Like those of the architect Numérobis, who was commissioned by Cleopatra to build a palace in a hurry, the workers of Parc Astérix would not mind a little magic potion. New attractions, restaurants, musicals, parades, haunted houses, hotels... Construction sites are multiplying in the amusement park of Plailly (Oise), which intends to invest massively over the next five years to transform itself. By 2028, a four-hectare area of the park will have been completely rebuilt.
The Gauls could have rested on their laurels, they who have already inaugurated in spring the Toutatis Festival, a thematic area at 36 million euros - a record investment since the opening of the park in 1989 - crowned by the eponymous roller coaster which accumulates all the superlatives: France speed record, European record for the number of accelerations, World record for the number of "Air Times" (the moments when you take off from the seat). A real success: this season, Asterix broke its all-time attendance record with 2.8 million visitors, consolidating its position as the second largest French park behind the giant Disneyland Paris (15 million in 2022) and distancing the Puy du Fou (2.6 million in 2023). That's 60% more visitors than ten years ago. So the park does not intend to stop there and is putting the finishing touches to its "ten-year master plan", reports its general manager Delphine Pons. On average, 20% of turnover (€170 million in 2022) will be reinvested each year.
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A new attraction in 2024
The programme is already full for 2024, the year of the 35th anniversary of the site and, happily aligned with the calendars, the 65th birthday of the Gallic hero. The Numerical Tower, a new family-friendly attraction, will take visitors on flying chairs 40 meters high. The Grand Splatch, an emblematic aquatic attraction from the beginning, will be rethematized as Revenge of the Pirates, featuring the unfortunate sailors who revolt, tired of being sunk with each album in the comic book.
In 2024, the Numerical Tower will take visitors on flying chairs 40 meters high. Parc Astérix
A Hispanic float will enrich the parade. On Halloween, the more adventurous will be able to scare themselves in a new "Gallo-Roman" haunted house, after the success of the one already built this autumn. And, the highlight of the show, "C'est du délire", the first musical comedy featuring the Gallic heroes of Goscinny and Uderzo, will be performed five times a day from 30 March.
Target: three million annual visitors
Ten million euro birthday presents, says the park, whose next roadmap is starting to take shape. In 2025, in the Gaul themed area, a new large-scale family attraction will replace the mythical Nationale 7, which closed at the beginning of November. Parc Astérix is still jealously guarding the details of this project, but "it will be an attraction where visitors will be transported," says Guy Vassel, deputy general manager, who promises new sensations and "sharing" since passengers will be seated face to face.
The following year, two "children's" attractions and a "very large restaurant" were added to the Greek area. Then in 2027 and 2028, the entire Rue de Paris area, a little outdated and unrelated to the world of Asterix, will be demolished to be replaced by new attractions, restaurants and shops, on a theme "from comics".
The water attraction Le Grand Splatch, which had no theme or story, will welcome the pirates sunk by Asterix and Obelix. Parc Astérix
These are gargantuan investments, but they are necessary to keep the park attractive in the face of tough competition from the sector. A few dozen kilometers away, Disneyland put two billion euros on the table in 2018 for a major development plan. Guy Vassel points out that the goal is to reach three million visitors a year. To absorb them, in addition to the increase in capacity made possible by the novelties in the park, Asterix is counting on the gradual expansion of its opening schedule.
Longer length of stay
In just a few years, Parc Astérix has already begun its transformation, riding on the excellent momentum of the sector since Covid-19. Turnover has doubled in six years. Visitors come from further afield, including from abroad (15% in 2023). The park also hopes to surf on the Olympic Games next summer and its proximity to the capital, thanks to advertising campaigns in English aimed at tourists passing through Paris. "They'll need to have fun between the events," says Guy Vassel, "and the most French park is Asterix!»
Spending per visitor is also increasing and stays are getting longer thanks to the development of the site's hotel capacity, which has increased from 100 to 450 rooms in five years. A fourth hotel is planned for the end of 2026, "on a theme inspired by one of the journeys of the Gallic heroes".
Parc Astérix is the figurehead of its owner, the Compagnie des Alpes, which also has under its wing the Futuroscope, the Walibi parks and the Grévin museum. The Gallic recipe, based on massive investments and the extension of the operating season, is being applied to all its other parks, and it is paying off: +5.2% of visitors over the last season, i.e. 10.6 million cumulatively in all the group's sites. So much so that, for the second year in a row, the turnover of Compagnie des Alpes' leisure parks business (€526 million in the 2022-2023 financial year) exceeded that of ski resorts (€489 million), the group's historical activity.