The summer chunnel officially became a tradition this year, but we’re having to delve deeper into the country each time to get something notable out of it. Fortunately France seems to be on the up when it comes to good investments recently, so lets check a couple of them out.
Day 1 – Parc Le Pal
For some reason the main road to this park from Calais takes you directly through the middle of Paris, which was less than ideal given the length of the drive. There were wild plans of a more ambitious cred run on the cards, but we arrived already overtired and stupidly hot in the middle of the afternoon and only just about managed to drag our feet into this place.
In anticipation of greater plans (or not wanting to suffer queues in the heat, as previously experienced on July weekends in France) we had also picked up a fastrack deal online as it was only 6 euros on top of entry to skip 6 of the major ride queues. The system was unusual, using a pink plastic wristband that had tear-off tokens – one for each ride. It was a little tricky to do from your own arm, particularly while expectant ride staff are watching you struggle and operations are being held up.
Did you know that Reverchon made something other than a spinner? Well here’s one of them. Look at that beautiful B&M inspiring drop entry.
It’s a respectable enough family coaster. More interesting than your standard Vekoma Junior entry.
Good face on the train, asian themed station, what more could you want?
From there we skipped the queue for Azteka, which broke down in front of us. Don’t be spitey Soquet.
Talking of spitey, thought we’d better get the Intamin out of the way. It’s a French clone of Juvelen – Sascha Czibulka’s favourite ride.
I like Juvelen a lot. It packs a real punch for the size and target audience. The turns can get really forceful, there’s a couple of whippy transitions and the second launch really grabs and drags you hard.
Yukon Quad doesn’t quite meet the theming standards of the original. The preshow contains only revving noises and smoke rather than statues jiggling their spears.
The outside area looks to be nicer, but doesn’t really manage it on ride. There’s a bit more consistent landscaping throughout with the rockwork and it’s all a lot more accessible for pictures – you can get around the outside of most of the layout. But the rocks are just there, where Juvelen has the archways/pillars and water features that give significant interaction to riders before it becomes a field at the end.
We then stumbled back on Azteka the very second it happened to reopen. This park has a good train face game – love this one even more.
It might be my new favourite Soquet (sorry Gaz Express). It moves with a real sense of purpose, it has character and it kicks some ass. The ride starts off bigger than I expected, helixing then hurtling down that first drop. Some forceful and shaky turns follow before a Shambhala style zero-F (Force) hill, rounded off by another helix with square corners. Quality.
Talking of quality, it time to get the final coaster in the park, a Mack Spinning coaster. I was going to say French Dwervelwind, but this version was built first first, so French Dutch Twist.
It lacks the on-board sound of its twin and we only gave it one opportunity (where Dwervy was only really good in 1 out of 3 attempts), but this one grabbed that single chance and rode very well for us.
Forceful spinning, twisty layout. There’s a fun little lurch in a sharp downwards transition that I haven’t noticed before. It is a bit too short though, ending with a underwhelming sense of abruptness just as you really get into it.
Creds complete, we considered the Disko purely for the sake of fully utilising our wristbands but it had no queue to skip anyway and they aren’t particularly pleasant rides.
Did this instead because it amuses. Didn’t know there were so many of them, my King Kong flat ride count is up to 3!
The water rides were also included in the big 6 rides, so took a courtesy lap on them, skipping the most significant queues of the park due to the weather. It all paid off nicely.
Log flume was short and mostly pointless. Potentially the same as Walygator’s, realising as it sets off that it’s just a bit of meandering before a single drop.
The Rapids was alright. A bit on the tame side and not wet enough for a hot day. The manufacturer, Soquet, didn’t try and channel the spirit of Hafema here sadly.
As it was too hot for more rides, impressed a staff lady with my French and had some ice cream instead.
Then checked out the animals. For normal people, this place is actually more zoo than amusement park.
Too hot for snow leopards. Poor thing.
Too hot for elephants? Probably, they were covering themselves in dust and then trying to topple this tree.
Too hot for more.
And that was Le Pal. Liked it more than I had anticipated from when I only knew it as the park that irked me by getting a Juvelen clone. Nice little place to spend half a day.