French Road Trip - Part One


As my best friend lives in France I like to make the effort to cross the water once a year to visit. This of course in no way helped by the fact that he works at Disneyland. You know, the happiest place on earth? Well, if you insist! I usually try to make a bit of a trip of it by adding in some other French parks along the way, and this time we decided to hit up the following:

Walygator Parc
Fraispertuis City
Nigloland (before you get all offended it means HEDGEHOG, OK?)
Disneyland Paris
Parc Asterix

So yeah, a nice busy few days and the opportunity to spend time with some loved ones to boot! Here's what we got up to on the first two days.

So the main reason for heading to Walygator Parc was for Monster - a huge old school B&M invert that used to live in Japan now happily living out the rest of its days in French suburbia. We'd heard...not great things about the rest of Walygator as a park so the plan was to head here for opening, get the creds, have a few rides on Monster and hit the rode for Fraispertuis City by 1PM. Solid plan.













Turns out the park was actually quite lovely, and whilst I didn't feel like I missed anything per se I definitely wouldn't have said no to a few more hours there, just to slow down the pace if anything. Monster was great, I always forget just how much of a punch those early B&M models packed so it really took my breath away on our first go! The other coasters weren't really much to write home about, but definitely need to give a shout out to the fab dinosaur themed rapids unashamedly pumping out the Jurassic Park soundtrack. Because, hey, no European non-chain park is complete without some casual copyright infringement!

Creds in the bag we hopped back in the trusty Fiat 500 towards the French/Swiss/German border to a little known park by the name of Fraispertuis City - home of Europe's steepest rollercoaster believe it or not! We passed the journey time by having a gayest playlist-off. Ben won, because his included the Heaven remix of My Heart Will Go On. He truly out-gayed himself. 

To say Fraispertuis City wasn't what we expected was an understatement. The best way I can describe it is like a US Highway sideshow attraction...but in France. Yeah, very odd indeed. But even stranger is these little European parks tend to be charmingly rough around the edges, but Fraispetuis City was just genuinely a quality attraction. Clearly money is being pumped in here as a lot of rides appeared recently themed - awesome! My guess is that having Europe's steepest coaster has put them on the map somewhat and they're reinvesting by sprucing the place up!












Timber Drop, the aforementioned steepest in Europe, doesn't really do anything for me. I'm not a fan of these coaster types (too much hangtime/discomfort for me) but with its giant tree theming and unusual layout it's undeniably eye-catching.

The thing I love about smaller European parks is that you are almost always guaranteed a WTF moment, and Fraispertuis City has two. First up, they have a mini-drop tower themed to a giant cactus, because why the fuck not? I'm not going to spoil what it does, but it's vile in a good way. Secondly is the seemingly innocent family Soquet coaster at the centre of the park. This thing is INSANE! Ridiculous laterals all over the place and a real sense of 'oh no I'm gunna die' - everything one can hope for in a family coaster!

Sadly our time as this fab little park was short lived and the clock was soon chiming for 5PM and it was time to get back on the road to our hotel for the night - Hotel des Pirates at Nigloland!

So, something weird started happening on this drive - loads of cars kept flashing us. We kept stopping and pulling over to check, but we couldn't see anything wrong so shrugged our shoulders and continued on our way. More of that later.




I love staying at resort hotels, and was looking forward to what Hotel des Pirates would have in store - and also reuniting with Alex! First impressions were that this place was a little ghetto fabulous - it had fairy-lights hanging in the lobby for Christ's sake! Reception was also littered with vulgar pirate animatronics and palm trees - fab, but in a tacky kind of way. Oh, and the bar was a giant pirate ship complete with topless mermaid - because Europe, right? We met up with Alex and his boyfriend Michael, had a catch-up over cocktails (on the house because of ticket/lost in translation faff) and headed for bed in our fabulously themed rooms (I didn't take any pics so you'll have to use your imagination!).

Conor and I had been to Nigloland before but the others hadn't, so I was looking forward to what they thought. If you ask me, I would describe Nigloland in one word. Nice. It's just nice. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing over the top amazing, just nice. Which is great, we want theme parks to be nice, right? I'm lucky because whenever I've visited the weather has been lovely and so I guess I've always seen the park in a nice light, however I can't help but feel if the weather were a little more miserable on my visits maybe my opinion would change.










So there are a few things I love about Nigloland. First off, it has an amazing Haunted House. Clearly inspired by Haunted Mansion at Disneyland (hey, aren't they all?) but it's ridiculously long and has loads of practical effects and animatronics. Real old school ghoulish kitschy fun. And its facade is amazing!




Secondly it has a great retro 1950s America themed land that is just an Instagrammable dream - fun of pastel colours and neon signs. I could spend all day just wandering around taking pics. I'm always surprised that more parks don't opt for this theme, there's so many opportunities for what you can do with it and make it look really lively and colourful!







Finally, Alpina Blitz lives here. It doesn't look much but the combination of layout and awesomely designed restraints means there's just airtime everywhere! Annoyingly they were only operating one train meaning we got a lot less rerides than we'd have liked, but hey ho!








Our relaxing day at Nigloland came to an end when we headed back to our car and finally spotted what all those drivers flashing at us had been trying to tell us. Our tyres were threadbare. For those of you who don't drive - that basically means they're fucked and could burst at any moment. Not good. And, Europe being Europe of course getting hold of a tyre at 6PM on a weekday was going to be impossible, so we opted for the alternative - drive at 60mph back to Paris. It only took 3 hours in the end, but less than ideal! Oh well, a day at Disneyland the next day definitely helped take the edge off!

That's it for part one! Click here to check out part two where we head to Disneyland! If you'd like more info on how to book a short break to Nigloland, check out this post which is all about lesser known European parks and how to get to them!

Thanks so much for reading, talk later xoxo


CONVERSATION

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