If you have been reading our blog for a while you will know that we only review or write about places we like ourselves and if you have been following for a while you will know that one of those places is the Puy Du Fou in France. It’s fair to say as a family we are a little bit obsessed.
The Puy Du Fou is best described as a historical theme park but that doesn’t really give you a view as to what it’s like. There are no rides but instead shows, walk throughs and villages. It is absolutely amazing. You can step back in time to the Romans, watch Kind Arthur pull the sword from the stone, get caught up in the Musketeers battle, see the Vikings attack, learn the secrets of the Lance or watch the most amazing bird show ever. You can even walk through a trench and experience the sad story of a soldier in WW1.
It’s hard to give an idea of exactly what the Puy Du Fou is like but we think everyone should try and go at least once and are delighted (and a bit jealous!) that some of our friends are going this year. If you are ever in France then it’s well worth a trip even if it is out of your way.
We were excited when the people at the Puy Du Fou sent us the press release for their plans for this year. As it’s now only 76 days until they reopen for the 2020 season it seems a good time to share the information with other UK fans.
They have invested €52 million (wow!) in a new spectacular show, an amazing new hotel and a conference centre.
The new show is a night time show, called The Wedding of Fire which follows on from the story of the original night time show, Organs of Fire. It is a fantasy tale set in the 19th Century with music by Camille and Julie Berthollet, Warner Classics. As we would expect from the Puy Du Fou it combines fire and water with amazing costumes, vast emerging sets, underwater stunts and jaw dropping aerial displays. We can’t wait to see this. We have loved Organs of Fire but it is always exciting when there is a new show to enjoy.
The new hotel sounds amazing,- Le Grand Siecle, is inspired by Louis XIV ‘s Versailles. It has been lavishly decorated and this 4* hotel is like stepping back into the time of The Sun King. Visitors now have a choice of 500 different rooms in different themed areas and we now have another hotel to add to our wish-list to stay in at the Puy Du Fou!
The other new addition is a conference centre called Le Théatre Moliere which will be able to host conferences and all sorts of other events. We will have to keep an eye out for exciting events taking place when we are over.
It looks like 2020 is going to be another exciting year at the Puy Du Fou, if you get the chance to go then don’t hesitate. It’s only a quick flight from the UK to Nantes and then it’s just over an hour drive to Les Epesses and the Vendee is an amazing place to visit. The Puy Du Fou is open from 4th April to 1st November and day tickets are from €37 per adult and €23 per child– but there are deals for more than one day which are worth doing as then you get to see all the shows as well as seeing everything else the Grand Parc has to offer. I really hope we get to go again this year.
We were sent the details of the new developments at the Puy Du Fou and decided to share these as an update to our previous reviews. We have visited as paying customers numerous times and also received gifted tickets on one occasion but all thoughts are our own.
This post was written by Luke age 12 with a little help from Mum to ensure the relevant information was included!
If you have been reading our blog for a while you might have already heard of Le Puy Du Fou, if you haven’t heard of it then you are missing out!
It’s nearly impossible to explain the Puy Du Fou to someone who hasn’t been because although it’s a theme park it has only one small ride, although it’s historical it’s not a museum or educational centre, although there are shows, it’s not a theatre. It is however, the absolute best day out and our whole family’s favourite place to go.
I have been going to the Puy Du Fou since I was a tiny baby and still find something new and exciting every time. It is set in a huge park, with lots of trees and lakes and plenty of nature. There are lots of different shows throughout the day and into the evening, lasting between 20 and 40 minutes each, some amazing walk throughs, a park, a maze, old towns and a medieval village, traditional craftspeople and the most spectacular night time show you could ever imagine.
The themes that run through the Puy Du Fou are water, light and fire and you would never believe what they are able to do with these without seeing it with your own eyes.
When you arrive at the Parc you get a program for the day which is available in English, French or Spanish and tells you what time each show is on (you can download this the night before too) and this lets you plan the day to see as many shows as possible. When my parents first started going there was only four main shows and you could see everything in a day but it is so huge now you either need to pick your favourites if you are just there for one day or try and go for at least two days. Three days are even better because then you get time to see all the secret bits of the parc as well as the shows. They do a deal on three day tickets too so it is good value if you can visit that way
The shows are all in French and whilst you can get an audio headset translator you really don’t need it, if you know a little French it helps to get the storyline but you don’t need it to appreciate the shows.
We all have different favourite shows but there isn’t one that we don’t love and we try and see as many as possible each time. This time we headed straight for the Musketeers in the Mousquetaire de Richelieu. This is one of only two shows that is performed inside and is in a huge chateau style building, this show is brilliant, with horses, sword fights, music and flamenco dancing.
You come out blinking into the sunlight and then either dash across to the next show or go and explore the park. We decided to go and play in the water jets, which is great fun and have a walk round to the lake where you can sometimes operate the water yourself before stopping for an early lunch and getting ourselves ready to face the Vikings.
The Viking Show is near the fort and you can see blacksmiths working before you go in. The Vikings arrive to terrorise the village and there is some very dramatic fighting and even real Viking boats, there are bits that will make you wonder how they did it and even if you watch the show time and time again you will still find it hard to work out how! The Vikings were Sam’s favourite and he asked to go and see it again but we didn’t have time this year.
After the Vikings we were straight across to the gladiators in The Signe Du Triomphe. This is the biggest show with the most people in at the same time and you do have to be ready to queue for a while to see this. We were lucky enough to have ‘pass emotions’ which are passes you can book that save you queing and also allow you to sit in really good seats. These sell out very quickly but if you are able to get them then we really recommend them as it means you can see so much more each day as you don’t have to worry about queing so long for the shows.
The Signe Du Triomphe is set in an amazing huge collosseum. It genuinely feels like you have taken a step back in time and you can imagine how it would have felt watching the Christians defend themselves. This is my Mum’s favourite show, it’s fast and exciting. There are chariot races, gladiator battles, a parade and even lions, it’s such a brilliant show and the audience get really into cheering and booing along, The atmosphere is unbelievable.
Normally we would fit another show in for the night before going but it was such a hot day we decided it would be best to just do one of the walk through shows. We went to the new one – Le Mystere De La Perouse. We were not disappointed. This is based on the final voyage of the Comte de Le Perouse which mysteriously disappeared in 1788 until the Shipwreck was discovered in 2005. It was amazing, it felt like you were on a ship and were really in the middle of the awful storm, you felt like you had no idea what was coming around the corner as you journeyed through the cabins and you even got wet! It had the most awesome ending and looked spectacular.
We headed over for a look round the Bourg 1900 (the old marketplace)- Lottie has a long list of dress up dresses from there she would like (currently she really loves Marguerite from the Secret of the Lance’s dress) and we have to go and look at these every time we go!
On the way to Bourg we caught sight of Le Ballet Des Sapiers being performed on the bridge. This was performed by the children from the Puy Du Fou Academy and is only on a couple of days a week after school. It was very funny, lots of amusing bits and dancing which Lottie especially enjoyed. Sam is obsessed with fire engines and he loved this too.
Once we were at the Bourg 1900 we picked up some postcards and Mum and Dad treated us to a new knight and horse for our castle but there is loads you can buy starting from not very expensive up to proper collectible items
We just had time to for Lottie and Sam to have a ride on the carosel before we headed home for the night. I can’t wait until they are old enough for us to stay later as we could have watched the Organs of Fire which is a nighttime show at the lake.
We stay in a house about 20 minutes up the road so were heading home for the night but you can even stay at the Puy Du Fou in one of their themed hotels. These look incredible and I would love to stay in one. I think The Camp du Drap d’Or would be awesome to stay in for a night.
We then had a couple of days revisiting some of the other great things the local area had to offer before heading back for our next day at the Puy Du Fou.
It always feels exciting as soon as you arrive and this time was no different. We headed straight to The Secret of The Lance which is about Marguerite who has to defend the enchanted chateau when the knights go to Orleans for Joan of Arc’s. This is Lottie’s favourite and involves some brilliant gymnastics on horse back as well as a spectacular battle and some very clever stunts performed by the actors, as well as some surprising changes to the set. My Mum says the music from this show always sends shivers down her spine.
We then headed across to see the bird show – Le Bal des Oiseaux Fantomes, this is mine and my Dad’s favourite show. It’s so good and the birds are so clever, you see everything from owls and falcons to huge vultures and they really do seem to dance in the air as they pass each other. There is so much going on you don’t know which direction to look at and the birds literally skim past your head!
Next it was off to Les Amoureux de Verdun. This is another walk through and is set in a trench during WW1. It’s quite scary for younger children but I love this. It has won awards and you won’t ever forget what it feels like to be deep in a trench feeling the explosions and seeing the gas fill the tunnels.
Finally we went over to Le Dernier Panache. It was such a hot day it was a relief to get inside the cool theatre this show is set in. This is the most amazing theatre you have ever seen, the audience moves and the stage moves (it doesn’t feel bad- it just gives an all round experience) This is really very sad and follows the story of a French navel officer who was a hero through to his fight for freedom during the French Revolution. This is such a clever production, you will never have seen anything like it.
It was time for us to leave the Puy Du Fou all to soon and we could have easily spent lots more time there. One of our favourite things to do when we had Annual Passes the other year was to just go for a walk around the park when the shows were on, despite there being thousands of people there you could still turn a corner and feel like you were the only people there, it’s so peaceful in places. There are secrets and things to explore everywhere you look and so much to do.
We didn’t get to see all the shows though- we missed out the Renaissance Du Chateau and we would have very much liked to see The Knights of the Round Table, this is a shorter show as it is only about 20 minutes but the timing didn’t quite work out, this is really good and has some brilliant special effects. There are also some smaller shows going on around the Parc which we missed too and will have to make sure we catch next time.
Whilst we would like to keep it a secret we really do think everyone should go to the Puy Du Fou, it entertains everyone from very young to very old and we think it’s the perfect family adventure.
You mustn’t miss Cinescenie which is a Summer night time show that you buy tickets for separately, When the sun goes down this spectacular starts up – it’s the world’s biggest nighttime show and has 2400 actors, to say it is spectacular doesn’t give you enough of an idea! We haven’t been for a few years but I can’t wait to see it again, it’s truly phenomenal with lighting effects, fireworks, projections, music and so much more it is impossible to describe!
We have had many awesome experiences at the Puy Du Fou and are so excited they are now open until November as it means next year we can hopefully go in October half term as well as earlier in the year.
They also have a special Christmas show, we have never been to this but would love to, it looks amazing and we think the Grand Parc would be stunning in the winter.
You absolutely must go and experience the Puy Du Fou for yourself!
Disclaimer: We were incredible lucky to be gifted tickets and Pass Emotions for the Puy Du Fou but all thoughts and opinions are our own based on our experience this year and over previous years. It’s fair to say we love it!
We recently got back from a brilliant holiday to France over half term. We had taken loads of books and activities to do as we expected most places to be closed as it is now off season, but we found out that although some of our normal favourite places are closed there is still loads to do.
Our favourite place that we visited during the holiday was the amazing Park of Futuroscope. They are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year and I can’t believe we haven’t been before- it was awesome!
The park is very modern and funky- along with the unusual buildings there are sculptures and artwork all around which you could spend ages looking at by themselves. It is also quite a peaceful place with lots of water, grass and trees. There are huge bean bags everywhere so you can sit and watch the world go by and massive garden chairs to climb up on and get settled onto.
There is so much to do it was difficult to know where to start. Luckily the maps and programmes detailed the times of all the shows and rides and whether they were continuous or just at specific times, these were available in English and German as well as French. If you are still struggling to know where to start you can visit a robot who will help you plan your day!
It would be very easy to spend two or three days at Futuroscope- you certainly wouldn’t get bored and one day isn’t long enough if you are hoping to do everything but you can still have a really good time if you only have a day there- we would just recommend making sure you knew exactly what you wanted to do and getting there as early as possible so you can squeeze as much in as possible.
We decided that we would concentrate mostly on the rides and pick a couple of shows we really wanted to see as that would let us get the most done during our visit. We were lucky enough that we had all received Premium Passes and whilst these are 20 Euros a person extra they made a huge difference as they meant that you were allowed fast track access once to each of the main attractions and we would definitely recommend getting one of these if you were only going for a day as it meant you didn’t need to spend too much time queuing.
We went on lots of different rides – I won’t spoil it by telling you all of them but they were all different and some of them were really mad- one you sat on these funny seats and then realised you were in what was basically a public toilet before you shot off! In another you started by feeling like you were boarding an airplane before you got to the main part of the ride and took off. My absolute favourite though was the shortest ride but it was brilliant fun and as soon as I came off it I wanted to go back on! It was Dances with Robots and you can see from the clip below how much fun it is.
My sister was just a bit too small for Dances with Robots and she was jealous as she really wanted to go on it- she’ll have to grow for next time! There is three settings so you don’t have to go upside down if you don’t want but I think that’s the fun part. My brother and sister liked the fact that they could go and watch the ride from a viewing platform- my sister said it was like being at a disco. We haven’t been able to get the song from it out of our heads ever since!
We went to the Ice Age show, this was a 4D showing on a special Ice Age film with plenty of special effects. We also went to the Drone Academy Show which was brilliant- it was so clever what they had managed to do with the drones and bits of it were quite funny. I loved this one as I have wanted to fly a drone for ages. We had headsets that could translate the shows into English but to be honest with both of the ones that we saw it didn’t matter if you spoke brilliant French or not because you could still understand what was happening.
One of my favourite things we did during the day was visit Futur L’Expo which was an exhibition of things of the future- we planned to just pop in for ten minutes to have a look and ended up staying for over an hour, there was so much to do. The was an interactive fridge that gave you recipes, a tablet that you could use to control a robot, screens where you could be shown dressed up and waving a magic wand whist just as yourself and a 3D printer. The robot had a screen on it so you could drive off and see people and then talk to each other from the other side of the room, controlling it was really fun. The 3D printer was so clever- you could design things on the laptop and see how they would work and if you wanted to could even make and buy a 3D model of your own head!
We could have even gone to a night-time show too but because we had my toddler brother with us we decided we would be better to leave that until he was a bit older. We ran out of time a bit as there was plenty of other things we could have done but like I said I think next time we will go for two days. If we had longer then my Mum would have liked to have seen the magic show which we were recommended and I would have liked to go on the boats and use the water guns as well as see some of the other shows and go on the rides again.
There were loads of places to eat at Futuroscope– we did find the queues very long for food but had been told the buffet restaurant (La Table D’Arthur) was quick so when we go again we will try there, otherwise there are plenty of places you can eat a picnic if you didn’t want to loose any time. There was also lots of gifts shops so you could buy all the usual things like pens and mugs, some things specific to the Park like their characters and then they also sold more unusual gifts like science and space toys and activities so it was nice to have lots of different things to choose from.
We did find that my little brother was too young for a lot of it and whilst there was plenty for him to see and lots of play areas he could play in with plenty of space for him to run around he was a bit sad he couldn’t go on the rides (he really liked the racing cars and fire engines) so we would recommend it as being best for children over 5. Lottie wasn’t tall enough for quite everything but she did manage to do nearly all of it.
We would definitely recommend Futuroscope to anyone looking for an adventure, If you can go for at least two days then that would be best but if not then plan your visit well, get there as early as possible and plan to stay until late and as I said it is well worth getting a Premium Pass if you can. Lottie and I can’t wait to go again next year- I wish we had something like Futuroscope in the UK.
Disclaimer: We were lucky enough to receive complimentary passes to Futuroscope but all thought are our own
The last few months have been quite tricky. My Dad has been unwell and we have had to miss and cancel certain events, days out and even a trip to France so at times things have felt quite miserable. However, reading back over my blog from the last year I realised just how many fantastic things we actually got to do in the last year. Hopefully we will be able to do more this year when he starts to get better again. This is a quick round up of my top three adventures from the 2016- all of which I really hope to be able to do again this year if I am lucky enough to get the chance. The Puy Du Fou
This is our absolute favourite family day out, and although we have been loads of times we never fail to have a fantastic time and are always looking forward to our next visit. Tucked away in the Vendee countryside in France you would never expect to find Vikings, Romans and wizards but that’s exactly what you get and much much more. We were annual pass holders last year and went several times during the Easter and Summer holidays- we saw all the amazing shows, visited the historical villages, experienced the WW1 trench, played in the water jets and got lost in the maze. I have blogged about this amazing place in much more detail before here. I would recommend anyone who finds themselves in that part of France to pay a visit, ideally for more than a day if you can as there is so much to do.
Even better spend a night in one of their hotels and watch the amazing Cinescenie night show- this is what I would really love to do. We watched Cinescenie a couple of years ago and I would like to do that again but to stay in one of the hotels there too would be amazing!
Tough Mudder and Fruitshoot Mini Mudder
This was an awesome adventure for my friend and me- we had an amazing time and loved getting muddy. We are both really keen to do this again this year and collect another sweatband! You can read all about our adventure here I think I will get my Dad into training and so he can do the Tough Mudder adult version! This is quite possibly the best way to raise money for charity ever!
SportFest at Wormsley, Buckinghamshire
We have been to SportFest for the last two years and it is an absolutely fantastic way to spend a weekend for the whole family. You get to play sports and learn new ones with actual sporting legends. We had a whole weekend of amazing activities- a family run, a huge rugby game and a performance by the awesome RPJ band for the best concert. The food was great and the camping was fun. My highlight though was doing the conga across the cricket pitch led by Liverpool legend John Barnes! I would love to go back again, it was such an awesome weekend it would be very hard to beat. You can read all about our experience at SportFest here. We would all recommend this to any family (even my Mum who isn’t very sporty loves it). They even have a glamping option which looks awesome and very cosy and would mean you could get straight on with having fun.
There are lots of places I love to go- parks, the lakes and days out but I think my absolute very favourite place to go is the Puy Du Fou in France http://www.puydufou.com/en/ It is so much fun and there is so much to see and do. We have been there most years since I was little and last year we had season tickets so we could go anytime. This meant we were able to visit loads during our holiday.
The Puy Du Fou is like a theme park about the past and there are lots of different shows- The Gladiators, The Vikings, The Three Musketeers, the Knights of the round Table and many more. I think my favourite last year was the vikings, although they used to scare me!
The Viking Show
They have loads of animals in the park and lots of beautiful forests to walk through. There is a huge lake, and they have a light and water show there at night which is beautiful. At other times you can go and make the water jets shoot up yourself. There are lots of old towns you can visit and watch craftsmen making things. We tried got ice cream in the old market town and it was delicious!
Last year we met one of the members of staff who asked if we wanted to have photos taken, they took us to a special room and let us choose what we wanted to dress up in and then we had lots of pictures taken which was awesome!
Preparing for a battle
There is an amazing huge night time show during the Summer, called Cinescenie http://www.puydufou.com/en/shows/night-time-shows/cinescenie?season=summer which is not like anything you have ever seen before- it is an outside show and there are hundreds of actors and dancers telling a story, there is music, lights and fireworks- I couldn’t believe how they were able to transform the story with the lighting and I it was the latest I had ever been allowed to stay up- we didn’t get back to where we were staying until after midnight! I really hope we are able to go again this year.