The new season has just started at Puy Du Fou, France’s premier historical park and in six weeks’ time Sarah and her family will get the opportunity to experience it for themselves over a long weekend, something they are all really looking forward to.
Voted the world’s best park, and known for being a theme park without rides, Puy du Fou has four separate period villages that focus on living history of the period, but it is the shows for which it receives the highest accolades. With ten spectacular historical themed shows which range from American War of Independence, Vikings, Roman Circus, Knights of the Round Table and World War I, the shows are the focus of a visit to the park.
La Cinéscénie – the spectacular evening show that takes place over the summer season in front of thousands of visitors. Photograph © Puy Du Fou
The star attraction however is La Cinéscénie, the evening show performed over 23 hectares with 2,400 actors and 28,000 costumes. Billed as the world’s biggest night time show and seen by over 11 million people to date, the show uses lighting effects, projections, fireworks, water jets and a multitude of special effects to produce a spectacle of remarkable proportions. The trailers for this on the website look fantastic and I think it is this that we are looking forward to the most.
Located in Les Epesses, near Nîmes in the Vendée region of France, Puy de Fou has been open since the 1970s and is often referred to as France’s biggest secret. There is camping near the parc, as well as five hotels on site, all historically themed, and people arrive from all over Europe to spend short breaks within the park, staying in a Roman hotel, an 18th century lodge, Tudor tents, a Merovingian lake top village or a Medieval castle.
La Citadel – the new Medieval themed hotel complete with turrets and a portcullis. Photograph © Puy Du Fou
We will be staying in the new Medieval castle which looks authentic with carved oak beds, hanging lanterns and stained glass windows but fortunately still has Wi-Fi and other such necessities to keep the teenager happy. All of the hotels also have their own restaurants as well as the ones available throughout the park.
Puy Du Fou has a very forward thinking approach to the environment and in fact made the headlines some time ago for using crows to collect litter from around the park, training them up to collect the rubbish and then throw it away in bins around the park. I very much hope we get to see a ‘cleaner crow’ as it sounds very impressive. The park also has a deer park, a nature reserve and a forest to walk through.
The whole park sounds like an highly entertaining historical experience with some magic thrown in thanks to the shows packed with stunts, effects and storytelling. There is an app for non-French speakers to follow along with the action in the shows and as so much is visual, so I don’t anticipate the language barrier being a problem.
Spectacular stunts in the Viking show. Photograph © Puy Du Fou
I will be posting during our stay on Archaeology Travel’s Instagram and Twitter accounts, as well as writing up a full account of the experience afterwards, so please do keep an eye out as I think that this park will be of great interest to anyone who enjoys visiting historical sites with their children to really engage them in living history.
With the summer season approaching, this looks like a great place to take the family.
Visiting Puy Du Fou
April – October
Check the official website for a detailed timetable of days and show availability
La Cinéscénie – €28 per person
Combination tickets are available that include parc entry and La Cinéscénie as well accommodation in one of the on site hotels – see the official website for full details