The roar of the Roman Colosseum, the fury of the Viking horde, the adventures of the musketeers, some of history’s most exciting stories – and all brought beautifully to life in northern France.

Puy du Fou, based around an hour outside Nantes in the north of France is a theme park with a difference.

Not relying on thrill rides, the park brings history to life with stunning shows and recreations of villages and sites from history, with even the places you can stay firmly drenched in history.

The main attraction of Puy du Fou is its six main day shows and its two spectacular night shows.

Wandering the park through the day, you can enjoy the spectacle of the Roman Colosseum, inside the park’s very own replica, watch as the Vikings raid a village, watch as knights show their skills with a lance, see the story of a French Naval officer and follow the story of the musketeers.

All of them feature dedicated actors, impressive sets and fantastically-trained animals, to all come together to tell intriguing and engaging stories.

The most impressive show though is the Phantom Birds’ Dance, where hundreds of birds of prey, including falcons and eagles swoop just inches from your head in an impressive display.

All the shows are grand and no expense has been spared, with fire effects and a grand spectacle ensured.

Taking in all six daytime shows in one day is a challenge, but with careful planning achievable, a day and a half should ensure enough time to catch all six of the main shows and also explore the extensive site, which includes a play park for children.

The shows are kept short in length, the longest around 40 minutes, to keep the attention of guests young and old, and headsets can also be purchased so the language barrier isn’t an issue.

We travelled as a couple without children and were both thoroughly engaged throughout our trip, whooping, cheering and singing along with the rest of the crowd.

The main event though is the Cinéscénie, a spectacular night show that involves 1200 actors spread across 23 hectares and 24,000 costumes.

It lasts a bit longer than the other shows at one hour and forty minutes but it needs to be, telling a spectacular stories spanning the centuries.

Wrapping up warm is recommended as northern France can be far from tropical but the cold weather is more than worth enduring for this feat of showmanship and spectacle.

After a tiring and enthralling day travelling the ages, you can stay at one of the park’s three very reasonably priced hotels.

At Puy Du Fou, you can literally eat and sleep history with the hotels also themed.

We stayed at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, where rooms are based around Renaissance lodges and were very wellsized and very comfortable, with a four poster bed for the parents and bunk beds for the little ones.

But there is plenty of choice, with a Roman villa and a Viking house also available if you wish to sleep on site, and yes, the staff do wear period dress.

The comfortable rooms are perfect for a good night sleep and also all the essential planning to get as much of the park in as possible.

Each hotel also has its own restaurant, which is usually a buffet meaning that even the biggest appetites can be catered for at a good price.

The Phantom Birds’ Dance The clothes are just the start of the amazing dedication it takes to make Puy du Fou happen.

Sitting in the 3,000 capacity Roman Colosseum, waiting for the show to start, actors fill the stands and get the crowd going, all staying in character throughout and not to ruin any surprises, slowly, those actors filling the stands quickly become part of the story played out in the coliseum.

All the actors are volunteers but that doesn’t mean anything is not done professionally, with all the shows immersive and educational.

No expense is spared with exotic animals including camels and lions gracing the floor as well as thrilling chariot races and exhilarating sword fights, all telling a love story set against the backdrop of the turmoil of the Roman Empire.

It is possible to eat history as well, with plenty of themed restaurants throughout the park as well as attractions on top of the show, be warned though there are no English language menus, so a phone translator may come in handy if your French isn’t quite up to scratch.

Other attractions at the park include a World War One trench, where you walk slowly through taking in a small part of what the war may have been like, with bombs falling overhead and soldiers milling around you.

While the stories are entertaining and gripping, they are also educational, teaching the crowds about history they know but also history they don’t and broadening horizons.

At times, it was hard not to feel like you were in an episode of Game of Thrones.

If you want a less thrilling trip, the 1900 market town has live music so it is possible to put your feet up, take in the bustling atmosphere and enjoy a glass of wine.

With some rooms available for well below 100 euros for a night, this is an accessible trip, just an hour from Nantes airport, which in itself is just a one hour flight from Gatwick with EasyJet, Puy Du Fou is highly accessible.

If you’re looking for an alternative family holiday (or even a history lovers’ holiday) Puy Du Fou is perfect, the sprawling park also boasts play areas and replica villages to keep chi engaged and is educational with plenty for the adults to enjoy.

Puy Du Fou really does bring history to life, so go and join in.