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Le Puy du Fou

While it may not be well known outside France, Le Puy du Fou, located in the Vendée in Pays-de-la-Loire is a big favourite for the French. Around 1.45 million people visit the park every year, making it the second most popular attraction in France after Disneyland Paris.

Cinéscénie - Justifiably regarded as the greatest sound-and-light show in Europe, this is a spectacular illuminated show takes place in the evening on a huge outdoor stage behind the ruined castle. It tells the story of the 700 years of history in the area. The Cinescene boasts the largest stage in the world, thousands of actors, hundreds of horses and about 400 fireworks per performance. All of the dialog is in French, but English and Dutch dialog is provided via headphones. All of the actors and actresses (even the children) come from the local villages and are volunteers.

Grand Parcours - This "historical theme park" at Le Puy-du-Fou, has shows with falconry, horse riding, jousting, magic and music, a reconstructed 18th century village with demonstrations of rural crafts and atmospheric reconstructions of a Norman fort, a medieval town and an 18th-century village.

The park is split into five separate attractions, each running for approximately 30 - 40 minutes:

The Secret of the Lance is set in front of a Middle Age Castle. It relates the story of a young shepherdess who must defend alone her donjon from the English knights, helped by a lance with supernatural powers.

The Vikings is set in a reconstructed 1000 year old fortress that is attacked by a Viking Longship. You'll see the emergence of a Longboat from underwater and a saint walking on the water.

Triumph's Sign is set in a replica of an amphitheater 115m long and 75m wide. It recreates the Gaul atmosphere during Roman times featuring a traditional parade of people and animals, gladiatorial combat, chariot racing and executions.

The Phantom Birds Dance is a show with a mysterious story. Encouraged by the falconers, dozens of birds of prey surge from the ruins and swoop low over the heads of the visitors.

Richelieu's Musketeers features Musketeers performing swash-buckling sword fighting and Gypsy girls Flamenco dancing in water. Horses also perform special trotting / jumping techniques. Performed in complete darkness, it's the only show staged indoors.

These shows are all presented in French, but translators are available. Other smaller spectacles are available only in French.


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