The park seen from above, in 1987.
In the background, the statue of Gargantua.
|Location||Courdimanche, Val-d'Oise, France|
|Opened||21 May 1987|
|Closed||20 October 1991|
|Area||30 ha (74 acres) (park)|
17 ha (42 acres) (car park)
Mirapolis was opened in 1987. Spanning 47 ha (116 acres), the park was described as being ‘France's first large amusement park’. It encountered several problems, like other contemporary French parks, such as Zygofolis or Big Bang Schtroumpf. Mirapolis eventually closed in 1991, and was mostly demolished.
Mirapolis was originally the idea of the architect Anne Fourcade. Sodex Parc and the Banque arabe internationale d'investissement set up the financial arrangement for the main investor, Saudi businessman Ghaith Pharaon.
Inspired by the big theme parks of the time, such as Disneyland, Mirapolis was to be one of the first French theme parks, and it was to be based on French tales and novels. The park would dominated by a huge statue of Gargantua, inside which a dark ride attraction would be installed.
Mirapolis was inaugurated on 20 May 1987 by Jacques Chirac, who was Prime Minister at the time. The park included 29 attractions, 3.000 restaurant seats, 13 stores, 12 food kiosks; and it was able to welcome 28.000 visitors a day. It was split into 8 themed areas.
The first year, the bad weather was a disadvantage for outdoor events, and people often took refuge in the "Grand Théâtre". Also, tens of thousands of people have seen a children's musical: "Partir à point", with lyrics and music by René-Louis Baron. It was a comic mixture of works of La Fontaine, a staging of giant puppets created by Yves Brunier (creator of the giant puppet "Casimir").
Closure, demolition and abandonmentEdit
The park was closed in 1991 because it never turned any profit. The rentability expectations were too optimistic, based on incorrect market researches. Mirapolis may have suffered from its complex theming (quickly diluted with funfair attractions), its image and its upkeep.
From 1993, the majority of the buildings were demolished. Some attractions were sent to other amusement parks. Dragon des Sortilèges went to Spreepark, as well as Miralooping. Miralooping is now at Europark. Les pirates went to Meli Park. In 2000 it reopened as Plopsaland. On 1 September 1995, after the partial and controversial dismantling of the Gargantua statue, the head was finally dynamited.
In 1994, the road alignment near Mirapolis was modified. The entrance square was made into a traffic circle. The two main section of the car park were made into a road and extented, forming the Boulevard des Merveilles in the Cergy-le-Haut area.
The inside of the park was abandoned. Only a few buildings have endured: the gates and their elephant heads, the concrete building of the entrance, the former store, the small kiosk of the Observatoire and the Mur Vauban. The car parks were also abandoned, partially hidden by the vegetation.
On 20 May 2017, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the opening of the park, the association ‘Mirapolis, les amis du parc’ set up an exhibition in the Salle Georges Brassens of Menucourt, retracing the history of Mirapolis with the help of photographs, models and items.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mirapolis.|
- C., Ph. (8 April 1992). "Après un véritable engouement à la fin des années 80, la douche froide provoquée par plusieurs échecs retentissants..." Les Échos. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- Meillon, Jacqueline (13 November 1986). "Mirapolis, parc à la française". Le Monde. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- M6. "Mirapolis Capital M6". Dailymotion. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- Gavi, Philippe (10 June 1988). "Mirapolis, la ville dont le prince est un enfant" (PDF). L'Obs. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- Vanweydeveldt, Lucile (29 August 1995). "Gargantua terrassé par le Crédit national. Le propriétaire de Mirapolis, fermé en 1992, va démolir le géant d'ici dimanche". Libération. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- Biry-Vicente, Rafaela (10 February 2015). "PORTRAIT - Un couple de Nordistes passionnés par un parc d'attractions fermé depuis vingt ans". France Bleu. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- Ménard, Julie (19 May 2017). "Menucourt : 30 ans après, Mirapolis revit le temps d'une expo". Le Parisien. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- Persidat, Marie (16 December 2016). "Courdimanche : « la création de cet éco-village est une chance »". Le Parisien. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
- More information in the French magazine Dixième Planète n° 42 (August-September 2006).