Typically, when a school requests a theme park visit as part of a school trip itinerary, it’s to offer a relief of sorts to their students – a break from educational content, or as part of a larger enrichment or end-of-year reward trips. Very rarely does it form the basis of an educational trip created to support the curriculum.
However, there’s one theme park that’s ready to buck this trend – and it’s France’s most popular. Nestled within the enchanting landscapes of rural France, Puy du Fou emerges as a surprise gem among theme parks, defying conventions with its unique blend of education, entertainment, and cultural immersion.
At Puy du Fou, there are no rides, but visitors to the park will be at no loss for things to do. In this blog, we explore six compelling reasons why Puy du Fou stands out as an extraordinary destination for school groups. From blending entertainment with immersive historical storytelling, to transforming the idea of what a theme park really is, read on to discover why the hidden gem of Puy du Fou is such a superb choice for educational group travel.
Puy du Fou: key information
Where is it? Les Epesses, Pays de la Loire, western France
When is it open? Late March to early November
Annual visitors: 2.5 million (2023)
Accolades: Since 2012, Puy du Fou has regularly won the most prestigious international awards for theme parks and shows, and is consistently voted the most popular theme park in France among the French (beating even Disneyland Paris!). On TripAdvisor, it’s the top-rated amusement park in France for customer satisfaction, with an average score of 4.5/5.
1. There are no rides – but immersive experiences offer just as much fun
An absence of rides and rollercoasters may seem unusual for a traditional amusement park, but then Puy du Fou is anything but traditional. Set across 50 hectares of forest and gardens, Puy du Fou comprises several reconstructed historic villages based on eras spanning the Middle Ages to the 20th century. Within these settlements, history comes alive as actors wander the streets and artisans work inside the houses, sharing unique tidbits on their respective era with interested visitors.
Where Puy du Fou really excels, however, is in its shows and performances. With an enthralling combination of acrobatics, pyrotechnics, and immersion, Puy du Fou's remarkable staging techniques will leave both you and your students in awe as you ask yourselves again and again, “how did they do that?”.
2. Education is truly front and centre
Puy du Fou's commitment to historical accuracy and innovative storytelling techniques creates an unparalleled experience for visiting school groups – one that will entice curiosity and discussion among young historians, while it seamlessly integrates with school curricula. From the Romans and Vikings to the events of the First World War, Puy du Fou’s meticulously crafted shows offer a spectacular plunge into history, providing students with a unique and engaging way to learn about different periods in time.
With so many performances and events taking place every day, party leaders can easily build a travel itinerary that encapsulates tailored educational elements, ensuring that each aspect of the visit supports the individual learning objectives set within their academic frameworks.
3. French language learning is encouraged
Though its popularity in France is widespread, Puy du Fou remains a hidden gem for UK school groups and tourists – enhancing its authenticity as a French language school trip destination. The park's coverage of various historical periods provides a comprehensive educational experience for French language learners, who will be able to expand their vocabulary with the many subject areas covered here, while opportunities to enhance your students’ speaking skills are also abundant, courtesy of the park’s actors and other staff who are all too happy to converse with visitors.
4. Safety comes first
When it comes to school trips, Puy du Fou’s priority is always the safety and well-being of students. The park’s longstanding reputation for quality experiences comes with a strong commitment to safety, and professional guides and park staff are always at hand, assuring teachers and parents that their groups will be in a secure environment.
5. There’s flexibility for all ages
Puy du Fou excels in offering a variety of shows and attractions that cater to the junior school gigglers and the discerning teenager alike. Whether arranging student travel packages for younger pupils or more senior classes, Puy du Fou’s multitude of periods and narratives promise an engaging trip for all.
6. There are options to easily combine it with other destinations
For enrichment and French language groups with a little more time for their trip, Puy du Fou can be easily enhanced with an overnight stay or two in Paris either on your way or way back from Les Epesses. Medieval history teachings can also be complemented with a trip to Normandy, where you can explore the town of Bayeux and provide added context to classroom exercises on William the Conqueror and the Battle of Hastings.
For shorter trips, there are several other local attractions on the route to Puy du Fou to help break up the journey, such as Angers Castle, which is just over an hour’s drive from the park.
Equity’s top tip for visiting Puy du Fou
With activities spread across several villages, it can be easy to lose a lot of your time walking between excursions. We therefore recommend being strategic about your itinerary; school groups can optimise their time at Puy du Fou by downloading the Puy du Fou app, checking locations on the map, and reviewing the show timetables prior to arrival, to ensure you fit as much into your visit as possible.
Groups with limited time could also consider purchasing the additional Pass Émotion, which offers reserved seating in the 8 major shows in Puy du Fou up to ten minutes before the show begins.
Visit Puy du Fou on your next French, history, or enrichment school trip
As France’s favourite theme park, Puy du Fou stands as a testament to its combination of education, entertainment, and cultural immersion; in short, it’s everything a school trip to a theme park should be. The park's commitment to historical accuracy, innovative storytelling, and the overall experience it offers are truly unparalleled, and schools can only benefit from considering Puy du Fou as a legitimate addition to their history and French language curricula.
To find out more about our school trips to Puy du Fou, or enquire about booking a school trip, please call us on 01273 648248. You can also fill out our webform, and our school trip experts will get back to you as soon as we can.