Life-size characters at Parc Astérix near Paris
Stuart Bak

Parc Asterix Vs Disneyland Paris Guide

Ah, Paris! City of Love, City of Light, City of… Thrill Rides? Ok, so roller coasters and log flumes might not be the very first things that spring to mind when you think of the French capital. But, in fact, the country’s two most popular theme parks both lie just 20 miles from the city center: Parc Astérix to the north, and Disneyland Paris out east in Chessy. But which has the most rides? Where will you find the fastest coasters? And which is more geared towards families? Read on as we present the case for each and try to answer the burning question: which is better… Parc Astérix or Disneyland Paris?

Parc Astérix Vs Disneyland Paris Guide: Parc Astérix

Roller coaster ride at Parc Astérix near Paris

Name: Parc Astérix.

Age: The Astérix stories are set deep in Roman times (around 50 BC, to be precise) but the park hasn’t been around quite as long as that. It opened to the general public on 30 April, 1989.

Location: The park is 22 miles north of Paris in the commune of Plailly. The easiest way to get there is via the A1 motorway to Lille. Parking is €20 for the day.

Parc Astérix in a nutshell: In case you hadn’t already guessed from the name, Parc Astérix is themed around the Astérix comic book series by René Goscinny. Familiar to any child of the 1980s, this popular series (later also a TV cartoon) followed the adventures of hapless Gaulish warriors Asterix and Obelix and their Rome-resisting fellow villagers in the time of Julius Caesar. The hugely popular park (second only to Disneyland Paris in France, fact fans) takes these beloved characters as the starting point for a quite epic selection of thrill rides, family friendly shows and other attractions, and is particularly celebrated for its fine selection of roller coasters, boasting a greater number than many other theme parks in France. There’s stacks to do here and the park is of course particularly appealing for fans of the diminutive Gallic (or should that be Gaulic?) icon.

Parc Astérix: Vital Statistics 

 

Child meeting Obelix at Parc Astérix near Paris
  • Size: 83 acres, but packs quite a punch despite its relatively small size.
  • Number of attractions: there are somewhere in the region of 44 attractions, including eight roller coasters, seven water rides, a 4D cinema, a dolphinarium and a whole host of gentle family rides. Zones are themed regionally, among them Rome, Paris, Greece and Ancient Egypt, all rendered in the same visual style as the comic books.
  • Number of hotels: three 3-4-star hotels, all within 10 minutes’ walk of the park, and all including access 30 minutes before the general public.
  • Visitors: around 2.8 million annually.

Parc Astérix Highlights

Roller coaster at Parc Astérix near Paris

Adrenalin fiends will be in clover at Parc Astérix, thanks to a hair-raising selection of thrill rides that includes the terrifying Toutatis, only the tallest and fastest roller coaster in France, with top speeds of 66 mph. Yikes. But that’s just for starters. There’s also the inverted loops, twists and turns of Oziris, and the wooden Tonnerre 2 Zeus coaster, on which the various bumps, drops and acceleration points mean bums can be expected to leave seats a total of 14 times.

Also not to be missed, the Menhir Express log flume delivers that most essential of theme park experiences: the complete drenching. Thirsty for more? Hit up the huge inflatable dinghies on the snaking L'Oxygénarium water slide or hope aboard the Romus et Rapidus river rapids ride.

There are plenty of family rides, too, including spinning cauldrons, enchanting riverboat rides and carousels, as well as attractions specifically tailored to toddlers: mini trains and planes, swings, playgrounds and more. Don’t miss the regular shows that take place throughout the day; you’ll find the meet and greet with legendary Gauls including Obelix, Falbala, Panoramix and Asterix himself just beyond the Menhir Express.

Find out more and book your Parc Astérix tickets here. Parc Astérix is also included with The Paris Pass, which can save you money when visiting multiple attractions in and around Paris.

Parc Astérix Vs Disneyland Paris Guide: Disneyland Paris

The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland Paris

Name: Known as Euro Disney in its infancy, it has been Disneyland Paris (and occasionally Disneyland Resort Paris) since 1994.

Age: The park opened in April 1992; a second park, Walt Disney Studios Park, was added to the complex in 2002.

Location: The park is 20 miles east of Paris in the commune of Chessy. Direct RER trains run regularly from central Paris, taking 35-40 minutes.

Disneyland Paris in a nutshell: Walt’s Paris outpost needs little introduction. This juggernaut of a theme park is Europe’s most popular, drawing around three times as many annual thrillseekers to its dual park-and-studios experience as its nearest rival (that’d be Europa-Park in south Germany).

Disneyland Paris: Vital Statistics

Suspension bridge at Disneyland Paris
  • Size: the resort spans a whopping 1,700 acres, including the Disney Village, Walt Disney Studios Park and a golf course. The Disneyland Paris park itself is around 140 acres. So about twice the size of Parc Astérix.
  • Number of attractions: there are around 49 attractions across the five zones, all radiating out from the central Sleeping Beauty Castle, and including Frontierland, Fantasyland and Adventureland.
  • Number of hotels: seven, from self-catering log cabins at the Davy Crockett Ranch 15 minutes’ drive from the park to the five-star fairytale that is the Disneyland Hotel right by the entrance .
  • Visitors: around 15 million people visit the resort every year.

Disneyland Paris Highlights

Disneyland Hotel at Disneyland Paris

It’s difficult to know where to start. Like, can you even say you’ve been to Disneyland Paris if you haven’t nabbed a selfie at the iconic Sleeping Beauty Castle, said ‘bonjour’ to Mickey and Donald, ridden the Disneyland Railroad, or lost your lunch on the Star Wars-themed Hyperspace Mountain? No, dear reader, you cannot.

There are loads more bucket-listers here, too. Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril should be considered essential for adrenaline heads, while Fantasyland attractions including the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups and Lancelot’s Carousel – not to mention the traditional Mickey meet and greet – will keep younger kids entertained.

For more movie-themed rides, big-budget shows and behind-the-scenes antics including the epic Marvel Avengers Campus, hop over to Walt Disney Studios Park. 

You can buy passes for one or both Disneyland Paris parks here. 

So... which is better: Parc Astérix or Disneyland Paris?

Which is better? How long is a piece of string? Both parks are family-friendly, chock full of rides and restaurants, and have ample accommodation for multi-day visits. Parc Astérix will appeal to young kids and nostalgic adults alike, with its abundance of thrilling roller coasters perhaps catering more to an older audience than the kid-focused Disneyland. Being smaller and less internationally well-known also makes Parc Astérix a good choice if you’re hoping for a quieter experience with fewer queues. However, young families will likely find more to enjoy at Disneyland, where the pulling power of Mickey Mouse remains undimmed, nearly a century after the big-eared rodent mascot was created.

Save on Activities, Tours & Attractions in Paris

Save on admission to Paris attractions including Parc Astérix with The Paris Pass. Check out @TheParisPass on Instagram for the latest top tips and attraction info.

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