Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Puy du Fou, history and legend. Part 1

May 16th

The "Puy du Fou" is the largest theme park in France. In 2012 it received the "Thea" award in California for the best theme park in the world. After Giverny (Monet's house and gardens) it was my (Blanka) favorite place.
There are six major pageantries which combine history and legend from Roman times to pre-Renaissance. These were all held in special arenas seating 2,000 or more spectators. 
The park is situated in acres and acres of unspoiled land, and wherever you turn a new impression awaits you (our pictures will speak for themselves). Besides the theme pageantries there are also a mid-eval village, a castle, flower gardens, the animal meadow, a rose garden, a bird sanctuary, several lakes, a 1900 village with carousel and automated musicians and a lot more!
My (Blanka) favorite event was "The Ball of the Fantom Birds". We were so impressed with the majesty of these birds, that we actually went to see it again the second day. For the birds see part 2 of this blog.

"The Lance of Joan of Arc"
In this legend Joan of Arc (second from left) gives her magic lance to the damsel of the castle to defend it from the English.
There is a fierce battle, but in the end the castle is saved ... 
…and the damsel is reunited with her knight.
 The Viking are coming ...
As the wedding dance is being celebrated the fearful cry:"the Vikings are coming" rings out over the village...
…animals are driven into hiding...
…as the boats of the enemy come into view...
…and a fierce battle takes place.
In the end the good conquer the bad as in so many of the old legends.

 The Romans and the Christians
For those among you who don't know the legend of the founding of Rome:
Romulus and Remus were twin babies left in the forest to die. They were raised by wolves and became fierce warriors and founded Rome.
We are in the Roman arena in the early years of the Puy du Fou.
One of the Roman centurions has become a Christian and has to prove himself in the chariot race…
(They really did race around the track at a full speed.)
...and is then destined for lion fodder.
His bride to be will end up the same unless the Roman governor shows his mercy.
So the lion waits patiently.
But in the end the good prevail again.

Knights of the Round Table
The castle of the Puy du Fou lies quiet in the late afternoon sun. 
Slowly before our eyes the water recedes and reveals the round table with its knights.
Somehow the legend of King Arthur is intertwined with the legends of the Puy du Fou in this pageant.
It was amazing to see the technical complexity and staging that are a part of these events.
 Festival of water, fire and light

Imagine yourself sitting at a lake late at night, all of a sudden a woman in a glittering robe apears playing a harp.
The harp was joined by a piano and organ and balerinas on swans floating eerily across the water.
The music swells and the fountain bursts forth in light...
…and sound (sorry we could not add it) but the music and light were amazingly beautiful.
The finale includes huge bursts of fire interspersed among the water fountains.
And a lot more to enjoy!
The baker
His oven.
The puppet show. 
The minstrels.
The mechanical musicians
All of these were part of the different villages, representing arts, crafts and professions of their reespective eras.

Enchanting grounds
Wherever we went, 
it was beautiful,
sometimes eerie,
but always lovely.
 The animals of the park
A sleepy duck...
a napping lamb...
hungry piglets...
with a tired mom...
and soft nosed donkeys, perfect for petting...
Puy de Fou.  Part 2 - the birds should be posted tomorrow it will be really cool. Here is just a hint of what's flying your way.