The Puy du Fou is a unique French theme park which, like the Parc Asterix, takes you back in time and lets you experience history from the inside. With its incredible shows and fascinating animals, the park is the ideal destination for family holidays or a business seminar. In this article, we will explore the history of the park, its infrastructure and its many attractions. We will also see how the Puy du Fou, this park located one hour from Saumur, has become an international phenomenon by providing its expertise in entertainment.
History of Puy du Fou
Le Puy du Fou was founded in 1978 by Philippe de Villiers, a French writer and politician who, following the discovery of the ruins of the Puy du Fou castle, had the idea of creating a nocturnal spectacle, set performed by volunteers. This show, called Cinéscénie, tells the story of the Vendée region from the Middle Ages to the Second World War. In June 1978, the first performance of the Cinéscénie took place, played by more than 600 Puyfolais and in front of more than 80,000 spectators. The park, built on the site of a former Celtic establishment, was developed in the 1980s and in 1989 the Grand Parcours was created, a 50-hectare leisure park near the Cinéscénie. A 9,000-seat panoramic stand was built in 1990 as well as a falconry show. In 2001, a colosseum more than 100 meters long hosted chariot races and gladiator fights in a new spectacle called the sign of triumph.
The renaissance castle
Puy du Fou castle, which inspired Philippe de Villiers to create the park, was built in the Italian Renaissance style between 1496 and 1548, more than half a century of work. Unfinished, the castle was sold in 1659. Declared a historical monument at the end of the 1970s, it was bought by the General Council of Vendée in 1977. In 2015, the renovated castle hosts the new Puy du Fou show entitled “La renaissance du château”.
The great shows of Puy du Fou
La Cinescénie is the flagship show of Puy du Fou and takes place every evening at nightfall. This nocturnal spectacle tells the story of the Vendée from the Middle Ages to the Second World War, with today more than 4000 volunteers including 2400 actors, 120 riders, 100 technicians as well as 300 people dedicated to the reception and safety of the site. The sound and light effects, as well as the pyrotechnics, make it a unique experience for the spectators. This night show, which appeals to both children and adults, is only accessible by reservation. Prices, timetables, tickets, seat reservations… are available on the Puy du Fou website.
The spectacle of the Knights of the Round Table takes place at the foot of the ramparts and revolves around magic and impressive special effects. On stage, young knight Arthur calls on the power of Merlin to find a new king and bring peace to the medieval city.
The sign of triumph is a grandiose spectacle that immerses you in an authentic Gallo-Roman arena where Gallic prisoners are condemned to win the circus games for their survival. Gladiator fights, chariot races and the release of wild animals: relive the fury of circus games as if you were!
With the Viking show, dive back into the fort village of the year 1000 attacked by Viking warriors in the heart of a striking setting where giant flames, special effects, waterfalls and longships combine. Wow effect guaranteed!
The Ghost Bird Ball is a falconry show that gathers over 300 birds around the ruins of the old castle. Falcons, eagles, vultures, owls and dozens of other birds of prey dance in the sky to offer an unforgettable spectacle, rich in emotion. It will have taken nearly 30 years of work to be able to make all the birds fly simultaneously at the end of the show.
The Secret of the Spear is a horse show set during the Hundred Years War. A young shepherdess must discover the secret of a lance with fantastic power in order to protect the enchanted ramparts of the castle. A chivalrous epic punctuated by aerobatic scenes and stunts on horseback.
The Last Panache was voted the best show in the world in 2017. 360° decors allow you to live an experience in perfect immersion thanks to a rotating stand carrying the spectators and projections in ultra high definition.
Animals in the park
Puy du Fou is not only a performance park, it is also home to more than 1000 animals. From the family farm where you can see horses, cows, pigs, goats and chickens, to the zoo of more than 20 hectares which brings together lions, tigers, leopards, wolves and even camels! There is something for every taste ! In addition, several shows take place every day in the arenas with birds of prey, horses and felines. Many animal training and welfare professionals support the park’s technical teams on a daily basis.
A franchise that is exported all over the world
Puy du Fou is a real institution in Vendée. From a small park dedicated to historical re-enactments, it has become the most popular amusement park in the world with more than three million visitors a year. Located on the Atlantic coast, the Vendée region is also famous for its famous Vendée Globe sailing race, the largest sailing race around the world, non-stop and without assistance. The Puy du Fou also allows the Vendée to shine around the world and through its many awards:
- Best amusement park in Europe in 2013
- Best European event in 2014 (La Cinéscénie)
- Best show of the year in 2020 (Les noces de feu)
Puy du Fou internationally
By providing its know-how in terms of shows, stuntmen and technicians, Puy du Fou has concluded several agreements in various foreign countries, in particular with the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, thus making France proud. .
In 2020, Nicolas de Villiers, president of the company, announces the creation of the first park abroad in the region of Toledo, Spain. Puy du Fou Espana opened its doors in March 2021, in the midst of the Covid 19 pandemic. At the same time, the new Puy du Fou concept has also been sold to China, where a park opening is scheduled for 2025.
How to organize your stay at Puy Du Fou?
Puy du Fou welcomes you to one of its 6 hotels, the prices of which range from €65 to €80 per person, for one or more nights. The stay includes access to the parks of the site (excluding cinéscénie):
- Hotel le Camp du Drap d’or, from €65 per person
- Hotel la Villa Gallo-Romaine, from €68 per person
- Hôtel la Citadelle, from €72 per person
- Clovis Islands Hotel, from €72 per person
- Hotel le Grand Siècle, from €76 per person
- Logis de Lescure hotel, from €80 per person
The prices for park access tickets (without accommodation) are as follows:
- Price of the adult ticket: 39 euros per person on reservation and 47 euros on site
- Child ticket price: 28 euros per child on reservation and 34 euros per child on site.
- Ticket price for a large family: 35.85 euros per person on reservation and 43.20€ per person on site. The large family child ticket is 25.75 euros on reservation and 31.25 euros on site.
Puy du Fou also offers an annual adventure pass and a premium annual pass, the prices of which range from 99 euros to 137 euros per adult. A visit over 2 days is recommended to be able to take full advantage of the activities and shows offered by Puy du Fou.
More information can be found at www.puydufou.com/en