A visit to the French theme park Puy du Fou takes you through the ages, from Antiquity to the Belle Epoque, with loads of stops along the way, at Viking raids, musketeer swashbuckling, the Renaissance, the trenches of Verdun and so much more. Even beyond the fantastic, mind-blowing shows — I’m not kidding, they are impressive and hailed as the best performances in Europe and perhaps even the world … they’re that good — you also have an array of imaginative hotels where you can rest your head right on the Puy du Fou grounds.
Why stay at a Puy du Fou hotel?
Like with a lot of other theme parks, Puy du Fou lets guests staying on-site in an hour earlier. The shows haven’t started but it’s a great time to wander around the villages (we loved the Middle Ages village, with novel souvenirs and a sculptor working assiduously on a life-size statue) and arrive at your bucket list shows early as they do get busy.
Plus, by staying at Puy du Fou hotel, you don’t feel like you’re in an anonymous corporate room with the trouser press and the artwork selected for its beige colour scheme. Each of the hotels has a cool theme and setting, which carry through in the building, the decor, even the vêtements of the front desk staff. These places have modern comforts but really set the mood for a couple of days of historically themed shows.
But which one suits you best? Here, I break them down and tell you more about them to make choosing easier.
The theme: Medieval fortress
Perfect for: Knights and dragonslayers eager to sleep among the turrets
The experience: This hotel actually looks like a fortress. You pass the portcullis and enter the courtyard, with its wooden carts, suspended lanterns and washing hanging on the line. This accommodation is arranged like a more traditional hotel, with an elevator and rooms off a main corridor. There are 74 “classic” rooms with 5 beds and 26 “comfort” rooms with 3 beds, and they feature gold fabrics, oak bedframes and stained glass windows. In my room, the children’s bunk beds were in a quite spacious room next to the water closet, with a curtain over the doorway. Lighting was dim in that room — reading a bedtime story would have been difficult
I loved: …The drama of the hotel entrance and the comfortable set-up in the master bedroom with seating and a coffee table
I didn’t love: It’s a minor point but I realised that my first-floor window, which opened onto the exterior wall and overlooked the turrets (awesome!), gave some guests returning from evening performances a view right into my room where I was changing. Oops.
Les Iles de Clovis
The theme: Middle Age lacustrian village
Perfect for: People who enjoy a “peasant” life as long as it comes with electricity, soft bedding and croissants at breakfast. If only serfdom was always so good.
The experience: I stayed in these accommodations, which are housed in huts on stilts overlooking water. You walk down dirt paths, over wooden bridges to get to your unit, which are in pairs. The result is that they feel a bit more separate and private. They have small decks over the water, with half-timbered walls and three-star comfort: wooden furniture and wet rooms with walk-in showers and separate loos. The children’s sleeping area is 2 bunk beds just next to the front door. Overall this was the most snug of the hotel rooms I saw.
I loved: …The sense of really stepping into the Middle Ages, with beautiful tranquil views over man-made water channels filled with carp specially selected to eat mosquitos. Thoughtful and smart! There are 500 beds in this complex but even during a busy weekend it felt calm.
I didn’t love: …How dark the entryway was. It was great to have a platform for suitcases but it was so dim in the hallf that the evening I had trouble finding the things I need inside my case. I would have loved a bulb on a dimmer switch here (no matter how anachronistic).
Female friendly touch: Plenty of room around for toiletries the granite basin.
Le Camp du Drap d’Or
The theme: The Renaissance of Francois I and Henry VIII is brought to life in 100 “Logeries” or tents of the Renaissance, with decor based on painting and engravings.
Perfect for: Little lords and ladies and their vassals (that’s you, Mum & Dad). Pack the doublet and jerkin.
The experience: These freestanding buildings are set along curving walkways. They’re regal, in red, blue and gold decorated with the arms of the crowns. When you check in, you’re greeted by costumed employees wearing the full caps and puffed sleeves of the era. The rooms feature four-poster beds, embroidered taspestries and hammered metal washbasins. The buffet restaurant Deux Couronnes serves hearty breakfasts and dinner.
I loved: The beautiful logeries themselves. Pictures of these got me hooked on Puy du Fou when I looked online. My friends who stayed in one loved the four-posters.
I didn’t love: I didn’t stay overnight so can’t comment on the accommodations themselves but all the regal trappings might go to your family members’ head and make them impossible to live with.
La Villa Gallo-Romaine
The theme: Ancient Rome, with Corinthian columns and relief carvings
Perfect for: Toga-lovers and anybody who loved Gladiator
The experience: This was the first hotel built at Puy du Fou, in 2007, and has 100 three-star family rooms.
I loved: The inner courtyard, typical of Ancient Rome, is incredibly inviting with olive trees, cypresses, rosemary and lavender. There is seating to pause and have a drink — perfect for a break before going to one of the evening shows. The set menu at the restaurant is served at long tables by staff in togas. We didn’t stay here but did it and it was yummy and served at a quick pace, good for families with children.
I didn’t love: There wasn’t anything that didn’t appeal about the Villa Gallo-Romaine, although there is one thing to note: This hotel is right near the entrance to the park. You might find this is a benefit, making getting in and out is easier and it’s closer if you want to swing back to your room during the day. However there is a lot of busy foot traffic in front of the hotel, which might make it a bit louder.
Le Logis de Lescure
The theme: 18th-century dwelling of the Vendée
Perfect for: Guests who love authenticité
The experience: One of the leaders of the 1793 War in the Vendée lived here at one time. Now each of these duplex suites in the building has a different theme: La Salle des Miroirs for couple (no comment), Le Planetarium for astronomy buffs (it includes a telescope!), Le Cabinet de Curiosities for nature lovers and Le Salon de Musique, which features a piano.
I like: That you can dine on your private terrace
I didn’t love: That I didn’t get to stay here