Micky Mouse might have his own Parisian residence at Disneyland Paris, but the real star of the French cartoon world is Asterix, the focal point of the famous Parc Astérix theme park. Asterix, along with his sidekick Obelix, are from the popular comic books by Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny - two plucky Gauls resisting the Roman Army and getting into a number of adventures along the way.
Even if you’re not familiar with the characters, Parc Astérix still makes for a fun family day out and is an easy side trip, just 35 km north of Paris. France’s second largest theme park, it has been running since 1989 and is now home to seven themed adventure areas. An array of rides and live shows take visitors on a journey through history, with displays including French legends like the Three Musketeers, a Gaul village, a collection of towering Viking boats, a Roman arena and a show of French legionnaires.
There are 33 themed rides, including the 1.2-km Tonnerre de Zeus, the largest wooden roller-coaster in Europe, with speeds reaching 80km/h; Le Grand Splash, where water sprays and an 11-meter waterfall will ensure you wind up soaking wet; Goudurix, a huge seven-loop roller coaster; and the Wooden Horse of Troy which offers some incredible views over the park. Particularly popular are the live shows, which include a dolphin and sea lion show and a variety of historical spectaculars featuring gasp-worthy swordplay routines and horseback stunts.