The shows at Puy du Fou are generally amazing even if sometimes something is lost in translation.
The Musketeers of Richelieu show. This is the only indoor show and the theater is huge. As expected it is full of swashbuckling sword play and intrigue regarding a plot against the King – foiled by the masked man who turns out to be or becomes a musketeer. What was unexpected for us, was the amazing dancing routine that completes the show. Especially the haunting duet with a white horse and its trainer in the dark with only blue light. The grand finale of horses and Spanish women dancing Flamenco in water was splash-tastic! This was a favorite of the boys so we went to this twice.
The viking show starts with a viking attack interrupting a marriage celebration in a village, only to be thwarted by a mysterious cleric that miraculously rises from the water holding a baby that had been thrown in the water earlier. Confronted with this miracle/magic, the vikings surrender and convert(?). As mysteriously as he appeared the cleric disappears (courtesy of a trapdoor) leaving only a pile of clothes. The attack is amazing combining fire including people and horses on fire, fighting, a stampede of bulls, ships that rise out of the water or slide down a hill and a building that collapses.
For Leah and I, the best show was the bird show. The spectators sit in two sets of stands which face each other with bird perches along the walkways and a central field in the middle. It starts with a story which has some premise about a girl being risen from the dead and then via some magic or something meets her prince charming. Thankfully the story is only was center stage for about 3 minutes of the show. Then a snowy owl flies across the bowl with about 1000 eyes glued to it. Next a pair of burrowing owls fly back and forth in and out of small holes in the walls on the floor of the bowl. Soon there are falconers releasing and catching eagles, owls and buzzards all around the bowl. You are continually ducking and occasionally get hit by a wing tip as the birds glide over the crowd. We went twice and it wasn’t enough. Some of the birds are released from a large balloon which sits about 500 feet above the stage.
Another favorite of the boys was the Roman Coliseum show which starts with a parade of animals, a few floats commemorating the Roman gods and then herding of a bunch of Christians in the ring to be executed. A long conversation ends with the head of the guard revealing he is a Christian who will earn his and the Christians freedom by competing in four events and winning. What follows is a gladiatorial combat, chariot race, lions who refuse to eat the prisoners and the disposing of the Roman consul. Great fun!
There was also a show where Arthur breaks Excalibur because he doesn’t act chivalrously. He regains the sword from a mermaid once he changes his ways.
The most technologically advanced show involves the destruction of a castle and several siege engines attacking a keep but the boys didn’t really like it as much because the story was centered on a girl who learns she is magic and can protect the castle using a magic lance or something…. lost in translation. There is a great pair of “clowns” who entertain the crowd by getting an audience member to try out a few medieval games all the while making sure he and the other clown does poorly. A troupe of horseman also perform riding tricks which is amazing, especially because we were sitting very close to the action.
My second favorite was the Love Letter of Verdun which is one of many walk through exhibits where you experience a taste of what life in the trenches in WW1 was like. The boys made it about halfway before they had to eject via one of many of the exits provided for less stalwart audience members. All around you are people yelling “REGARDEZ”, the ground shaking from artillery, men running through the flames in the distance and then most interestingly cast members walking through the trench against the flow of people, yelling and rushing. During the gas attack scene somehow I ended alone in the trench with in the dark with mist flowing all around me and then suddenly a solider appeared out of the mist creeping towards me with a gas mask on and pistol at the ready, needless to say I was surprised – he must scare the $#!T out of a 100 people a day! It was really well done and I couldn’t believe how realistic it was. Check out this video!!
Puy du Fou is a must see for any family heading to France!