The original plan for day two of our trip featured two parks separated by just under three hundred kilometres of driving. The relatively relaxed schedule gave us somewhere in the region of five hours of park time that we intended to divide more or less evenly between the two locations.
While reviewing the itinerary yesterday evening I realised that we'd be travelling within a few kilometres of a third potential hit that was open until 7:00pm, and that location was sufficiently remote that it could be a long time before we'd be in a position to shoehorn it into another itinerary. The inevitable reshuffle limited us to a maximum of one hour in each park, but we decided that was a price worth paying to tick off a slightly ridiculous self-operated family coaster.
Parc Ange Michel
19th April 2022
We arrived at Parc Ange Michel a few minutes before the posted 10:30am opening, and immediately noticed an improvement to the guest experience when compared to our last visit: a single combined queue had been constructed for the three ticket windows, eliminating the bottleneck that caught us out back in 2017. I can only assume that someone from the park read my trip report; to that person, I say merci beaucoup!
The park’s tallest roller coaster is a standard layout Zamperla Twister Coaster that has the distinction of being one of the few attractions visible from the gate. Tornado had been running test cars while we were buying tickets, so we decided it was worth heading there for a token lap ahead of the multitudes. After a short walk we arrived to see two cars stopped on track, one on the lift and the second in the upper level block brake – with a member of staff climbing up to it via an access ladder. The problem was clearly going to take at least a few minutes to solve, and given our time constraints it seemed smartest to go tick off our other target and come back when done.
In due course we arrived at Tourbillon, a figure eight spinning coaster produced by Gosetto and (in theory at least) a nice change from the ubiquitous SBF models. Sadly we found it in an advanced state of non-functionality. We subsequently learned from the park director that an electrical doohickey had failed the previous day after almost five years of trouble free operation. A replacement had been ordered from the manufacturer, but it wasn’t expected for at least a few days, meaning that there was precisely zero chance of it arriving before our hard cut off departure time. There was nothing we could do.
Ten minutes later we arrived back at Tornado, where we found that the car that had been stopped in the brake had since valleyed in the half-drop after the initial series of switchbacks. While the operators had vanished, a number of park personnel had already begun the recovery process using a cherry picker and a hokey but entirely effective canvas strap. After about fifteen minutes of imprecation, gesticulation, and fulmination the car was winched up to the apex, unhooked, and given a push. Those of us watching from the sidelines held our breath as the car came within inches of rolling back a second time, but fortunately it made it. A few minutes later the ride opened and we got our lap in. The experience wasn’t great – there wasn’t a lot of spinning, and the ride clattered far more than it should have done – but it was definitely better than nothing.
La Recré des 3 Curés
19th April 2022
It took us three long hours to drive to the Land of the 3 Priests, though on the plus side the journey was almost all motorway and there were no tolls to pay – a rarity in France, where it isn’t unusual for road charges to triple the cost of a journey. Our mid-afternoon arrival qualified us for a discounted admission of €21 apiece, which was a nice bonus given that our visit was only ever going to be a hit and run.
Vertika (#2984) is the world’s newest Gerstlauer Eurofighter and the twenty-fourth example of the type, premiering 7 months and 12 days after the previous version opened at Nickelodeon Universe. The ride is a custom design that uses the park terrain to great effect, with a beyond-vertical drop that stretches several metres beyond the overall lift height. We made the most of the single rider queue, bypassing a forty minute wait for two seats in the left hand side of the back row. Regular readers will be painfully aware that these are not always optimum for Eurofighters, but there was no issue here; the comfort level was fine despite the trains suffering from unnecessary over-the-shoulder restraints. Both inversions were navigated effortlessly. I decided against tempting fate with a second lap, but I suspect it wouldn’t have been a problem.
On the way back to the entrance I enjoyed a ride on the Soquet-built Grand Huit. The park’s original coaster is probably best thought of as a mine train without the mine; the helix-laden layout picks up quite a bit of speed and feels considerably faster than it is thanks to the close proximity of trees and foliage. The ride was operating a two lap cycle which saved me the trouble of queuing a second time.
Parc d'Attractions Odet Loisirs
19th April 2022
Parc d'Attractions Odet Loisirs is an activity park for children located on the outskirts of Quimper in north-western France. It caught the attention of enthusiasts a year ago when a random traveller discovered Draisine (#2985), a self-operated U-shaped shuttle that can be thought of as a homespun Sunkid Heege Butterfly. In theory individual guests can pull themselves to the start point using guide ropes – gloves are provided – but in practice there’s way too much friction for that. I was able to move the car a few feet on my own, but relied on the assistance of George to get it to a point where it could actually roll and coast. The ride is a unique novelty, and while it is unlikely to feature on top ten lists in the near future it’s definitely a fun way to pass time if you’re in the area.
The rest of the park is lovely, too. It consists of around two dozen self-operated attractions surrounding a lake, including zip lines, slides, comedy bikes, and pedal boats. If I was ten years old again this would be heaven, and even though I’m not I nevertheless managed to have a very good time indeed.
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