Sunday, August 7, 2011

The madman's well

Yep, that's what Puy du fou means :) And it's even more fun than it sounds. It's basically a park tucked into gorgeous woods with all sorts of shows and attractions portraying different time periods of french history.

And more specifically, it also tells the stories of the region , la Vendée.

One of my favorite attractions is the Gallo-roman stadium, complete with Christians being fed to lions (don't worry, there's a miracle and the lions don't touch her. A hyena chases the roman senator though :), bloody gladiator fights and chariot races. It is AWESOME. For those of you that don't know, the Gauls were the people that lived in a large area of what is now France when the Romans took over. If you've ever read Asterix and Obelix comic books, they're Gauls.

So here's an idea of how awesome it is:

oh no! here come the lions!

two rebel Christians drew a fish in the sand, an early Christian symbol

and they got in trouble

thank goodness, turns out Damien the centurion is one of theirs!

It's awesome because they really make you a part of the show. I may or may not have teared up a little... At the beginning, we were sitting on the same side as a group of Gauls who were booing the Romans that arrested the Christians (before the show started) and all the spectators started booing the senators and other Romans, it was awesome.

We had lots of fun, as you can see.

letting my inner viking shine

my cousin Estelle and aunt Adeline

my other aunt Véronique

Then there's the seriously incredible falconry show:

this guy was a bit close for comfort

Andrew has the wingspan of a royal eagle

And there were plenty of other shows, like the one where a viking drakkar rises out of the water to attack a village...

And in between there are villages, shops, artisans...

aw, a little crusader

Oh and of course there's a musketeer show, although that one was kind of random. And there was jousting and doing all sorts of acrobatics off horses.

The grand finale is an evening show overlooking a mini lake and castle with over 2000 volunteers, pyrotechnics, and all sorts of awesome stuff. The show tells the story of the region beginning in the middle ages and goes through world war II. One thing that really struck me was the pride that the people of the region take in their history and the enormous work they do to preserve it. For example, the falconry show isn't just a really cool show: they use those proceeds to breed and care for endangered species of the area and to perpetuate the tradition. This guy flies around the park all day with his geese following :)

The whole place is fueled by a school of performing arts with the specific purpose of preparing youth to continue to maintain the park. It's really incredible.

Interesting fact: Vendéens were actually staunch royalists, so during the revolution they suffered a lot because they refused to accept the new government and had tried to fight for the king. It was kind of interesting to see the other side of history portrayed in the show, it's a story that's rarely told. I had always just assumed everybody was glad to see the king go, but to the Vendéens it was also a religious issue: "God and the King" was their motto, and they believed that being faithful to God meant supporting their king, who was a divinely appointed man.

Many of the attractions had deeply religious messages, so the stories were not just fun and exciting, they were also very inspiring. So if you ever head over to France, you should definitely not miss the Puy du fou!

0 grain(s) de sel:

Post a Comment