It's Bastille Day today, which means that the French are given one (and only one) day to bogart our red, white, and blue colors to celebrate the 1789 storming of the Bastille prison. Celebrate at your leisure with France's great cheeses, fine wines, and mediocre rap music. But if you're looking for something more—some bigger way to identify with French culture outside of really loving that one Juliette Binoche movie you slept through on an airplane—might I suggest an imagined trip to the newly opened Little Prince Theme Park?
Parc du Petit Prince opened on July 1 in Ungersheim, in the Alsace region of France, making it easily accessible for the Swiss, Germans, and French all looking to live out the 1943 Antoine de Saint-Exupery book. As the Associated Press reports, this place "is more about slowing down and taking stock of the small things that delight." Got it. Just as a theme park should be.
I read The Little Prince in the original French in my advanced placement French class in high school, so I am an expert on the book and the language. As a service to those who can't afford a vacation, I have read through the entire park map to learn what one could do at this theme park of dreams. Or, should I say, parc du rêves? Still got it.
- Entrée. Enter. Off to a good start!
- Dessine-moi un mouton. Draw me a sheep. Who is the omnipotent "me" here? In the book it's the little prince who demands this of the pilot. But who is asking us to draw them a sheep? Anyway, you can put your shitty drawings on a wall that they built at this park.
- Be soft to each other. As the Associated Press shared, the key statute of the Parc du Petit Prince is to eschew the painful fright of rollercoasters and theme park thrills in favor of a more gentle theme park experience. Sounds exciting.
- Rencontrer. If I'm remembering correctly, this means to meet up with one another? Like you might say "Recontrez avec moi pour un croque-monsieur," which forces me to ask—will there be croque-monsieurs at Parc du Petit Prince? The one thing I learned in middle school French class is that croque-monsieurs are the only food in France.
- Sandwichs régionaux. That answers my question. There will be croque-monsieurs.
- Aviation of all shapes and sizes. From the illustrations it looks like you can fly on a plane and two kinds of hot air balloons. To the stars!
- Ask questions—big ones that are probably about space. How big are your questions? If they are astronomically big, you can ask some at what looks like a big balloon on a platform. I don't know if they have to be about space, but make them astronomique.
- "Attractions include two tethered passenger balloons, a film about deep-sea mysteries watched from the perspective of a water scooter, and visits with real fox cubs or a flock of sheep with their sheepdog." The only amusement park in the entire world where you can see a flock of sheep with their sheepdog, which is an amusement I didn't even know I wanted until now.
- You can mail a package. A good service.
The Parc du Petit Prince looks simultaneously like the inside of Michel Gondry's child heart and whatever Asterix is. Make sure you buy your billets en advance. You can get them at the billetterie, which is a ticket provider. Thanks for stopping by.
[Image via Parc du Petit Prince]