France’s ‘Puy du Fou’ comes to Spain

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PUY du Fou is a historical theme park in the heart of the Vendee region of Western France, known for its ostentatious historical re-enactments – ‘theatrical extravaganzas that feature animals, actors, stunt performers and epic pyrotechnics’.

The park brings more than 2 million visitors every year, making it the second most popular theme park in France after Disneyland Paris and it is getting ready to ‘go global’, with a new park planned in Spain.

Puy du Fou revealed this week that work will start in 2018 on a €200m ‘History of Spain’ theme park, which will open in Toledo in 2019.

The Spanish park will play host to a nightly 75-minute live show giving a history of the country from its earliest settlers through to the 19th century.

The performance will take place in a 25-acre arena, seating up to 4,000 spectators.

Restaurants, daytime shows and a ‘historic village’ depicting architecture from different provinces of Spain is expected to be added by 2020.

Once complete, the park will create more than 1,000 jobs and is expected to attract 15,000 visitors a day.

Though Puy du Fou is considered a distinctly French attraction, its chairman and artistic director, Nicolas de Villiers, stresses that it will not be a case of ‘France imposing its vision’ on Spain’s history and that the park will be ‘entirely Spain-driven’ by its manager in the country, Jesus Sainz. The country’s story will be ‘zealously overseen’ by historians from Toledo and elsewhere in Spain.

‘Puy du Fou is distinctly French because it’s deeply rooted in French heritage. In Spain, a Puy du Fou project can only be possible if our way of thinking, as creatives, becomes Spanish or Chinese,’ said de Villiers. ‘A Spanish Puy du Fou means a park with Spanish stories, rooted in the Spanish heritage, made from a Spanish point of view.’

Puy du Fou France is celebrating its 40th year in 2017 and has recorded a record-breaking 2,220,000 visitors and a turnover of €100m. Turnover at the park has tripled over the past 10 years, with visitor number increasing by 184 per cent.

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