We are frequently asked whether we sell Puy du Fou tickets. Answering positively, we have made a point of then asking whether that person has been before. More often than not, they have and this leads to a fairly in depth account of how indescribable the park is. You can’t see it all at once so it is like Disney Paris in that regard…just not as well known!
Having had several similar conversations recently, we felt it important that one of our team members experienced the unexplainable and report back. So our fearless leader agreed to take on the task. Keep reading to get great first hand tips on visiting this magnificent historically themed attraction.
Our visit was in early August 2018 with the family; my girls (both under 10), the Wife, Pops, Gran, Brother, sister-in-law and their two kids (both under 13). Yes, a true family vacation!
We followed Googles advice 🙂 most of the time. When we didn’t we found ourselves in unfamiliar territory – Decathlon and IKEA, warning, both consume inordinate amounts time. We’ll skip the boat trip, Jersey to France, but the route driving was relatively straight forward.
Road is a convenient way to reach Puy du Fou so choose Coach or Car. Parking was free.
Within a short driving radius you have the cities of:
The closest station to Puy du Fou is Angers TGV. This station can be reached from any of France’s major TGV routes, including from Paris, Marseille, Strasbourg and Lille. There is a shuttle bus from Angers TGV station to Puy du Fou. Tickets cost circa €20 per person (single) and €28 per person (return) and must be booked in advance. Shuttle bus service, click here.
Puy du Fou provide a shuttle bus service from Nantes airport and other transport hubs for groups of at least twenty. This must be booked in advance. For prices and further information, contact their bookings team on (0820 09 10 10 – €0.12 per minute from a landline).
The theme park is truly unique, set in some 200 acres of grounds. The concept was the brainchild of Philippe de Villiers back in 1977 and his team of volunteers. In 2017, Puy du Fou welcomed more than 2 million visitors and will no doubt grow year on year.
It is historically themed, set in Les Epesses (between Cholet and La Roche-sur-Yon) in the heart of the Vendée region of Western France. Phillippe de Villiers created an association named, “l’Association du Puy du Fou” with Nicolas de Villiers as President (Phillippe de Villiers, son). Today there’s some 3500 members.
In 2011, the Grand Parc of Puy du Fou hosted the team presentations prior to the Tour de France, which was set to begin in the Vendée – the 98th Tour de France. The days of Mark Cavendish (GBR) with the Tour won by Cadel Evans (Aus). This event took place in the Roman amphitheatre in front of a live audience of some 7,000 people.
Within the Grand Parc, it’s Incredible. As you can see from the well worn schedule planner (below) there’s some 19 shows, varying in duration from 42mins (Le Signe du Triomphe) to 7mins (Les Automates Musiciens). Each a marvel. We spent 2.5 days at there and managed to squeeze all the shows in, a couple we saw twice.
The basic rule is that the shows are listed in order of grandeur, with the Top 6 being ‘must see’ spectaculars. The show starting times varying on a daily basis so ensure you pick up the day’s programme of events then plan your route and shows against the times and park layout. Don’t worry, you’ll not need to be a logistic expert.
There’s a heap of information online re: each show but our highlights from the family: Milly – loved Les Viking, with the fire and the Viking boat sliding entrance (she was captivated), Peni – thought that the welcoming attendant at the Le Bal des Oiseaux Fantomes was hilarious as he entertained the waiting crowd by squirting a little water pistol.
The show itself was completely absorbing with some 200 birds performing above your head, in some cases, right above your head! Fact, each bird is weighed by the care staff, daily).
The Wife – Le Dernier Panache show stood out as the audience sits indoors within a circular theatre. During the performance the audience is rotated to face the relevant theatre set. It’s an exceptional story, fantastic acting, amazing sets and an incredible engineer feat to move some 3000+ people.
My personal favourite was Le Secret de la Lance – for the sword fighting skills and the water props that revealed underwater actors and a horse! Whilst I appreciate I’ve not explain this with any degree of significance, it maybe because I’m still mystified as to how they’d engineered this.
The main show takes place in the evenings on Fridays and Saturdays between April and September (always check times and availability) with a vast outdoor stage behind the castle. The show changes but tells the story of the 700 years of history in the area. With some 1200 actors, scores of horses, fireworks, boats and fire flames each performance the Cinéscénie is a sight to be seen (again and again). With so much happening, it near on impossible to see all that’s being created in front of your eyes. Whilst the performance is in French, translation is available via the App.
Cinéscénie entrance: Adult €24.75 – €27.00.
Grand Parc entrance, 365Tickets available here
Food and Drink:
There’s plenty of food outlets and restaurants available within the Grand Parc serving typical french dishes, baguettes and local specialties. Soft drinks, beers and wines are available also. All, I would say, are reasonably priced. Lunch from an outlet cost us €34.00 then the kids messed about at the playground. When we revisit, we’ll head to the gardens for lunch or Le Déjeuner. Miscellaneous items, there’s plenty of swords, medieval clothing, Artisan crafts – folded metals, pottery, breads, beads and necklaces.
Well it’s fair to say that you’re in the heart of Vendée, so expect a steadfast French culture. The good points: The Park is well organized; navigation is logical and easy; food and restroom are strategically placed; and WiFi is free and available throughout the park. The challenges: everything is in French so brush up on your linguistic skills, download the app in advance; plans are available in English (although I did have to ask in French), smoking and country smells were experienced with abundant regularity whilst queuing.
Puy du Fou is certainly a testament to many of the finest attributes of humanity. Why do I say this, well, much of what been created is down to the sheer efforts and talent of the Vendée people over the past 40 years. Currently those staff, students and volunteers (young and old) open up a remarkable historical experience for guests to enjoy. It’s an outstanding service to the community and region in the most exquisite French manner. Certainly if we lived there, our family would willingly offer time to be involved in such association.