The ultimate historical exploration
In 1977, the ruins of the chateau at le Puy du Fou ware discovered by park founder Philippe de Villiers. So inspired was he by the surroundings that he imagined a large show to take place here depicting the history of the Vendée, a show which he wrote, designed and produced and saw its first live performance of the very first 'Cinescenie' just one year later featuring 600 actor volunteers in period costume.
It's a cheesy pun, but how could we not use it.... the rest, as they say, is HISTORY.
Throughout its 45-year operation, the park has grown and grown, now featuring no less than 17 shows using the latest in technologies, cattle, cats, birds, horses, pyro, and highly trained actors and stunt-people. The park also features 4 different villages set in history, a 16-metre-high carillon (one of largest in the world) and several nature areas which are beautifully landscaped.
The gardens by which you navigate the park are stunning. The arenas, huge. Think, renaissance fair on an epic scale.
The costumes are designed in authentic fashion and stitched on site, so much so that the organization frequently lends its art to historic film productions. Even you can wear them in one of several photo booth settings for a lovely souvenir of your time spent here.
There is a private school attached to the park as well, something straight out of Harry Potter. Its students explore the world of academics as well as entertainment, horse riding, performing arts, stunts etc. from a young age. You can see the students perform in the show entitled Le Ballet des Sapeurs.
History is depicted by way of spectacle, crazy mindboggling live stunt shows happening all around you. The bird show alone has over 300 birds circling overhead and landing on command. You will see things that have you wondering for days... how did they do that?
Le Puy du Fou is more than an adventure down history lane, a place of secrets. There seems to be a code of ethics not to talk about it too much... not only by the owners of the multi-award winning theme park, but by the millions of visitors that leap into the deep end of history year after year, time and again.
In truth, there are videos online, but we highly recommend letting yourself be surprised.
Le Puy du Fou is both the biggest attraction in the Vendée (indeed in France) and its biggest enigma.
We promise that you'll have a wonderful time here. At any age!
For frequently asked questions about Puy du Fou, keep reading (or find them under the YouTube video)
Last but not least, the evening and nighttime show LA CINÉSCÉNIE which saw its humble beginning in 1977, has grown to be the biggest such event in the world. On a stage of 23 hectares with the castle as a backdrop, it is home to 2550 actors and 28,000 costumes for a one-and-a-half hour show you will never forget.
It is legendary. In the grand scheme of bucket lists, le Puy du Fou and La Cinéscénie should not be missed.
Le Puy du Fou is located outside the village of Les Epesses, in the Haut Bocage Vendée. It is close to Les Herbiers and Cholet, or 45 minutes from La Roche-sur-Yon, and one hour from both Nantes or Angers. If you're vacationing in beautiful south-Vendée, you're only about 30 minutes away by car.
La Cinéscénie – tickets & calendar
Park tickets & info – here
Reservations hotline – +33 (0) 820 09 10 10
TIP – wear good shoes!!
Reduced mobility accessible – yes (there are wheelchairs for hire and there is also a train that can take you to the furthest points in the park)
Dogs – no
Picnic tables or catering on-site – yes
Address – 85590 Les Epesses
Directions – enter your point of departure
GPS coordinates – 46.88980765725884, -0.9280406896761224
Image – by courtesy of Vendée Expansion Image library