Originally it was not planned to visit the Foire du Trône on a Thursday. However, as the French train company SNCF was supposed to go on strike the next day and it was therefore unclear whether and how often the Paris regional train RER would run to and from Torcy, I simply moved the planned visit to the French capital one day forward. Since it should remain dry until the evening, my first destination on this day was the Bois de Vincennes and with it a visit to the Foire du Trône.
The funfair officially opens at 12 o’clock. When I entered the square an hour later, there was naturally not much going on. Here and there there were some groups of visitors, but there was no trace of the showmen. Sometimes you didn’t even find them during the whole day. Good, in the evening it should rain. This might be reason enough for a French showman to stay away from work, but it casts an unnecessary shadow on this big event. Imagine such behaviour at a large funfair in Germany, at some point nobody would ever go there again.
Without being able to leave a great deal of money on the Foire du Trône, I was nevertheless happy to have some rides on rides that I had already had on my to-do list for some time. Only the main reason for the visit – a ride on the infamous Le King roller coaster – was to take longer. The start was made by the Jet Star roller coaster of the showman Montalétang.
This chic little darling from Schwarzkopf spent years in Holly Park, France, before it finally closed its doors in 2014. Prior to that, the Jet Star had stood for 24 years as Cortina Bob under the showman Steindl in Vienna’s Prater, before he ordered the Megablitz from Vekoma. In fact, the ride is the first Jet Star produced in Münsterhausen.
The ride begins with a short right-hand bend, which is immediately followed by the ride’s lift. At a height of 13m, we then pass through a rather wide bend, with the words Jet and Star on our left, briefly interrupted by the Olympic Rings on our right. With momentum we now rush down the first slope and it’ s steep! The bob-like sitting position does its best and thus provides the first moment of surprise of the ride. We whiz through the valley at full speed and immediately throw ourselves into the steep curve close to the ground, which revolutionised the roller coaster world at that time. Just below the lift hill we finish our ride and immediately start a longer ascent. Now on the second level we follow the track before the first gradient, before we say goodbye to the right and enter a Bayernkurve via a small gradient. Over hill and dale we now turn left along the front of the ride. In the following valley there is a short change of direction, whereupon we go through the back of the ride a third time. After a short left bend, we fall to the ground once more, whereupon we ride for a very long time through a right bend close to the ground, which tapers to an upward helix towards the end. This is followed by a short dip and an equally short ascent before the final downward helix awaits us. With momentum we then reach the brakes, which bring us to an unexpectedly gentle stop.
After having already tested two of the later City Jet rides, I was very excited about a ride in an original Jet Star and was very positively surprised. The ride on the meanwhile 50 year old roller coaster is simply a lot of fun due to its racy curves and the straight drop at the beginning of the ride. The ride characteristics are still indisputably great, a real Schwarzkopf roller coaster. It’s just a pity that you can’t find a roller coaster of this series on German fairs since a very long time. I would have liked to ride it much earlier. Accordingly, I would like to thank Mr. Montalétang, who recognised the gap of the Jet Star of showman Lapère at the Foire du Trône, which moved to Babyland-Amiland, and was able to close it seamlessly. A really cool move.
On the way to the Jet Star, the worm of the Big Apple La Pomme of the Pouget Groupe was already smiling his way through the course, while his colleague 1001 Pattes of the showman Perc was still wrapped up in the children’s corner on the other side of the Foire du Trône. Interestingly, one worm stopped running after the other one finally revealed himself to the public in the late afternoon. Strange, but still CC+2; it’s fine with me.
The prototype of the Reverchon spinning coaster shows itself to its potential passengers as new. The roller coaster Crazy Mouse of the showman family Degoussée not only looks good, but also performs well during the ride. As usual from the manufacturer, the second part of the ride resembles a wild merry-go-round, which becomes more and more intense in the hairpin curves. So far, so good. While after the last curve the brakes are already waiting for the passengers, the prototype goes one better: There is a bonus dip! Although this is also the end of the ride, it’s definitely a cool gimmick.
Another ride that started early was the roller coaster Infernal Toboggan by the showman Lapère/Roopers. This SDC Galaxy, which was built for the Belgian showman Bufkens sometime in the 80s, has been in the hands of the showman family Lapère since 1997. The ride through the compact layout with its tight support structure and seemingly endless helices scores above all through a tunnel that covers the complete second exit including the ascent. A nice ride, even though the coaster itself has seen better times.
In the same series, another SDC classic started up in the afternoon. After having already tested a Centrox of the same manufacturer or at least a Spanish copy at a Spanish funfair, I was now very excited about the ride on a Galactica/Moonraker – because the basic ride sequence of both rides differs from each other only in one important detail. Basically, both rides are a slightly more modern round-up, which is ridden in a sitting position and is equipped with shoulder restraints. The rotation of the gondola can therefore be variably controlled; but in general the ride is quite fast and powerful. The maximum inclination of the boom is similar to that of an Enterprise, so the ride is quite steep. The difference between both carousels is an additional function in the ride. While the nacelle of the Centrox can be moved into the horizontal position via hydraulics, the whole centre boom of the Moonraker can rotate 360°. However, this is done at a moderate speed and not against the direction of rotation of the disc, which is why there is no luffing effect similar to that of a hully gully. A third version of this ride was intended to combine the two functions, but was never built.
Although I was the only passenger during the second trip of the day, the ride on the Moonraker was really successful. The ride and the staging of it speak for themselves. The additional rotation of the boom is a welcome addition to the grandiose, albeit somewhat monotonous, pressure spectacle. It is nice that even today a showman takes the time to keep an 80s classic alive.
Le King, la montagne russe 100% français, was built by Soquet, like many other fairground coasters in the country. Most of these were looping coasters that eventually found their way abroad. Le King is different. The layout of the roller coaster, built in 1995, is very similar to the Alpina Bahn, but also sets many own accents. The intricate layout with its many steep curves promises an exciting ride, which is also advertised on countless screens. As a roller coaster fan you are of course aware of the ride’s style. It is not without reason that it is considered one of the most terrible Adrealin rides in the country, after all the shoulder bar contact is supposed to be guaranteed as high as the share of French components. And yet the train is extremely comfortable. You sit very freely. The shoulder restraint gives you a lot of leeway to the right and left; contact with it seems to be rather distant. But then the journey begins.
After a short S-bend along the sidetrack we are constantly pushed up a ramp towards the lift hill at the back of the ride. This brings us up to the starting height of 26m. After a short pre-drop we fall down a steep curve without great expectations. This is a very decent ride, but the further we go towards the valley, the more the train is inclined. In fact, we can see the approaching disaster mercilessly coming up. The moment the train starts the next ascent, we get wiped out. The following ascent with an integrated change of direction, on the other hand, is again going quite well. Arriving on the next hilltop, we have a short moment to somehow cling to the stirrup, because the next steep curve is already waiting for us. Once again we drive through the following valley with a much too high cross slope, whereupon the contact with the stirrup is established. Over a longer ramp we reach the first block brake of the ride.
Past the King logo we are pulled down once more in a curve. Here one of the worst parts of the layout awaits us. After a proper clamp, it goes up again rapidly. Following a short dip we rush down another curve against our will. Fortunately, the slope in the valleys is now a little less steep, but a series of wild curve manoeuvres awaits us now. Over several hills with integrated turns we now ride criss-cross through the ride before we dive into a tunnel. Through several containers we now go at full speed over smaller ascents, as well as a left/right turn, before we come back to daylight. After another right turn we reach the braking section of the ride and soon the station.
Le King is actually a very passable and funny roller coaster, if it weren’t for these terrible valleys. Without the constant contact with the shoulder restraints, the roller coaster would be extremely entertaining. The ride itself is quite smooth and the layout with its many curves, funny dips and the extremely fast tunnel finale is a bit strange, but not bad at all. Basically, it’s what you would expect from an oversized Soquet roller coaster. The strokes on the other hand don’t really fit to it and make you forget about any repetitive rides. Quel dommage.
That’s it from the Foire du Trône. As mentioned at the beginning I could not ride very much on this visit. At some point I didn’t see any reason to want to ride anything anymore, although at that time the Mondial Power Maxx swings up, as well as the HUSS Pirate directly on the main row. Shortly after one of the two tagadas opened its daily business, I left the Foire du Trône.
In general, I found the Parisian funfair to be very unorganised. There is no round trip, in many places there are several rows parallel to each other. I would recommend a visit only in the late evening or at the weekend, otherwise you will find yourself in front of closed rides. Why the rides start around noon was not clear to me.
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