Thursday, October 29, 2009
Happy Birthday, Asterix!
Today, October 29, Asterix celebrates 50 years of 'Gallic resistance'. For the last 50 years this famous French character kept the nation's heroism alive. It sounds a bit mushy, but it's true. Asterix is one of the means through which French people bond, he is the image of their patriotism.
However French solidarity was put to test, starting from 1992, when competition came along. It was the year when a second Disneyland Resort was opened outside the United States. It was believed to be the end of business for Park Asterix, but the popularity of both increased, exposing Asterix to foreigners as well.
Despite this synergistic effect it's hard not to notice the battle going on. Mickey Mouse or Asterix? The two cartoon figures are central icons for the 2 major Amusements Parks in Paris: Disneyland Resort Paris and Parc Asterix.
For French people there is definitely no dilemma here. Asterix would easily defeat Mickey in a one to one confrontation.
But what about the rest of us, the tourists, the foreigners, the neutral ones? The easy way out is to visit both of them; but what if you only have time for one park? then what?
Disney for sure has a lot more marketing behind. Ads everywhere, easy access, a metro station with its name... whereas Asterix has a shuttle bus hidden in the Louvre underground parking with no signs pointing to it, and with only a few words on their website describing how to find access; it's like a quest, only when you find your way to the park you truly deserve to be a visitor. As an excuse for them we could say they keep a low profile, addressing only to the connoisseurs. Not to say that they only have their website in French.
"Pour y accéder :
Louvre (métro Palais Royal) : Accès par l'entrée du Carroussel du Louvre (rue Rivoli) ou par la Pyramide.
Prendre l'escalator situé Hall Charles V (au niveau des boutiques). Départ journalier à 8h30. Retour à 18h30 du Parc Astérix. Tarif aller-retour : adulte 20€ et enfant (3 à 11 ans) 16€.
Informations complémentaires au 0826 30 10 40 (0,15€/min). "
Meaning that when you get to the Louvre Museum, from the rue Rivoli outside, you will see a tiny entrance that says Carroussel du Louvre, the door has a red semi-round roof. Inside there are stores. Find the escalators (follow the Charles V sign), and you will soon get to the underground parking. Somewhere around, there's a shuttle bus. It only has a small sign with Asterix so look well. You will arrive to the park in about 45min - 1 hour.
By now you would definitely say that Disney wins... but surprisingly it's not that simple. That is because Asterix has a lot to offer once you get there.
By comparison I could say that Disney is more for families and children, and that Asterix has more thrill: don't miss Tonnerre de Zeus and Goudurix. If you enjoy 360s and sudden drops Asterix has them.
The advantage Disney holds is that it is open all year long due to its inside roller coasters, while Asterix opens only from April to October.
No matter which character you are loyal to, you should visit both parks; it's good to know what the other team has to offer ;)