The Cinescénie is the biggest night show in Europe. Every year, hundreds of thousands of spectators attend to this show produced by Puy du Fou. We did it this year. Read our opinion and especially, to help you, our tips.
What is the Cinescénie?
The Cinescénie is a night show directed by the park of Puy du Fou. It was created by Philippe de Villiers in 1977 and has continued to improve until it has become an internationally renowned show.
What is most exciting is to know that such a success is possible for a show that tells the history of the Vendée, a small part of France.
The figures for the Cinescénie show the immensity of the show and make you dizzy: more than 13,000 spectators per show, 4,000 volunteers each night, nearly 2,500 actors, 28,000 costumes…
The “Puyfolais”, nicknames given to the members of the Cinescénie, have achieved a real feat.
Where does the Cinescénie take place?
The Parc du Puy du Fou is in the Vendée in the small town of “Les Epesses”.
The Cinescénie does not take place directly in the park, but right next to it. When you leave the park, the entrance to the Cinescénie is on the first road to the right of the front gates.
When does the Cinescénie of the Puy du Fou take place?
While the park opens each year in the spring, the first annual show is in early June. The first few weeks, the show is only held on Saturday evenings.
Then from mid-June to the beginning of September, the Cinescénie is offered every Friday and Saturday night.
The show starts when the night falls. This allows the actors and visual effects such as fire to be better highlighted. In June-July, the starting time is 10:30 p.m. and in August-September, 10 p.m.
The show goes on even if it rains. But it is canceled when there are thunderstorms.
What is the price of the Cinescénie ticket?
The classic tickets to enter the Puy du Fou do not give you the right to attend the Cinescénie.
You have to buy a Puy du Fou ticket + Cinéscénie ticket, the prices begin at €64 for an adult.
It is also possible to take a ticket only for the Cinescénie. The cheapest ticket is €29 for an adult.
With Amélie, we paid a premium to have a “Silver” seat. We were seated in the highest rows in the middle of the grandstand. The price was €37.
There is also a “Gold” seat. With these tickets you have the best seats in the stand, bottom/middle and center. The price is €45.
When and how to book your tickets?
As soon as possible! All dates are sold out. If you wait until a week before the event to book, you may not find any available places. The most popular summer dates are sometimes booked up to a year in advance.
Each seat is numbered, and you must respect the indicated seat. So, the later you book, the less likely you are to find seats next to each other, especially if you are a group of 4 or more, or if the category you want is between “Bronze”, “Silver” and “Gold”. We made a reservation 2 months before the event and the choice of tickets was limited on some of the dates of the month.
The easiest way is to buy your tickets directly on the official website of Puy du Fou.
You have the option of having your ticket sent to your home by mail (for an additional fee) or a mobile ticket. With this option, you have a QR code to print or available on the Puy du Fou mobile application.
How long does the Cinescénie last?
The show lasts 1h30.
Since we were attending a performance scheduled at 10:30 p.m., our show ended at midnight.
However, it is indicated on the tickets to come an hour before the beginning to go through security, walk to the stands and up the steps to your seat.
The exit from the show can be long.
So, try to arrive around at least one hour before the show and you will probably leave the parking lot between 12:30 a.m. and 1:30 a.m.
Our Cinescénie experience
The entrance and the grandstand
Since we spent the day in the park, which closed at 9p.m., we arrived at the Cinescénie early. At 8:30 p.m., we were in front of the security.
Surprisingly, we were far from the first ones there and a lot of people were already gathering. After security, you walk to the steps of the grandstand. The entrance is not as smooth as in a soccer stadium since there is only one staircase and many people are old or in a physical condition that makes it difficult to climb the stairs…
There is only an uncovered stand. It can accommodate the thousands of spectators.
At the top of the stairs, you are in the hall of the stand. On your seats you have a door number. Each staircase in the hall leading up to the grandstand has a door number on it. You must go to the right door.
There are several volunteers to check your ticket and help you find your seat, but since each row and seat is numbered, it is easy to find.
The seats fold out and are quite comfortable compared to what I see in French sports stadiums. The seat size is decent, but not very wide either. I am 7.3 ft tall, and I found myself with tight knees and thus, in a relatively inconvenient position.
I was lucky (or a miracle since the show is normally sold out?) to have no one on my left. So, I put myself comfortable during the show.
The sets of the Cinescénie
You will be amazed. Even before the show, waiting in the stands allows you to observe the buildings.
One of the big assets of the Cinescénie is the size of the stage. You have:
- A track at the bottom of the grandstand: dancers, riders, vehicles, and others pass over it during the show. It is the heart of the stage.
- A large lake just after the runway: several events take place there as the lake is full of surprises and visual effects.
- A castle at the back of the lake: during the show, it is sometimes covered by a screen.
- Two small villages on the sides of the castle.
- Two tracks that go from the villages to the bottom of the grandstand.
- Two mills spinning in the distance.
The list is long, but it is not enough to describe the immensity of the scenery.
Indeed, in addition to this size of installation, you have an extraordinary technical work: the characters can walk on water, boats emerge on water, the house of the hero goes up and down on stage… As for the plays of light, they are perfect.
Moreover, during the most important scenes, everything comes to life. You have actors on the tracks, in front of the castle, on the lake, in the villages. Everywhere and simultaneously.
The story of the Cinescénie
The scenario of the Cinescénie was written by Philippe de Villiers. There is a real plot. We follow the generations of the Maupillier family.
This fictional local family allows us to approach all the important moments of the Vendée, notably the Vendéen genocide after the French Revolution. The term “genocide” is used by de Villiers and some historians. Others speak of “civil war”. I will not enter into the (fascinating) historical debate. Just know that the Vendée War and the repression are an important part of the Cinescénie.
You also discover what the life was before the French Revolution, the First and Second World Wars.
A narrative voice intervenes from time to time to explain the outlines of the upcoming picture. The characters have monologues and dialogues, but the main attraction is visual. The music during the scenes is gripping.
As for the voices, if you have a good ear and you know the French cinema, you will surely recognize some intonations. For my part, I quickly recognized Gérard Depardieu. By doing some research on the web, I discovered that other famous actors lent their voices to characters like Philippe Noiret, Catherine Salvia, Jean Piat, Alain Delon…
The exit from the stands and the parking lot
This is the least enjoyable part of the evening. You have just been amazed for more than an hour and you find yourself with a unique exit for more than 10,000 people. It’s slow and you have the usual misbehaving people pushing and trying everything to pass five people…
But, with patience, you get out of the grandstand and can walk to your parking lot. Be careful because some drivers seem to be uncomfortable with the crowd and the traffic.
If, like us, you were in the last few rows of the crowd and exited in late position, you will spend 45 minutes to an hour and a half between exiting the grandstand and the parking lots.
Examples of highlights during the Cinescénie
To seduce you without making a huge spoiler, here are a few highlights of the show:
- The frantic races of horsemen
- The fire-eaters
- The castle that is partially destroyed by fire
- The distant mills that catch fire
- The shows of the water jets of the fountains which even end up displaying faces…
- The sound of cannons (or shells, depending on the period)
- The passage of a bomber (and yes, a bomber flies briefly over the stand!)
- The fireworks.
As for the rest, you will see it during your future Cinescénie at the Puy du Fou !
Our opinion on the Cinescénie show
I sincerely wonder how someone can dislike the show. Of course, I have read reviews saying that the scenario was poor, that the scenes remained basic with people just dancing…
The fireworks end in apotheosis a magnificent show.Between us, these people seem silly to me. The show is fantastic. The best proof is the audience standing and clapping with stars in their eyes at the end.
I challenge you to find a show that has this many people on stage with this much action and visual effects. All this for a relatively low price since we pay much more for unstaged concerts…
We didn’t see the time pass and despite the cold and the limited space, I could have lasted two more hours.
There is emotion, culture, and action. The whole thing takes place in a setting that doesn’t feel like an “American-style show” like Disneyland. The Cinescénie manages to keep its original charm with its volunteers and its friendly atmosphere. It is really surprising and pleasant considering the success it has had.
We had always wished to attend the Cinescénie of the Puy du Fou. Despite very high expectations, we were not disappointed. It left us with fabulous memories, and I will recommend it to all those who hesitate to go, and you are the first one to discover my preaching!
* There are few pictures in my content and some of them come from other websites for a simple reason, it is asked not to take pictures and videos during the show. We followed the instruction except for the last five minutes when 50% of the people in front of us had the phone in hand.
As a professional blogger, I take advantage of my flexible schedule to travel a lot. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list!