Puy du Fou: the Success of a global expansion Strategy
Le Puy du Fou, a French success story, now radiates around the world with its international expansion strategy. But how this champion of time travel is conquering new territories and inspiring audiences the world over. In 2022 Le Puy du Fou ranks No. 2 worldwide in Tripadvisor’s Travelers’ Choice “Best of the Best” rankings, ahead of the American theme park giants, and takes first place worldwide in the theme park category.
A French “time travel” champion conquers the world
Le Puy du Fou has set itself an ambitious development strategy, with the aim of becoming the prefered global brand by 2030. This translates into the opening of three new parks, in addition to the sites already in operation in France and Spain. There are two main thrusts to the international expansion: the opening of a series of Puy du Fou theme parks around the world, clones directly inspired by the Spanish and French models, and another approach which involves taking its recognizable and innovative shows abroad, as they have done in the UK and the Netherlands – with another already at work with Cherokee people in USA , due to launch in 2024-2025.
Le Puy du fou, Expansion routes
2023 marked a historic year as Le Puy du Fou surpassed its record-breaking 2022 season with 3.6 million visitors in France and Spain! The park has grown exponentially over the years, evolving into a truly multinational enterprise, with 32 shows across Europe, hotels and a range of merchandising products. It’s a French success story that exceeds the initial dreams of the Villiers family.International business now accounts for over 20% of Puy du Fou’s sales, compared with just 5% in 2019.
Puy du Fou Spain: An Immersive Journey into History
Global expansion successfully began in the Netherlands and Great Britain, but the opening of the park near Madrid in 2021 marked the true beginning of a worldwide presence. Adaptations to local cultures, such as the show “Mysteries of Sorbaces,” have enabled the Puy du Fou to attract 1.1 million visitors to Spain in three years.
Puy du Fou Espana
This strategy of cultural immersion is proving crucial in winning over new audiences. Taking spectators on a journey to the heart of the Visigoth kingdom during a forbidden marriage between a young Roman woman and a Visigoth prince is just one of the experiences on offer at Puy du Fou España. The theme park covers more than 30 hectares and was launched thanks to an investment of almost 200 million euros. Its immediate and remarkable success has made it the most awarded park in history, with 23 awards in less than 4 years of existence.
The American market: The Cherokee Nation
In 2024-2025, the United States of America will host, in Tennessee, a major Puy du Fou show, telling the extraordinary story of the Cherokee people. It will be built at the foot of the “ Great Smoky Mountains”, America’s first national park, which welcomes over 14 million visitors every year (the most visited natural park in the USA ).The total budget for the show is estimated at 72 million euros ($75 million), borne by the Cherokee Nation and the Parc du Puy du Fou. The park is scheduled to open to the public after two years of construction.
This is the first time that the Puy du Fou has projected its artistic model to America. Answering the call of the Eastern Cherokees, the Puy du Fou will put its know-how at the service of the historical and cultural heritage of this great Indian nation, which has weathered trials and tragedies with greatness and wisdom. They proudly wear the colors of America.
This new immersive creation, inspired by an authentic story, will plunge visitors into the clash of the First World War in the heart of a shattering epic, from the Appalachians to the plains of Champagne in France.
Expansion in China: New “SAGA” artistic concept
China becomes Puy du Fou’s ground for innovation with the “SAGA” artistic concept. Successfully tested in Shanghai, this project offers an immersive experience based on Chinese history and legends. Strategic partnerships with major Chinese players strengthen Puy du Fou’s position in this fast-growing market.
The Chinese historical show will be completely different from the French and Spanish versions. The brand-new artistic concept has been designed from the ground up to take place in the heart of the world’s major cities.
The SAGA experience is a total escape in Shanghai in the 1930s. This show offers ane ultra-immersive creation where visitors are drawn into a story offering multiple choices in its unfolding, inviting them to choose their own course as they progress. With a multiple-choice scenario, the show will offer a total of more than 26 possible adventures.
Installed in Shanghai’s Everbright Convention & Exhibition Center, near the Xujiahui district, on a total surface area of 40,000 m2, the immersive show will also include a themed restaurant and bars.
This new ultra-immersive concept in the heart of the city aims to offer the world new emotions. SAGA, moreover, has its sights set on rapid internationalization, with discussions already underway with several major cities around the world.
To bring this ambitious project to fruition, the Puy du Fou has chosen to join forces with two major Chinese partners: CYTS, the tourism subsidiary of the Everbright Group, and Shanghai Xuhui Urban Renewal Investment Development Group, the investment company of the Xuhui district of the city of Shanghai.
No Tsar in Russia
Project aborted in Crimea: In 2014, an agreement was reached in Russia to build two theme parks called “Tsargrad Center”, which would tell the country’s history through a model inspired by the French theme park, Le Puy du Fou had signed this agreement, with one park to be built in the region of Crimea, and the other near Moscow. Unfortunately, the project came to a halt in 2017 and was removed from the park’s agenda.
Le Puy du Fou in the UK: the Kynren show
Kynren is an impressive outdoor night show that brings to life an epic of England through 2,000 years of history, myth and legend.
Le Puy du Fou conceived and staged Kynren as Eleven Arches’ artistic partner for the show’s creation in 2016, exporting the “Cinescénie” concept for the first time with a team of 1,000 English volunteers.
Nestled in the shadow of the spectacular Auckland Castle, Kynren is performed each summer to tens of thousands of spectators in County Durham, north-east England.
Premium diversification, the Belle Epoque Train
In 2024, Le Puy du Fou is launching Un Grand Tour de la France, in a Belle Epoque train, a Premium event that could cost 4,900 euros a ticket. No more than 36 passengers will board each time, in one of the 18 Grand Tour carriages pulled by the Steam locomotive. This Belle Epoque train is scheduled to run for six days and five nights. The ticket but gives access to a VIP program: menus designed by a three-starred chef, and nine stops to discover destinations steeped in history (the famous Hospices de Beaune, the 13th-century medieval citadel of Carcassonne, Avignon, residence of the Catholic popes from 1309 to 1377…). The Belle Epoque train embarks on a 4000 km journey across France.
Puy du Fou, recipes for universal success
Concept and Strategy of Differentiation
In developing a unique artistic concept, the Puy du Fou has made a strategic choice that stands out among the greatest show creators, that of maintaining in-house mastery of three decisive skills: the art of design, the art of building and the art of bringing innovative shows to life.
Adapting to international markets
Adaptation is at the heart of Puy du Fou’s international strategy. Each show is carefully adapted to reflect local cultural nuances, guaranteeing deep resonance with international visitors. This flexibility has been a key factor in winning new audiences around the world.
A model that builds loyalty
74% of Puy du Fou visitors return within 5 years. Each show is reviewed every year. Puy du Fou launches a new show every two years. This was the case this year in Vendée with “Le mime et l’Étoile”, which transports spectators into a Belle Époque film studio and has already won three European awards.
Technology as the new standard
To facilitate visitor orientation, a visit engine has been specially designed. It offers the possibility, depending on available time and interests, of composing one’s own program online from among the 18 shows available on the park’s 500 hectares. Families already spend an average of 1.7 days on site. This tool is now used by 60% of visitors. Even foreign tourists are taken into account: English-language advertisements await them at campsites on the Vendée coast, which they frequent en masse. Show dialogues are translated live via the mobile app, which also features audio description.
As for the shows, visitors are not left out. Whether with the 31 synchronized drones that bring an aerial dimension to the Cinescénie, or with “Le Premier Royaume”, which offers an olfactory experience. Scents of old books, incense and fresh herbs accompany you throughout the scenes. The technical team has also developed a water levitation and water printing system. The 150 audio tracks broadcast in 360° amplify the immersion. “Le Dernier Panache” proves to be a true technological feat on several levels, particularly where the venue is concerned. The stage rotates 360° around the 2400 seats, requiring a year and a half of construction to achieve.
Awards from around the world
Best Park in the World (Thea Classic Award) LOS ANGELES in 2012 .In 2013, the park was awarded “Best Park in Europe 2013” at the Parksmania Awards held in Piacenza, Italy329. In 2014, Cinéscénie was awarded the prize for “Best European event of the 2014 season” at the Parksmania Awards held in Rome, Italy. Also in 2014, the park receives the Applause Award presented by IAAPA in Orlando, Florida330,112.
In 2016, the show Les Amoureux de Verdun received a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement – Attraction, Limited Budget by the Themed Entertainment Association In 2017, the show Le Dernier Panache also received a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement – Live Show by the same association.
On September 26, 2018, Le Mystère de la Pérouse receives a Live Entertaiment of the Year, at the Park World Excellence Awards Europe 2018 in Amsterdam.
On October 5, 2018, Le Mystère de la Pérouse receives the European Top New Attraction award at the Parksmania Awards in Bergamo, Italy. On September 18, 2019, the show Le Premier Royaume, receives the Live Entertaiment of the Year award at the 2019 Park World Excellence Awards.
On October 18, 2019, Le Premier Royaume receives the award for Best European Creation 2019 at the Parksmania Awards.
On November 20, 2019, Le Premier Royaume receives the Thea Classic Award for Outstanding Achievement in the attraction category. On December 8, 2020, Les Noces de Feu receives the award for Best Show of the Year, at the Park World Excellence Awards ceremony.
International Sales Campaigns and Marketing Strategies
Celebrities and Influencers on the front line
Word-of-mouth is the number-one trigger for visits to Le Puy du Fou.
To promote its parks and shows, Puy du Fou organizes events bringing together celebrities and influencers: this was the case in Spain, where previews brought together the best ambassadors possible in the image of TV presenter Roberto Leal, model Mar Flores, actress Vanessa Romero or Tamara Gorro influencers Judith Fronton, Bea Pascual.
The invitation of British influencers Britmums to Puy du Fou in France. Is an other exmpele of the Influencers strategy
Each of these events, partnerships and institutional collaborations has played a key role in Puy du Fou’s international expansion, enhancing its reputation and attracting a diverse audience. These actions testify to the park’s determination to promote culture and history on a global scale, while enriching the experience of its visitors.
Contests and Sharing Experiences: Le Puy du Fou has organized contests in partnership with influencers, offering exclusive experiences. For example, @AdventureSeekers co-organized a contest allowing winners to experience a VIP day at the park.
The Puy du Fou YouTube channel collaborated with vloggers specializing in theme parks, such as @ThemeParkCrazy, to create exclusive behind-the-scenes content and unique experiences offered by the park.
In 2023, the Hungry & Foolish agency was at the helm.
This global campaign was orchestrated by Arena Media (Havas Group) – it can be found on TV, FLIGHT, OOH, radio, social media, digital, and influence. The campaign film features two realities: a Viking battle, and the imagination of a child recounting his experience at Puy du Fou.
Advertising on social networks
Advertising agencies specializing in social networks, such as @SocialBuzzMasters or @santa blab bla, were hired to maximize the effectiveness of paid campaigns. Video and interactive ads have been designed to increase engagement.
In 2022, 20 content creators were called upon for a 3-stage campaign: Each was briefed to choose a few items from the new Puy du Fou online store (children’s costumes, plush toys, board games…) for a “homemade” unboxing. Influencers then shared their family experiences at Puy du Fou over the summer, revealing their captivating adventures on social networks. Throughout December, each influencer organized an exciting competition, offering the chance to win an unforgettable stay in this exceptional park, accompanied by an exclusive item from the online boutique.
Collaboration with Cultural Missions Abroad
– A Travelling Exhibition at the French Embassy in Washington D.C. (United States) offered visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the world of Le Puy du Fou.
Le Puy du Fou worked with cultural missions to promote its park at special events in Shanghai, helping to attract Chinese visitors, notably through a Travelling Exhibition in Beijing (China).
Each of these events, partnerships and institutional collaborations has played a key role in Le Puy du Fou’s international expansion, enhancing its reputation and attracting new audiences. These actions testify to the park’s determination to promote culture and history on a global scale, while enriching the experience of its visitors.
Collaboration with Tourist Offices
World Tourism Fair: Le Puy du Fou participated in the World Tourism Fair in Berlin, Paris, and Tokyo, in collaboration with local tourism offices, strengthening its presence on the international tourism scene.
The World Tourism Fair (Berlin, Germany) helped promote its shows to an international audience, or in partnership with the Spanish Tourist Office, the Puy du Fou integrated its shows into tourist circuits.
Le Puy du Fou has worked with Australian travel agencies to promote its shows at events in Sydney, opening up new horizons in Oceania.
Collaboration with Museums
A few examples: the Temporary Exhibition at the British Museum (London, UK) and the Temporary Exhibition at the Prado Museum (Madrid, Spain)enabled the Puy du Fou to highlight certain historical aspects of its shows to a British and Spanish audience
Partnerships with Major Events
Le Puy du Fou created festive links by taking part in the Carnaval de Rio, with floats dedicated to its shows, expanding its visibility beyond the world of historical spectacle.
Le Puy du Fou sponsored theEdinburgh Performing Arts Festival, offering previews of its shows and thus becoming part of the Scottish cultural scene.
The park presented extracts from its shows at the Venice Film Festival, creating links with the world of cinema and attracting international attention.
The support of the Spanish and Chinese authorities was crucial. In Spain, the Puy du Fou received the support of the local government of Toledo. Le Puy du Fou Spain represents an investment of almost 200 million euros. In China, the park has been integrated into the Shanghai urban revitalization project, and represents an investment of 72 million euros.
Le Puy du Fou Imperial
During President Emmanuel Macron’s trip, in 2019 the idea of the Puy du Fou park to extend its concept to China took a more precise shape. The project envisages the creation of a show in Qinhuangdao, close to the Great Wall, where it plunges into the Bohai Sea, drawing inspiration from the model tried and tested in Vendée over the past forty years.
The scenario will highlight the fascinating story of Qin Shi Huang, China’s first emperor (259-210 BC). In addition to the show itself, the project includes the construction of a themed hotel, a show restaurant and a period village, to offer total immersion in this captivating historical period. The projected investment for this ambitious expansion amounts to 230 million euros, involving the mobilization of some 200 people.
Puy du Fou, International Pioneer
Le Puy du Fou is emerging as a global entertainment pioneer, orchestrating a historic triumph in France and strategic international expansion. Wise market choices, intelligent adaptation, strategic partnerships, innovative technology, and efficient internal organization: Le Puy du Fou is a model for any company aspiring to conquer the global entertainment market.
Puy du Fou’s top shows by popularity
- La Cinéscénie : The world’s biggest night show, retracing the history of the Vendée through breathtaking special effects, thousands of extras and a huge stage.
- The Sign of Triumph : An impressive Roman chariot show featuring chariot races, gladiatorial combat and spectacular historical re-enactments.
- Le Bal des Oiseaux Fantômes: A magical falconry show featuring majestic birds of prey in an impressive natural setting.
- The Mime & the star : A captivating show that transports spectators to the world of Belle Époque silent cinema. This unique performance features exceptional artistic performances, period sets and a nostalgic atmosphere that appeals to audiences of all generations.
- The last Panache: An immersive adventure that plunges spectators into the epic of the French navy, with breathtaking special effects, including a 360-degree rotating stage.
- Vikings: A water show featuring real Viking longships, impressive stunts and special effects on a 5-hectare lake.
- Mysteries dof La Pérouse : An immersive experience that transports spectators aboard an 18th-century ship to relive the mysterious expedition of French explorer La Pérouse.
Opening hours, Stay and Hotels, Shows at Puy du Fou
Where to stay at Puy du Fou in France
- Le Camp du Drap d’Or (3 stars)
- Average price: 120€ – 150€ per night
- Medieval atmosphere, ideal for history buffs.
- Les Îles de Clovis (4 stars)
- Average price: 150€ – 200€ per night
- Charming hotel offering an immersion in the Merovingian era.
- Le Logis de Lescure (2 stars)
- Average price: €80 – €100 per night
- Family-run hotel offering a warm and friendly atmosphere close to the park.
- Main season : April to September
- Christmas at Puy du Fou : Mid-November to end of December
How to get to Puy du Fou in France
- By car
- From Paris: Motorway A87, approx. 3 hours’ drive.
- Parking available on site.
- By train
- Nearest TGV station: Angers.
- Shuttle service from the station to the park.
- By plane
- Nearest airport: Nantes Atlantique.
- Car rental or public transport available from the airport.
Recommended Length of Stay
Recommended for a 2-day stay:
- Morning: Arrival, hotel check-in.
- Afternoon: Discover the iconic shows.
- Evening: Dinner show or must-see night show.
- Morning: Exploration of new attractions and shows.
- Afternoon: Free time to visit villages and attractions.
- Evening: Return by TGV or car
Le Puy du Fou is much more than a theme park: it’s a masterly lesson in international strategy. By following its path, companies can find inspiration for their own global expansion. Contact Ipanovia today to turn your international ambitions into a lucrative reality.
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Emmanuel Facovi,Founder & Managing Partner
Svetlana Loginova Facovi – Cofounder & Partner
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Experienced multicultural manager with a passion for new technologies, innovation, disruptive models and, above all, international business. Emmanuel Facovi is an expert in Digital, Data, Marketing Strategies and Saas/Tech solutions. He specializes in the transformation, international development and management of high-growth technology companies. He was an active contributor to Nokia’s golden decade, which took the company to €50 billion in sales in the early 2000s. He initiated major transformations of the company and its conquest of international markets, and more recently developed and supervised the operations of a digital and data group in over 70 countries, and launched international start-ups to reach €100 million in sales. From the initial creation of subsidiaries, the merger or acquisition of new companies, to the rapid growth of local entities in Japan, the USA and Europe, he has held operational and team management positions in 12 countries in Europe, North America and Japan in major industrial groups, service companies and software publishers.
An economist and legal consultant, Svetlana Facovi has international operational experience of the legal and administrative aspects of business development in new markets. She has worked for leading consulting firms and major international groups.