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!