Parc Saint Paul

29th August 2004

Parc Saint Paul is located in the absolute middle of nowhere, with the nearest landmark of any note being Beauvais Airport. This location is known by Ryanair as Paris-Beauvais which stretches the definition of truth more than a little, though to be fair it was only a ninety minute drive from our hostel. We could only begin the morning with the smallest coaster in the park, and thus we joined the short queue for Mini Mouse Cartoon (#349). This ride was one of three new attractions in the park this year, and can be thought of as the top section from a traditional wild mouse ride. The layout has a maximum height differential of about five feet, so it can hardly be described as thrilling, but it was still an entertaining experience. The seats were also large enough for adults to fit with no trouble at all.

Parc Saint Paul

The best choice in the park for my three hundred and fiftieth coaster seemed to be Looping (#350). This ride was initially built in the early eighties, though it was only installed in this park last year. Unusually the ride features an electric motor on board rather than a chain lift, though it does not in fact fit the powered coaster category for a simple reason; the hot rail only continues to half way through the vertical loop, with the remaining layout covered by momentum alone. Once was enough due to the rather unforgiving restraint design, though we'd have ridden more with better padding.

The Pax Company is a relatively new entrant to the amusement manufacturing business. Their first coaster outside of their homeland of Russia was the Wild Train (#351), and it was well deserving of its name. Though it didn't look like much at first glance it proved surprisingly intense with some sharp transitions that somehow managed to remain smooth despite appearances to the contrary. It was nice to see that the tire driven lift hill has been enclosed to allow it to remain operational in wet weather; Zierer should take note!

The Tour Descente Extreme was also built by Pax, and perhaps unsurprisingly was one of the most intense giant drops I've had the privilege of riding. The design is a gravity model, featuring a single car covering the entire tower and seating sixteen at once. It has a ridiculously slow ascent to the top, taking the better part of two minutes to reach the fifty metre summit. The only negative was the restraint design, which was clearly built with some seriously horizontally challenged people in mind. There were a full six inches between the front of my restraint and the front of me. This did of course amplify the sensation of free fall, but there were definite safety implications when the brakes are applied, as riders may find it difficult to keep their backs fully straight.

Parc Saint Paul

It took us some time to locate the third new for 2004 attraction in the park, despite it being clearly indicated on the park map. The Formula 1 coaster built by Pax was sadly not available for us to ride today. On the way out of the park later in the day we noticed a sign indicating that it would be opening next year; I guess the park map had just been printed a long time in advance. It seems that Pax are using Parc Saint Paul as a showcase for their rides in Europe; perhaps the park is getting them on the cheap in exchange for the advertising?

We passed a few minutes with the Terror Festival dark ride against our better judgement. It looked on the outside like a cheap and cheerful carnival ride, as indeed it was.

I'm moderately ashamed to admit that we waited over half an hour to ride the final coaster in the park, the Family Coaster (#352). This appears to be a slightly larger version of the standard Big Apple, albeit with the apple missing. Like the one at Nigloland, it had a trim brake on the only major drop, though it wasn't being applied as severely here (and the train here did have up stops).

 

Mer de Sable

29th August 2004

Mer de Sable has a singularly unfortunate web site address of www.merdesable.fr. For those that don't speak French, suffice it to say that the first two words of the park name spell out a word which the age bracket the park is aimed at is not supposed to know. Having said that, it is not entirely inappropriate for a park that features a large number of horses.

Train du Colorado (#353) feels like a low budget version of Big Thunder Mountain at Disneyland. It is not a bad coaster by any means, though very short; slightly over two thirds of the ride time is taken up by what has to be the slowest lift hill in the known universe. Apparently the coaster was bought second hand and customised by the park into their own layout, which accounts for the tight integration with the terrain. The only other coaster in the park is the Dragon de Bei Hai (#354), my second encounter with this particular design by Cavazza Diego. There was a fairly substantial wait, but we passed the time trying to figure out the way the ride was powered. Our conclusion was a single motor and hydraulics going to the tires on the lift hill. If any engineers reading this would like to correct me please do send an e-mail.

We did have a good look around the park, reasoning that it we would be very unlikely to return here at any stage in the near future. We passed on both the rapids and the log flume, as both looked particularly wet and it wasn't that warm. We skipped the Ferris Wheel due both to a wait that looked like about half an hour and the ride location, where it would be difficult to get good photos of the park.

2004


Parc Saint Paul

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Mer de Sable

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