In the middle of castles, knights and war we experienced the history of France for three days in the theme park Puy du Fou. The park is not yet well known in the Netherlands, so I would like to take you back in time and give you tips for experiencing three perfect days.
What is puy du fou?
Puy du Fou is a historical theme park located in France that Looking at the visitor numbers, it is the second biggest park from France and the thirteenth from Europe. The park is entirely based on shows which makes it very different from most amusement parks. These shows are based on historical events happened in the large history of France.
Where is Puy du Fou?
Puy du Fou is located in Les Epesses, a region in France. It’s located close to Nantes and Angers and it’s only a 2,5 hour drive from Paris. There is also a Puy du Fou park in Spain that opened recently.
Puy du Fou Day 1.
From our Airbnb in Paris we drove in one direction towards Les Epesses. After we had passed several country roads, we arrived at the hidden gem Puy du Fou.
During our stay we slept in this beautiful medieval castle. We slept in the little tower on the right by the bottom window. In this (Dutch) blog I will discuss in detail our stay at the hotel and why I would recommend it to EVERYONE.
After checking in, we immediately entered the park. We entered the park through a special entrance for overnight-stay guests. We had not prepared anything for the first day and decided to see what came our way, this is not advisable if you only visit the park for one or two days.
Puy du Fou has its own user-friendly app on which all show times are displayed together with some extra information. You can read more about this app at the bottom of the article.
MOUSQuetaire DE RICHELIEU
We started with the show ‘Mousquetaire de Richelieu‘. In this 17th century theater you watch a big spectacle about the musketeers. This show is all about degenduels, flamenco dances and horse riding. It is a very nice spectacular show, but compared to the other shows it was not my favorite.
Tip: Since we are in France, everything is naturally spoken in French, luckily the app has a solution for this; The shows are also spoken in different languages. The podcasts are not always easy to hear since the sound of the shows is quite loud, but you can follow the story of the show a little better.
LE DERNIER PANACHE
After this show, I just stared for about five minutes with my mouth open. Wow. ‘Le Dernier Panache‘ is by far my most favorite show in the park. We have seen this show twice. This theater has the same effect as the theater of Soldaat van Oranje in the Netherlands: the audience turns, in order to be able to admire multiple scenes.
The story, along with the music, costumes, set and choreography appealed to me enormously. The show is about a French naval officer fighting for his freedom. I would prefer to keep talking about this show for hours, but I would really advice you to go see it for yourself. Since the show was inside, I unfortunately could not take photos but on the website you can find photos and videos of this legendary story.
Tip: We had bought ’emotional passes’ for the first two days, these are a kind of fast passes for just a few euros extra per day, which means you don’t have to wait in line for much longer. You can find more about these passes at the bottom of this article.
In addition to the different shows, there are also four walkthroughs in the park that immerse you in different historical stories. These walkthroughs last about 20 minutes to half an hour, depending on how quickly you view everything.
LE PREMIER ROYAUME
After walking through this walkthrough, I immediately opened the wikipedia page about Clovis and read this entire page from start to finish so that I understood exactly all the details of the story being told.
‘Le Premier Royaume‘ takes you to the 5th century where the story of King Clovis is told. There are a number of impressive scenes that you walk through, such as the photo below where you walk under water.
LE MYSTÈRE DE LA PÉROUSE
When I walked through this walkthrough, which took place almost entirely on a ship from 1785, I lost my balance to such an extent that I almost fell on the ground a number of times. The reason for this was that the roof moved from left to right, just like in a real ship.
In ‘Le Mystère de La Pérouse‘ you will be taken to the discovery tours of La Pérouse. With this walkthrough it is possible to use the app to hear the translation of the story into Dutch. Unfortunately I have not been able to take photos in this walkthrough as it is quite dark there.
DINNER AT LA MIJOTERIE DU ROY HENRY
We ended the day with a dinner at ‘La Mijoterie Du Roy Henry‘. It is a buffet restaurant with typical French food, so not much I like. Fortunately I had fun at the dessert buffet. Nice detail: all employees are dressed for the time from which the castle came. Good storytelling.
In the evening we went for a drink at another Puy du Fou hotel called La Villa Gallo-Romaine. A number of hotels have their own restaurant and / or bar that are accessible to everyone.
Tip: Make sure you make a plan in advance for at least the shows. Since we had not planned anything on the first day, we only did two shows. The app has a clear overview with all show times. In addition, you can make a schedule on the app itself so that you don’t have to miss a show.
Puy du Fou Day 2.
After we woke up wonderfully in our castle (who can say that) I ate 25 small pancakes at the breakfast buffet of the Hotel and then, well prepared, we left for the first show of the day.
LE BAL DES OISEAUX FANTÔMES
The first show was also the show we were most disappointed with. In the description was ‘dream away with the fantastic air ballet of 200 birds of prey’. Don’t let that have been our favorite hobby. Nevertheless, it was an impressive show with a beautiful story and great music, they could have left out the birds;)
LA RENAISSANCE DU CHÂTEAU
After the show we walked towards the third walkthrough. ‘La Renaissance du Château‘ is the castle of Puy du Fou where it all started. You go on a voyage of discovery in the time of the Renaissance and meet all the inhabitants of the castle. Very interesting to learn how they used to live.
Unfortunately there was no translation of this walkthrough, so the French fooled us quite occasionally. However, with a bit of French knowledge, you can figure out what they want to say.
LE SECRET DE LA LANCE
After this we went to the show which is number two on my ‘favorites list’. This show will continue to surprise you with all the special effects and fight scenes. If you think it can’t get any crazier, they just add a little extra. Jeanne D’Arc plays an important role in this show, so it is very instructive.
LES AMOUREUX DE VERDUN
The last walkthrough that we visited was dedicated to the first world war. It was a very moving experience and that is why I was quiet for a moment when I stepped outside. The story that was told we did not understand much since everything was again in French and the app did not offer a Dutch translation for this walkthrough.
You imagine your way through the trenches in Verdun. You walk past a sick bay, bedrooms and finally you see how Christmas was celebrated in this difficult time.
LES CHEVALIERS DE LA TABLE ROUND
A show with a familiar story; King Arthur and the Round Table. This show had many nice special effects and a good story. The back of this decor forms the medieval village that you can walk through.
LE SIGNE DU TRIOMPHE
One of the most impressive shows, not necessarily because of the special effects, but the colossal arena packed with visitors that are set against each other as if they were real Gauls and Romans. We cheerfully participated.
During this show they work a lot with animals, a procession of geese and camels passes by, they do horse races and the actors are threatened by a number of real lions. Very impressive, and something absolutely impossible in the Netherlands with all the animal activists. Really nice to experience how gladiator fights went during that time.
LA CITÉ MÉDIÉVALE
In addition to the shows and walk-throughs, Puy du Fou also has a number of villages from the past where you can walk through, visit shops and get food. La Cité Médiévale is a medieval village where you can see a baker, potter, vegetable garden and a number of other craftsmen.
LE BOURG 1900
Probably the most photogenic village in all of Puy du Fou, of which I have not taken a photo. At Le Bourg 1900 you have the largest merchandise store of Puy du Fou, several restaurants and two small shows that we unfortunately have not seen. Check the website of Puy du Fou for an impression of this colorful square!
LE CAFÉ DE LA MADELON
Next to the village from 1900 is Le Café de la Madelon, a restaurant where we enjoyed a dinner show that evening.
When you reserve for the restaurant you will receive an invitation for a wedding. This is the theme of the dinner show. For € 26.90 you get unlimited food and drink. By ‘free drinking’ they mean tap water (which tastes very different in France than in the Netherlands) and red wine. I also didn’t like the food that we were served. All in all it was a nice experience but not worth repeating for me.
LES ORGUES DE FEU
We ended our day with the big water spectacle. Every evening ends the day with this symphony with beautiful music, people dancing over the water and lots of water and fire. Although the show lasted quite a long time and I am happy that they will adjust it soon.
Puy du Fou Day 3.
For our last day there were a number of things that we had not done, but this day was mainly about seeing our favorite shows again. The shows that we have seen twice, and that are certainly worth it: Le Dernier Panache, Le Secret de la Lance and Le Signe du Triomphe. We also repeated the walkthroughs a number of times.
The show that was first on the schedule was Les Vikings, of which I again have no photo, since we received an important email from school at that time. What happened during this show was unreal. From the water came a whole Viking boat with people on it, a whole boat! Would you like to see how this happened? Then check out my Instagram highlight from Puy du Fou.
LE FORT DE L’AN MIL
Another somewhat smaller historic village was the Viking village, right next to the Viking show. We only went through this very briefly so I can’t tell you what to do here.
LE VILLAGE XVIIIÈME
The last old village is Le Village XVIIIème, here you will find various traditional shops such as a basket maker, a forge and again restaurants. A nice detail is that you can peek in everywhere and you actually see people doing the craft.
Le Grand Carillon
A small show in the middle of the village is Le Grand Carillon. During this show it is mainly about the bells that are made, but there is also plenty of dancing. Very nice if you have time, but not a must.
Les Deux Couronnes
We had the last supper in Puy du Fou at the hotel restaurant of Le Camp du Drap d’Or. This restaurant can be visited by everyone, but it is handy if you make a reservation in advance.
For € 23.50 you can eat unlimited here. The food is again mostly traditional French, which means that I didn’t like much again, but the dessert buffet was a dream come true!
That was very extensive our adventure in Puy du Fou, I have had some fantastic days and I would recommend it to anyone. I have been very honest about the negatives during our vacation, but it can only be better than expected and your experience will probably be a lot better. Finally, I share some practical information and other tips.
BOOKS & PRICES
Puy du Fou has a very easy book system where you can compile a large personalized package. For two days access to Puy du Fou (the third we could do with our Efteling subscription), two nights at Hotel La Citadelle, two days breakfast, three days dinner and emotion passes for two days we paid around € 300 per person. Not expensive at all in my opinion if you look at the price / quality ratio.
We stayed in Hotel Citadelle, where I dedicated a full blog. In addition to the different hotels of Puy du Fou itself, it is also possible to stay in a partner hotel. Although Puy du Fou is in the middle of nowhere, you will have to cover a few kilometers for this. So I recommend staying at one of the hotels in Puy du Fou. They don’t have five hotels of their own for nothing.
The prices range from € 61 to € 75 per night, which can still be discounted when you book a package deal. In Disneyland Paris, hotel prices per night start at € 100.
Puy du Fou also works with a kind of ‘fast pass’ system where you get benefits compared to other visitors. For example, you don’t have to stand in line half an hour in advance to get a seat, but you can invade five minutes before the start and still get the best seat.
Emotion passes are around € 8.00 per day and are sold out very quickly. We have come to the conclusion that they were worth it, since our third day all privileges expired and we could suddenly do a lot less and have to wait a long time. You can book this while booking your stay.
As I have said several times before, Puy du Fou has its own handy app with map, show times and the translations of shows. The app is very well-arranged and user-friendly, also for Dutch people. So it is certainly very useful to download this app. Tip: bring earphones!
Puy du Fou is located in Les Epesses in France. The directions by car, train and plane can be found on the website.
The show that it all started with, unfortunately we were unable to see it as this show is only played on a limited weekend. You also have to pay extra to visit this show with thousands of actors. View an impression of this spectacle here!
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