (negative) result in the hope I would be allowed back in the UK the following day.

Then I celebrated my successful trip with a nice meal outside a bar, on the town square, by the fountain, as the sun went down. This was the sort of thing I'd missed.