Information Vendee History
Puy du Fou
Today, the Château de Puy du Fou is a big adventure park, but it was
discovered by a French student driving through the Vendéen countryside in a
Renault 4! This dreamy student was looking for a castle as mysterious as the one
in Alain Fourniers book, Le grand Meaulnes and he chose the Puy du Fou having
come across the name in a newspaper article.
The curious name Puy du Fou
comes from the Latin Podium and fagus, meaning beach tree hill. For Phillippe de
Villiers, who wanted to create a big show celebrating the Vendée, this easy to
remember name evoked the hint of craziness in every one of us “Fou” meaning
crazy in French. When he finally found his castle, Philippe fell under its
spell. It was partly in ruins and had already lived through one of the great
chapters in Vendéen history and it had been left untouched since the passing of
the infernal columns in 1794.
The script for the show was written in the
month that followed and the Cinescenie concept,a show based on motion, took shape. The
hardest part in the inception of the Puy-du Fou was convincing the thousand
people needed to bring such a project to life, but this problem was solved
following a practice show held on one cold December evening. The Association des
Puyfolais was created and then as now it relies entirely on volunteers. The show
is not subsidised and its founder receives no royalties.
The first show was
held on 16th June 1978, merely a year after the overgrown castle was discovered,
and it was an instant success. By the end of the first season, the Cinescenie
had won the hearts of 84,000 people and it now welcomes 1.2 million visitors
each year. The Assoc des Puyfolias has 3000 members and 1000 are on stage at any
one time. Just before each show, the backstage bubbles over with excitement. In
the Puy-du Fou it is called the village and it is easy to understand why. You'll
come across lively children in costumes between the camps, Vendéen peasants with
wide brimmed hats and forks, knights in armour and brides in lace gowns all take
to the stage every night to perform in this Cinescenie show that celebrates the Vendée and its history.
What a great show.
Le Grand Parc et Académie Junior.
after the first show, a theme park devoted to French history was created on the
same site. Over the years, different shows and mock towns and villages have been
created including an 18th cent rural village, a medieval town and a village
dating from the year 1000 whose fortress is ransacked by Vikings, a besieged
keep a Gallo-Roman collesseum and much more. The
Grand Parc is a kind of maze featuring different worlds separated by a
curtain of trees. You can wander the streets of the medieval village and mingle
with the pigs, craftsmen, stone restorers and jugglers while watching someone in
an flying machine trying to teach the geese to fly. This theme park is not based
on visual effects but rather real flesh and stone. It focuses on the historic,
even if the Vikings never actually wore horn helmets.
Of course one of the
aims of this adventure is to pass the history of the Vendée down through the
generations and since 1998, when the Académie Junior was created, twenty schools
have been set up with the aim of training new payfolais members - knights,
jugglers, horse breakers, actors and technicians to take part in this crazy
adventure for the delight of visitors.
Dates Open 2014.
Grand Parc 2014
April; 12th - 30th
May; 1st to 11th, 15th to 18th,
22nd to 25th & 29th to
June; 1st to 3rd, 5th to 10th & 12th to 30th
11th to 14th. 19t to 21st.
26th to 28th
29€, 2 days 43€, 3days
without reservation 33€, 2days
47€, 3 days 52€
Chldren 5-13 years reservation
2days 23€, 3 days 35€
22€ 2 days 33€, 3 days
Includes Orgues de Feu. Closes 22h30
Open 10h to 19hh except
nights of Orgues de Feu
Ouverte 2014; June 7th & 14th.
20th & 21st. 27th & 28th
July August Every Friday & Saturday
September. 1st & weekends 7th- 8th & 14th -
Tariffs 2014: Adults, €26 Child €18 (5-13 year
Reservation is highly recommended.
admission to the Grand Parc for the whole of 2014 season; Adult 63€,
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