Entering Puy du Fou is time travel. And dive into stories with History. Accompany the Cid Campeador on his adventures and sail with Christopher Columbus on a ship that moves and, even at times, seems to be sinking. After a first test with night in The Dream of Toledo, which has been represented in the city of La Mancha since 2019, exhausting places despite the coronavirus, on March 27 it opens its doors this French show park, but changing the map and the references.
Your target audiences are Spanish families. Hence, the ticket with access to four performances in one day costs 27 euros. They want an entire clan to be able to afford it. As a novelty, they also allow the introduction of food and drink, which can be taken at the designated picnic areas.
“We do not care so much about billing as we are excited. I can assure you that the visit will be worth it and you will be shocked, “says Erwan de la Villeon, the Breton CEO of Puy du Fou, in perfect Spanish. A lover of Toledo responsible for the international expansion that Madrid rejected, although that it was the first idea, along with Florence and Austria.
The French model has been replicated with the same patriotic sentiment and without skimping on means. Centered on Spanish Golden Age, “183 million euros have been invested and the amount is expected to rise to 242 million between now and 2028 “, explains Irene Palomino, the Toledo communication and press officer who has returned home after passing through Manchester. Many workers like her, out of the total 687, come from the area.” Toledo is a gem , it has been a historical capital at different times such as the Visigothic Kingdom and by heart it sums up many influences “, points out Erwan de la Villeon, who has been living there for four years.
This spokesperson has already verified the success of the format in the neighboring country, from which the brand originates (hence the name that will be unpronounceable for some Spaniards and is due to a castle). Its about second theme park in visits after Disneyland Paris. And they studied to change it but in the end the value of the brand could.
When asked about the flag messes in Spain, he departs from claims. “Absolutely all countries have problems with our history, but what sediments explains our roots and we always learn from it. Many children thirst for identity after visiting a park like this, because their idols anywhere on the globe are cardboard stone standards: Batman, Harry Potter and PokÃ © mon “.
Now there will be room in your thoughts for Queen Isabel or the poet Lope de Vega. “It is not that we are historians or teachers, but we present a concern to them at a time when commerce always prevails over culture. In France I have seen how children flipan with his story “, comments the also screenwriter in a hearty tone. And he adds: “Knowing where you come from helps to civilize.”
A microworld in a field in La Mancha
Despite the capacity limit, in Puy du Fou it is intended that in a single day you can see Beyond the ocean sea (in honor of the discovery of America), The Last Song (dedicated to the Cid with an unprecedented rotating staging), Pen and sword (for Lope de Vega) and Falconry of Kings (with birds paraces). At night, The Dream of Toledo it will remain a separate option, although there is a combo option for 41 euros. You will also be able to access three historic towns and 30 hectares of nature, with 1,200 replanted olive trees behind Filomena. “There is only asphalt in the parking lot, the rest of the materials are noble, such as wood.”
In those neighborhoods of our ancestors, which remind the people of Beauty and the BeastYou can have a drink in different restaurants decorated with great taste, with garlic and dried peppers hanging from the walls, a wood oven for the meat that was consumed then served on period dishes. There are also small kiosks to share from the different positions, so there are no fights.
When the audience leaves the shows, there is still more besides food. The shops, which you are not forced to go through, are a must.. The shop assistants are very well dressed characters and are full of artisans writing live calligraphy or making their own product. There is artisan honey, violet candies, scented candles in sinuous shapes … It’s like being inside a medieval movie and more than one, when you want to take it all away, you will think: “Luckily this catches me higher”.
Just one hour from Madrid, and 10 minutes from Toledo capital, one manages to isolate oneself from the world. 21st century at least, if it weren’t for it’s riddled with hydrogel dots. More than 200,000 euros have been spent on measures for covid-19 last year and they hope to triple that budget in 2021. The “good” thing about the stoppage is that they have been able to adapt all the facilities to the pandemic era. The bad thing is masks and bubble groups make testing very difficult of actors who are real athletes. “They perform acrobatics, they are dancers, they draw the sword … The casting has been tough because they require many skills and everyone knows each role of the show”, slides Vice President JesÃºs Sainz, who alludes to the quality of the performances.
Pilar Revuelta, with an Oscar for Best Artistic Direction for The Pan’s Labyrinth, is among the set designers who help to get into history. “There are stages that are twice the Teatro Real in dimensions”, adds Palomino. The shows must be faithful to the times they deal with but artistic licenses are granted. The performers’ trainers come from the Parc de France and the artistic team has 60 people plus the technical team. “And they are not volunteers,” they clarify regarding the controversy served in France.
Now they rehearse eight hours a day from Monday to Saturday in shifts. “Each show will be performed between five and six times a day. If it is not spectacular, it does not hook, that’s why everything that is told is also seen”says David Carpintero, responsible for the show that fills the stage with water. Without a doubt, here you soak up the history. Before the pandemic they had a million visitors a year. The forecasts are not so flattering for the next 183 days it will remain open. “We have no financial pressure, it is a long-term investment. For now, the important thing is that real talents will no longer have to leave their country. They will be applauded in their land dressed in the suits of a tailor shop with 25 seamstresses. Send the art, not the money”, Erwan de la Villeon adds.