The renowned French live entertainment theme park Puy du Fou celebrates its 40th anniversary this summer with €30 million of new additions – part of a wider €200 investment planned over the coming years. Officials have also announced further details of upcoming parks in Spain and China.
Located in the Vendée region, Puy du Fou is France’s most popular theme park after Disney. Last year, the Thea Classic Award winning attraction welcomed 2,220,000 visitors, an increase of 8% over 2015. Revenue during the six-month season was over €100 million, a 21% increase.
Whilst its shows and themed villages all feature a historical slant, the park uses a lot of technology and special effects to bring them to life. It has developed, for example, its own Neopter drones (as pictured right) with the company Pixiel for use in its flagship Cinéscénie spectacular. For its show Le Grand Carillon, Puy du Fou worked with L-Acoustics to develop a customised sound distribution solution.
New for 2017
The 2017 season goes into full steam on June 3 when Cinéscénie begins its 15 weekend run. Here’s what new additions guests can expect across the park:
- La Grand Carillon – as pictured top of page. In the centre of a traditional 18th Century village stands an imposing 16m bell tower. During each performance, this intricately designed tower gradually uncovers around 100 bells housed within it. Over the course of 10 minutes, actors leap into the air to the rhythm of famous and popular French melodies.
- Las Ballet Des Sapeurs. In 1900, the inhabitants of the village struggled to extinguish the flaming wreck of vehicle whose engine had exploded. Only the light and delicate breath of the beautiful Celine will calm the fire. This humorous production takes its inspiration in the world of musical comedy and silent cinema. It is the first show to be performed exclusively by children from the Puy du Fou Academy. This 8-minute show will be performed up to four times a day.
- La Citadelle. This new medieval-inspired hotel (pictured below) transports Puy du Fou guests back to the middle-ages. Its interior features walls adorned in rich fabrics and thick traditional woods. With 448 beds spread over 100 rooms, La Citadelle increases Puy du Fou’s hotel capacity to more than 400 rooms and 2,000 beds.
- l’Ecuyer Tranchant. Accompanying the new La Citadelle hotel, this buffet restaurant recreates an authentic medieval castle’s kitchen. Dishes including wine-soaked pears and a spectacularly presented fowl in a barbouille sauce await hungry guests.
- La Mijoterie du Roy Henry. At the exit of the Theatre of Giants, this new restaurant features sumptuous Renaissance décor. Tapas, meats, pistachios and apricots, and cream with orange blossom are on offer at the lunch and dinner buffets.
Puy du Fou International
Since 2010, Puy du Fou International has been advising partners on the creation of Puy du Fou style parks and entertainment around the world. Live shows are already peformed in the UK (Kynren) and the Netherlands (Raveleijn at Efteling). Even larger projects are now in development for Spain and China. Each will celebrate their particular region’s rich history. New details on the €200 million Spanish project, which will be a full park called Puy du Fou Toledo, include:
• A 75-minute night show peformed inside a 10 hectare/25 acre, 4,000 capacity arena (opening 2019)
• Daytime shows, restaurants and historic village likely to be similar to Barcelona’s Poble Espanyol, to be added in 2020
• Up to 15,000 guests expected per day
Discussions on the first of what could be two parks in China continue. The location has yet been revealed, but it is likely to open by 2025 at a cost of around €300 million. It will be operated on a franchise model supported by private partners.
Puy du Fou goes from strength to strength
More than €450 million have been invested in Le Grand Parc du Puy du Fou since it began with Cinéscénie in 1977. Including this year’s addtions, a further €200 million will be spent by 2025. Over the past 10 years, the original French park has seen visitor numbers increase by 184%. During the same period, turnover has more than tripled.
Earlier this year, ProTourisme conducted a study into Puy du Fou’s impact on the surrounding region. It found that the park, which operates from April to September, generates €277 million in economic spin-offs each year. For each euro spent by guests inside the park, an additional €3.20 is spent in the surrounding area. The park, which opens from April to September, also creates 4,700 direct and indirect jobs.
All images courtesy Puy du Fou