Nausicaa, Boulogne-sur-Mer

D(r)ive into Q-Park Nausicaa and spend your day enjoying natural wonders at the acquarium

Park at Europe's largest acquarium

Europe’s largest aquarium in Boulogne-sur-Mer attracts over 600,000 visitors a year. They find ample parking (783 spaces) and special parking tariffs.

Nausicaá is ideally located in Boulogne-sur-Mer in northern France, just 2½ hours’ from Paris, Brussels and London. Named for the heroine who cared for the shipwrecked Ulysses in Homer’s Odyssey, Nausicaá is an educational and research facility, breeding center, and rescue hospital for sick animals.

Nausicaá has set its sights on boosting visitor numbers, from 600,000 to 1 million with an expansion and new exhibition. The first phase started in summer 2018 and the second phase will start in spring 2020. The new building resembles the shape of a manta ray, and the aquarium inside holds a staggering 10,000 m3 (2,641,721 gallons) of water (that is the equivalent of 4 Olympic pools).

Mock-up of the new wing that will be opened in 2021, giving Nausicaá the shape of a manta ray (© J et S Rougerie).

Parking is a critical success factor

The authorities in Boulogne-sur-Mer recognise that parking is a critical success factor to the success of the acquarium and its expansion, avoiding congestion and ensure continued customer satisfaction.

Q-Park operates 6 car parks in Boulogne-sur-Mer

Partnering with Q-Park made sense for the authorities, as Q-Park now manages six parking facilities with more than 2,000 spaces in the city. The new Nausicaa car park provides approximately 40% of our parking capacity in Boulogne-sur-Mer.

The average visitor spends five hours taking in all the natural wonders at Europe's largest acquarium - so the less time they spend looking for a parking space, the more they enjoy their day out. And thanks to vivid aquarium murals decorating the Q-Park facility, motorists d(r)ive into the marine experience even before their journey begins.

Just as the original ‘Nausicaá’ was a friendly goddess who helped Ulysses in a tricky situation on his Odyssey, so Q-Park helps the municipality of Boulogne-sur-Mer to smooth the customer journey.

Nausicaa & Ulysses, by William McGregor Paxton

Most visitors are families with children from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK.

Technical know-how and expertise

In 2017 Q-Park won the tender to extend the Centre National de la Mer parking facility from 200 to 783 parking spaces. Q-Park’s initial investment was more than EUR 6 million.

“This city project demonstrates Q-Park’s technical know how and expertise as a parking operator.” says Michèle Salvadoretti, General Manager Q-Park France. “The in-depth work of our teams with local players in the agglomeration and our relevant financial offer are what set us apart in winning this tender.” 

Nausicaá has opted to vary the parking tariff according to the season, and this is easily accommodated in the Q-Park back-office systems.

Information in 3 languages and 2 promotional tariffs

Most visitors to Nausicaá are families with children from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK. Which is why Q-Park places information in French, Dutch and English in the Nausicaá exit hall to help visitors validate their parking tickets.

Q-Park has developed two parking promotion options for Nausicaá visitors to select before or after their visit to the aquarium.

  • When customers order aquarium tickets online they see a promotional banner with information about the promotional parking tariffs.
  • When customers arrive without a ticket for the aquarium, they can validate their parking ticket in Nausicaá before they leave.

Q-Park signature features

The multi-level car park is constructed under a large apartment complex facing the sea. Pedestrian safety is guaranteed as vehicles access and exit the car park on the south-east side of the building while the pedestrian access route is on the west side, nearer the aquarium.

The car park features a one-way traffic system that maximises safety and minimises the time motorists need to find a vacant space.

LED lighting, fire detection and video surveillance equipment are installed to meet Q-Park’s high safety standards. Furthermore, the car park is connected to the Q-Park control room, providing 24/7 assistance where needed.