A visit to Parc Bagatelle

History of the theme park

The Parc Bagatelle in Merlimont near Berck-sur-Mer is the oldest existing theme park in France. Bit by bit, a small amusement park with wobbly bicycles, playgrounds, animal enclosures and a mini-golf course developed around the Parent family’s inn before the first rides moved into the park in the 1970s. Initially, these were still operated by the individual showmen, but with increasing success, the offer was successively expanded by own acquisitions.

In 1993, the park switched from individual tickets to a single admission price in order to continue to compete with the nearby Belgian theme parks Walibi and Bellewaerde. By the turn of the millennium, the park had reached an average of 400,000 visitors. In 2000, it was sold to the French theme park group Grévin & Cie, which merged into Compagnie des Alpes in 2006. In the same year, the zoo part of the theme park was closed as it was no longer sustainable due to the steady decline in visitor numbers. This was followed by the sale to the newly founded Looping Group in 2010.

Parc Bagatelle

Interestingly, the amusement park is reached via a generously dimensioned underpass. The entrance on the other side of this, however, is less impressive with a covered square and a small ticket office. A small square with a fountain and several colorful children’s rides await us after entering the theme park.

Past the small Kid’z Coaster, a Wacky Worm by SBF Visa, and the Twist’air wave swinger, the path leads us into the original western area of the amusement park. The park railroad station and the monorail station directly above it are located right at the entrance to the area.

River Splash

The River Splash log flume has been one of the theme park’s main attractions since 1976. The ride, built by Reverchon, impresses with its fast ride through the canal, which runs through a forest for a large part of the ride, before climbing up again for the finale, climaxing in a plunge into the cool water.

Le Raft

Past the Bag-a-Bato ride and the Grand Prix car ride, we make our way to the Rapid River Le Raft. Thanks to the nearby airfield, the decoration of the Hafema Raft Ride is kept to a minimum, but the ride itself is a highlight of the theme park thanks to the large whirlpool ride element.


Located directly on the lake at the back of the park are the Bag Pearl boat swing, the Rapido dinghy slide and the large Triops shuttle roller coaster.

Triops is the suspended version of a timeless roller coaster classic – the Vekoma Boomerang – but Invertigos wouldn’t be Invertigos if they didn’t have even more special features. Firstly, the seating arrangement allows you to reverse the order of the tried-and-tested experience and you can also watch your fellow passengers.

Just like at its former location in Sommerland Syd, the ride is absolutely great. As before, the ride is as intense as ever with great ride characteristics through the loop and the Cobra Roll and back again. It’s just great fun!

Famous Jack

If you follow the Main Street of the western area to its end, you will inevitably come across the Famous Jack spinning coaster, which stands out with its very striking front. Viewed from the side, however, the ride hardly differs from other rides of its kind. As is typical of Reverchon, the ride itself is great fun and, depending on the load of the gondola, can turn into an absolute whirlwind ride.

Les Woodies

Les Woodies, the novelty of the year, is located in the immediate vicinity of the Famous Jack roller coaster. On the Apollo Sidecar from Technical Park, you can control the swing of the small cars yourself, which makes for a very fun ride.

Splash Factory

Splash Factory, the park’s second log flume, is located in the middle of the forest. Since 2000, this small ride from L&T Systems has been impressing visitors with its single shot ride and incredibly high level of wetness.

Spirale Express

The small family roller coaster Spirale Express is somewhat unusual for a Soquet roller coaster. After a steep curve, the ride leads over a curved hill, the exit of which has a distinct kink in its appearance, which is also quite interesting to ride and throws you back and forth in the car. This is followed by a second lift and a long Bavarian bend close to the bottom. Shortly afterwards, you reach the station again, whereupon you set off on a second lap through the generally quite nice layout.


Directly opposite the Zamperla Air Race Silver Wings is the entrance to the Gaz’Express roller coaster. From 1987 to 2005, the ride ran through an elaborate mountain massif with several interesting water features to match its Mine Train design. This was removed in 2006, after which the ride operated as Bouzouc and Bag Express and appeared rather bleak overall. This changed in 2019 when the ride reopened as the Gaz Express with an impressive industrial look.

The ride on the Gaz’Express begins with a right-hand turn, which immediately leads us into the ride’s lift. Once at the top, a longer helix awaits us, in which we build up some speed over one and a half laps before entering into the first drop. This takes us through a house and over a lake with quite a bit of momentum. The trail then leads us into another building in a wide right-hand bend. Inside the building, which is reminiscent of a gasometer, we now complete several laps in a descending helix. At full speed, we then make our way over a small hill and into an uphill right-hand bend. Back in daylight, we then enter the water tunnel, although this effect is only visual. After another left-right turn, we reach the station completely dry, whereupon the ride on this extremely interesting Soquet roller coaster unfortunately comes to an end.

Pictures Parc Bagatelle

Conclusion Parc Bagatelle

Parc Bagatelle is a very mixed park. Sometimes it shows its age, sometimes it convinces with really nicely designed corners and rides. At least there doesn’t seem to be a common thread, which means that it has always retained its 70s charm and is therefore very reminiscent of theme parks such as Rasti-Land or Avonturenpark Hellendoorn, which also belongs to the same group. There is definitely potential at Parc Bagatelle, but it should be exploited with clear demarcation of the themed areas and a revision of the older rides. The Looping Group is currently demonstrating quite impressively that it can do this at Drayton Manor Theme Park. In other words, Bagatelle, we may see each other again at some point.

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An epic Musical and a Space Shot

Movieland Park is one of my favourite theme parks. The small park sure does surprise everyone on regular intervals when they announce their novelties of the season. However, this year’s visit was a bit too soon as the highly immersive Gravitron style ride Antares was not due to open until the Halloween season.

Space Mission Orbit

The first addition in the space travel themed area of Movieland Park was the S&S Space Shot Space Mission Orbit back in 2020. Unlike many other Space Shot type rides, this drop tower is actually a blast as after an awesome launch, great airtime follows.


Right next to the Diabolik Invertigo roller coaster is the entrance to the 2016 novelty Pangea. The ride is extremely unique as it lets you drive your own 4×4 car in a very uneven terrain to explore the mythical world of Pangea where dinosaurs are still alive. The adventurous drive is controlled by sensors so that you cannot do whatever you want, yet you still can get stuck on your way. Due to this and the low throughput, the wait time for Pangea can be rather long. Overall, the experience is totally worth the wait and should not be missed. 

Medusa Epic Show

Also in 2020, the old Tomb Raider ride was replaced by the Medusa Epic Show. The stage for the show is located right next to the park’s entrance. The sets used for the ride have been preserved, but some remains of a temple and a large scene on a turntable have been added to give the show new facets and an antique flair.

The show itself is a musical masterpiece featuring a grand cast, great choreographies, awesome acrobatics and an exciting story. Hence the show is very entertaining and should not be missed on your visit to Movieland Park.

Pictures Movieland Park

Conclusion Movieland Park

Movieland Park still keeps on surprising everyone. The novelties of the past years sure speak for themselves and new additions are already in the making. We therefore look forward to come back for another visit anytime soon. For sure, I will not wait another seven years.

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A park full of bees

Parc du Bocasse

The last stop on my journey through France lies directly on the route to the ferry port of Dieppe and thus directly on my way back to England. In the small village Le Bocasse you will find the amusement park Parc du Bocasse. As so often in France, the amusement park has developed from a small restaurant. As early as 1967 the gastronome Jacques Chabaille put up some playground equipment, which was then supported by some bigger rides and the park’s first roller coaster in the 80s. When Max Chabaille took over the amusement park, not only the park grew, but also the target group of the park. In 2015, the park expanded its grounds, so that a new themed area including an entrance area could be created.

And through the elegant wooden gate we enter the amusement park. Right at the beginning of our tour of the Parc du Bocasse, we immediately notice the new orientation of the park, which is really worth seeing. Instead of alot of smaller additions, the park went bigger and more substantial. Not only do the rides here look excellent, they are also much larger than in the rest of the park.


The first one is the log flume Splash-o-Saure by the French manufacturer Soquet, which is more reminiscent of the ride Mami Wata from the Austrian amusement park Fantasiana Erlebnispark Strasswalchen and could therefore have come straight from Hafema.

After leaving the station, you quickly reach the first lift, which takes you up a few metres. When you arrive at the top you are turned around on a turntable in the direction of the descent, but you leave it backwards. Well moistened, you now bob along the canal for a few bends until you reach the central tower of the ride. In here you will find the vertical lift of the ride, which will take you up to the starting point of the big drop. Without any great skirmishes you go down immediately, whereupon a quite decent shower is waiting for you. After another bend you reach the station of the ride again. With a bit of bad luck you can get drenched by another boat – very similar to the old log flume Wildwasserbahn II of Heide Park. You leave the ride via a footbridge past the run-out section.

The Splash-o-Saure is a really good log flume. It is really nice to see more and more new rides from Soquet in the recent years. But before I get all sentimental, let’s take a look at an older ride from the same manufacturer, which is located on the other side of the park, which is divided by a road.

Train de la Mine

The Parc du Bocasse also has a classic Train de la Mine. The variant here, however, has a very remarkable helix right at the start of the ride, which makes the ride stand out a bit. The course is then skilfully and fluently initiated by a beautiful steep curve. On the following hill we change the direction of the ride for a short while, whereupon we enter another downhill helix. After two full turns we leave this helix again and immediately dedicate ourselves to a little bunny hop. After a tight turn below the first helix we immediately approach the terrain and follow the course of a small hollow. After a straight line and a left bend we reach the final curve of the ride, whereupon we immediately find ourselves in the station of the roller coaster.

The Train de la Mine is a very nice family roller coaster, but it lacks the more daring moments of other Soquet roller coasters. Nevertheless, the ride is a lot of fun and has an optical highlight and a really nice start due to its high-mounted helix.

Electro Spin and Flash Tower

As the French round boat slide rafting Colorad’Eau next door was unfortunately not in operation at the time of the visit, we will now turn our attention to the rides next to it. They are all made in Italy, and this also applies to almost the entire area of the park. The more exciting rides Electro Spin and Flash Tower are from Zamperla, other rides are mostly from SBF Visa.

Speedy Gonzales

In fact, the Parc du Bocasse offers an exceptionally large collection of smaller children’s rides. These are now gradually being integrated into the park’s theme-based activities, and some of them are certainly worth seeing. The small roller coaster Speedy Gonzales, which has a very compact layout in the shape of an eight, is still completely without design.

Pirate’s Plunder

In the back corner of the Parc du Bocasse amusement park, we then come across other fairly large rides, such as a Rockin’ Tug and a boat swing. There is also a simulator, as well as an interactive theatre by Alterface. Instead of the well-known western shooting, we go on a treasure hunt with a Jack Sparrow blend and get rid of skeletons. Terrific fun!


But the biggest surprise of the amusement park awaits us in a small hall marked Apiland. What looks like a museum about bees from the outside, turns out to be a lovely dark ride inside, which just doesn’t want to end. The ride is simply outstanding for a theme park of this size.

Jurassic Twister

On the way to the exit we take the roller coaster Jurassic Twister with us, which rides like any other Zamperla spinning coaster. Shortly afterwards I’m sitting in my car again and leave the Parc du Bocasse in a very good mood. French family parks simply have what it takes 😉.

Pictures Parc du Bocasse

Conclusion Tron-Tron-Trône

A little later I am already on the ferry to England, whereupon my journey through France comes to an end. It was nice; but it was not cheap either. However, the French amusement park landscape is definitely always worth a visit. With a few exceptions, the parks are all great, the public is usually very pleasant and the rest of the country is also very relaxed; you just shouldn’t be so fooled by French people abroad. In any case, come and visit them, it’s worth it.

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