Le Puy du Faux: who thought he took?

Is the left-right divide really dead? Just read the reviews and book reviews of the Puy du faux to understand that he is still alive. For Thierry Lentz in Point, The main aim of the book is to “dissect, criticize, avoid going in circles, hold on if necessary and at least try to spoil the fun”† On the other side of the chessboard, in Telerama“Samuel Gontier is not interested in the merits of the investigation. With the sense of proportion that characterizes him so well, he prefers to defend the authors who, according to him, are victims of the tyranny of the extreme right. What do the historians Florian Besson, Pauline Ducret, Guillaume Lancereau and Mathilde Larrère do to arouse such strong passions? They were interested in Puy du Fou…

Severe shelling

Their goal? Show that the amusement park is at the service of a political project that, we understand very quickly, cannot count on their support. To argue that Philippe de Villiers’ successful company cultivates a “right-wing” or even “far-right” view of France is easy. It should be noted, however, that by deciphering the scenographies of the shows, the characters put forward or the periods chosen, the authors shed relevant light on “a highly intelligently constructed discourse”

The four accomplices, who stayed there for several days, rightly point out that all the paintings depicted in the park of the Vendée follow the same storyline: a united and cheerful village community is struck by a disturbing element from outside. The heroism and courage of a nobleman and the Catholic faith will almost certainly overcome any obstacle. Implicitly, the diagram of the three orders (the nobility of the sword fights, the clergy pray, the people toil in silence and dance) is omnipresent and anchors in the mind a “discourse that symbolizes social immobility”.

In Puy du Fou, the shows generally have the same scenario: a village community is happy and united. A disruptive event from abroad takes place, but heroism and Catholicism make for a “happy ending”

The book also points out a few points that have not been raised by critics: no artist who has passed the 18th centuryand century is mentioned in the tableaus vivants. Rousseau, Diderot or Voltaire have been forgotten as a result. Likewise, figures of the French Revolution and the republican elites of the 19and are systematically hateful or ridiculous because, in the mind of Philippe de Villiers, the great architect of the place, they “will gradually weaken the aristocratic and social power of the old aristocratic families”

It is in these observations that the research is most interesting. It shows the extent to which the park’s designers emphasize a France based on the cult of the nobility, Catholicism and the country. A France where the conversion to Catholicism of the Normans or Romans is the precondition sine qua non integration into the national community. The vision of France conveyed through the park is central to these nearly two hundred pages.

To touch too much we get tired

However, this welcome and invigorating relief is spoiled by certain attacks. Is it necessary to focus on insignificant details in the eyes of the layman to discredit the park? Is it so dramatic that monks wrote in little Carolina in Clovis’s day or that knights wrote in chainmail? These “micro-errors”, placed almost on the same footing as serious anachronisms in the history of ancient Rome, reveal a certain ruthlessness that partially spoils the most interesting elements of research in immersion.

The “pom-pom” is unhooked in the passage to demonstrate the patriarchal and reactionary vision of the place. O crime, O scandal: the store offers gender-based toys. Coloring books with princesses for little girls, knights for little boys. Stuffed rabbits for them, eagles for them. The height comes to the fore during the study of the menus of the restaurants. The high-calorie and meat dishes have masculine names (Vert-Galant charcuterie, Aldéric platter, Saint Philibert duck), while the plant-based recipes are feminine (Queen Mathilde salad, Guenièvre pie). Enough to shape thousands of little Zemmour from childhood!

Ideology comes from the woodwork

This criticism by their “nitpicking” or the chosen angle shows that the authors naturally try to clarify. But also to discredit a place that “thinks badly”. By highlighting the politicization of the park, they quickly show that they too are clearly politicized.

Puy du Fou is full of ideology? Yes. But the authors…

The assault on gender-based toys and food is a staple of the new academic left. At the end of the book, the authors beat their game by proposing new historical scenarios to the directors of Puy du Fou. Frankly, they make you want to be seen, even if we find there again the concerns of their ideology. With them, the crosses and the villagers who are subject to the nobility are made invisible. Instead, we encounter the good old Marxist class struggle, but also the obsession with equality and diversity. Historians in particular propose to stage a Russian merchant, who actually existed, for his greatest happiness. Believe me, why not. Even if it is disturbing enough to put on the role of a historical expert to rightly condemn a park with an ideological vocation. To pour into the same prejudices.

The Myth of Historical Neutrality

However, it’s hard to blame the authors who show that history is an “ideologically flammable” thing. It is impossible to be factually exact (they acknowledge this themselves). Finally, the past is mainly in the service of politics and, shall we say, a certain form of propaganda. In a sense, a park that glorifies Catholic France is just as inaccurate as any other park that relies on a few anecdotes to lead people to believe that equality between men and women or the significant presence of Islam or African culture in France has always existed. to exist.

On the form, the reading process is pleasant, the references in the bibliography provide keys to good quality understanding. On the other hand, the mania of systematically feminizing all terms sometimes makes reading risky. The first page that says “two historians, two historians”two million spectators,researchers”or “everything and everything” is particularly disappointing. She is, like the repeated use of the term “issue” a gadget left the new university. Exchanges between academics from Grenoble’s IEP seeking: Cancel landProfessors Vincent Tournier and Klaus Kinzler, too deviant in their eyes, repeatedly use the term “issue”† Who “signs” the indictment of the authors. Out of which, in spite of everything, arose a book that has its place in the public debate. And by the way in a library.

Lucas Jakubowicz

Le Puy du Faux, explores a park that distorts history, The Arena, 18 euros, 192 pages

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