West Virginia University in Vendée, France


Le Puy du Fou

30 juin 2011



Today, we will be spending the day at the Puy du Fou, an historical attraction park.  Think of it as a general review before a final exam, except that there will be no final.


First stop, a group picture while we wait to review all we know about Cardinal Richelieu and the Three Musketeers.  Make sure you compliment Jana on her new haircut!


After all the sword fighting, flamenco dancing and horseback riding, we're ready for a little walking through charming settings...


... to our early lunch (11:45, the earliest lunch since we've been in France).  Sam is sitting by his new friend, Jérôme, who also happens to be our bus driver. 



First course is made up of various cochonailles: pâtés, saucissons, but also some salad and cornichons.


This is a traditional Vendéen meal:  jambon et mogettes (ham and white beans) with a dab of very hot mustard.



Our dessert is "French" brioche, known in French as brioche perdue (lost brioche).


After lunch, we all gather in a huge coliseum to show our support for the Gauls, unjustly oppressed by the decadent Romans.  As you can tell, we are gearing up!



In the bottom of the center section, the Gaul representatives have gathered and lead us in rebellious chants...


The Roman governor enters



Soon, the gladiators come out to fight a captain of the Roman Legion who has converted to the new religion, Christianity.


After he kills all the gladiators, he must prove himself in a very tight chariot race.



Of, course, Damian wins very easily, and we all applaud when he can finally marry his sweetheart Soline...


We are now very well positioned to watch our next show, le Bal des Oiseaux Fantomes (the Ball of the Ghost Birds).  Kiley, a great friend of anything feathery, is beside herself.  She has just learned that a bird, several birds, could land on her head!



Alas, she is not selected by our winged friends, and has to admire from afar...


This hawkers' talent,  discipline, and gentleness is very impressive. 



A beautiful owl


Of course, all our Vendéens have a very soft spot in their hearts for the American bald eagles, which are released from a blimp flying above our heads.



Don't smirk, buzzards are birds too...


A pelican and a stork.



But, the birds finally go home, and we now listen to a story about troubled times, although this bride and groom seem happy enough on their wedding day...


...until the drakkars (Viking ships) land, bringing thousands of aggressive Vikings, ready to upset the party.



The fighting seems to be hopeless, the good French people are loosing ground, until...


... our old friend Saint Philbert, whom we left in the crypt of the old church at Noirmoutier, rises from his casket and saves the day!  It's a miracle...  Once again, thanks Saint Phil!



Reassured about the fate of French people in the early Middle Ages, we now gather to see what Joan of Arc is up to.


Here she comes, with her secret lance, ready to lend a hand to the inhabitants of the Puy du Fou.



She has come to Vendée to select the best knights to take with her and fight the English at Orléans.


It will be a difficult selection process, as our knights are full of valor.



They are also very well versed in all aspects of horsemanship.  After this last show, we are all tired, our eyes are full of the glory and our hearts full of the laughter one can appreciate while studying French history.




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