In a possibly unlikely setting in the French countryside of the Vendée the Puy du Fou theme park in the West of France was in 2012 awarded the theme park industry’s highest honour – the Thea Classic Award chosen by TEA, a worldwide non-profit association representing the creators of compelling places and experiences and if you visit this amazing park you’ll understand exactly why they were chosen.
Puy du Fou is a theme park with a difference and it’s also one of the most popular tourist sites in France – for the French. That could be about to change though as the park’s reputation received a huge boost from the award.
Previous award winners include Disneyland in California and Epcot so this is a serious recognition for Puy du Fou which is a historical theme park with chariot races, Vikings and amazing stunts on the kind of scale that you might expect in Las Vegas rather than in the Vendée region of West France.
Puy du Fou was created in 1977 and has grown in strength from year to year; it is hugely popular with French audiences and was in 2011 the location for the presentation to the Tour de France team prior to the race (which began in Vendée).
Puy du Fou has seating for 14,000 people and shows include:
The Vikings – Much excitement as a Viking long ship attacks a 1000 year old fortress in which a wedding ceremony is taking place. There are loads of special effect, explosions and even a saint walking on water.
Triumph’s Sign – Set in 300 AD A parade of pageantry followed by a series of gladiator battles, chariot races and prisoner executions set in a 375-foot-long Roman coliseum as ten Gaullish prisoners are put to death for the gratification of the audience.
The Secret of the Lance – Set against the battlements of a Middle Ages castle, the shows tells a story of a young shepherdess, who, armed with a magical spear, must protect her home from an attacking band of knights.
Richelieu’s Musketeers – Musketeers performing swash-buckling sword fighting, Gypsy girls Flamenco dancing in water – what more could you ask? This is a show which tells the story of the romance of one of Richelieu’s musketeers set in a sumptuous 18th century theatre and complete with sword fights. There are also horses performing special trotting and jumping techniques. Performed in complete darkness and with special effect lighting, this is the only show that is staged indoors.
The Organs of Fire – A night time show symphony of fire and water on the old Puy du Fou lake combines the theatrics of Cirque du Soleil with the skyrocketing fountains as nymphs and sprites dance to classical music in the most amazing illuminated costumes – a visually stunning feast for the eyes.
The Ball of the Phantom Birds – A ballet of birds swoops low through the ruins of an old castle in an audience participation show featuring owls, falcons, eagles and vultures – the birds fly so close they brush against the people in the audience – an unforgettable show and unique and unforgettable.
Cinescenie – The biggest night time show in the world – it features some 1200 actors 8000 costumes and hundreds of animals spread over a stage of 23 hectares. You need to make a reservation in advance for this show – the ticket price is not included in the main entrance price.
For more details and to book tickets visit the Puy du Fou website.