Jardin d'Acclimatation

31st August 2004

Jardin d'Acclimatation

We began our last day in France independently, with George heading for some shops and me heading towards the keynote presentation for the Apple Expo. The chief piece of news at the latter was the announcement of the iMac G5, a device which will almost certainly be used to prevent a few alien invasions over the next few years. Hollywood never lies, right?

When the presentation ended I headed for the park. The entry price was a very reasonable €2.50, though that price did not include any rides. We decided to take a look around before spending any more money, as there were various deals to be had for larger quantities of tokens. In the end, we settled for the coasters alone, hardly a surprise in a park of this nature. The only thing among the rides that I had not seen before was a wave swinger running backwards, but we were well into money saving mode at this stage!

Papillons d'Alice (#357) is a junior version of the ubiquitous Reverchon spinning mouse coaster. Photographs on the Internet had led me to believe that this ride was tiny, but it was actually a reasonable size, almost as big as the adult version. The layout was considerably more tame, featuring no major drops, but as it was the ride seemed just right for those wanting to try their first coaster. Of particular note was the device used to straighten the cars at the end of the circuit; it latched onto the car smoothly and rotated it with no bumps whatsoever; Maurer Söhne could definitely learn from this!

The ride operator on Dragon (#358) told us that his attraction dated from 1980. Like Looping a few days ago, this coaster appears to have been used by Soquet to test an experimental propulsion system. In this case, there is no motor on the train or a chain lift; instead, there are a few separate tyre drive sections in different locations of the first half of the track up to the highest point. They are triggered by a clever mechanism that ensures the wheels only receive electrical power when the train is passing them. Anyone know if this scheme is in use on other rides?

We finished up the day with a circuit on the Tacot Express, a surprisingly good powered coaster with an intense (but very smooth) helix in the latter half of the course. A section of the track was lined with coloured lighting though this was not switched on during our visit; it seems likely that it is only used after dark.


The end of the trip

31st August 2004

At this stage it was time for George to leave to catch his early evening flight back to England. Luck was not on his side; his flight ended up being cancelled due to technical problems, and he was rerouted to London Gatwick with a long coach journey back to Birmingham. He ended up arriving home at almost three in the morning.

I headed across to the Apple Expo show floor to take a look around. Unfortunately, my French was simply not good enough to find out everything I wanted to know, though I did find the occasional exhibitor who could speak English. Fatigue had really caught up with me at this point, so I returned to the hostel for a few hours rest before going out for dinner, and then on to the Eiffel Tower. For those who are not aware, a lighting system has been installed on the tower which makes it sparkle brightly for the first ten minutes of every hour after dark. It is quite a sight to behold, and was a fitting way to end my few days in France.

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Jardin d'Acclimatation

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