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Les Epesses (Municipality, Vendée, France)

Last modified: 2021-07-11 by ivan sache
Keywords: les epesses |
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Flag of Les Epesses, current and former versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 7 May 2021

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Presentation of Les Epesses

The municipality of Les Epesses (2,873 inhabitants in 2018; 3,156 ha) is adjacebt (east) to Les Herbiers.

Les Epesses was first mentioned as early as 884, through a church of Santa Maria de Spisis (Latin, "thickets"). The early church, built on the site of the central nave of the current church, was the property of the Benedictine abbey of Vézelay. The abbey established in 1050 a priory in the upper town of Les Epesses, which would be rebuilt for the lords of Puy du Fou at the end of the 15th century and enlarged in the 17th century.
The first documented stone castle was built by Renaud du Puy du Fou in the 12th century. In the 12th-13th centuries, laborers, craftsmen, as well as the castle's servants and soldiers, established nearby the settlement of Bourg-Bérard. To seclude this population, the lords of Puy du Fou built around 1400 near the St. John chapel and the partly existing parish church a large number of dwellings.
Destroyed by the English troops during the Hundred Years' War, the medieval castle was replaced by the current Renaissance castle.
On 26 January 1793, a column came from
Cholet to "convert to the Revolution" the municipality of Les Epesses. The castle was set on fire that year, sparing only the left wing. One of the last fights of the War in the Vendée took place in November 1799 in the woods between Les Epesses and Le Puy du Fou, turning to the advantage of the insurgents.

Olivier Touzeau, 7 May 2021

Flag of Les Epesses

The flag of Les Epesses (photo) is white with the municipal logo, which was adopted in 2017. The former flag of Les Epesses (photo)was white with the former municipal logo, in use since about 2011.

Olivier Touzeau, 7 May 2021

Vertical pennants

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Vertical pennants of Les Epesses, three versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 7 May 2021

The forked vertical pennants (photo) hosted on a roundabout between Les Epesses and Puy-du-Fou, are white with the municipal logo. Former pennants (photo) were charged with the former municipal logo. The pennants used in 2010 (photo) were white, charged with the municipal coat of arms, "Per fess, 1a. Gules three mascles argent, 1b. Or a heart of Vendée gules, 2. Or an oak vert", and the name of the municipality in Gothic letters.
The first quarter comes from the coat of arms of the lords of Puy du Fou, while the oak in the third quarter recalls the etymology of the name of the municipality, from Latin "spisis", "thickets".

Olivier Touzeau, 7 May 2021

Le Puy du Fou theme park

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Flag of the Puy du Fou park and Banner of arms of the Puy du Fou family, current and former versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 7 May 2021

Le Puy du Fou is the second most visited theme park in France, after Paris Disneyland, bringing more than 2 million visitors every year. In March 2012, at a ceremony in Los Angeles, it was awarded the prestigeous Thea Award of the theme park industry, as world's best theme park for 2012.

The park was founded in 1977 by Philippe de Villiers, who briefly served as Secretary of State for Culture in 1986 and 1987; during the public debate over the Maastricht Treaty, which established the European Union in 1992, he achieved lasting prominence in the media as an anti-Treaty activist. Villiers is known in France a nationalist, a traditionalist, and a leading eurosceptic. He ran for President of France in 1995 and received about 5% of the vote, and in 2007 with less than 3%. He was the president of the General Council of Vendée from 1988 to 2010. Since 2004, the park has been directed by a son of the founder, Nicolas de Villiers. The park is a self-financing venture grouping local businesses and non-profit associations.

On 13 June 1977, Philippe de Villiers discovered the ruins of a 16th century castle in the village of Les Epesses.
Renaud du Puy du Fou built in the 12th century a first stone fortified castle on a small hill. During the Hundred Years' War, Puy du Fou was only a small domain dependent on the barony of Mortagne-sur-Sèvre;, the latter in turn dependent on Thouars; when the Viscounts of Thouars sided with the English, Guy II of Puy du Fou broke with them to fight on the side of the King of France Charles VII. Destroyed by the English in 1430, the old castle was rebuilt in 1432 by Guy II of Puy du Fou by the pond. The current castle, built in the Italian Renaissance style by the architect Le Primatice to replace older buildings, is due to Fracis II du Puy du Fou (1496-1548). The construction remained unfinished and the castle was sold in 1659.

The castle was bought by the General Council of Vendée in 1974, with the hope of developing it into a tourist attraction.
De Villiers wrote a scenario about a local family named Maupillier, the real name of a Vendean insurgent during the War in the Vendée), spanning from the 14th century until World War II.
When the first representation of the show, named Cinéscénie, began in June 1978, the show did not have great success, but that quickly changed by the end of the first season, and with that success, the show grew into a huge spectacular. It has since spawned its own micro-industry of actors, prop-makers and trainers for the featured horse riding and sword fighting. The theme park has developed from its original concept as a stage for son-et-lumière type pageants, to become a multi-attraction historic theme park providing a trip back in time to different ages and times of the past. The park has developed various historic reconstructions, from Roman times to the 19th century.
In the summer holiday period, Cinéscénie, an after-dark spectacular of light, fireworks, sound and action, set against the backdrop of the old castle of Puy du Fou, has been seen over the years by over 10 million spectators, and is the world's biggest night-time show, lasting 1 hour and 40 minutes, involving 12,00 actors and extras, and performed over a 50 acre stage.

The flag of the park (photo, photo, photo) is white with the park's emblem adopted in 2015, composed of a shield "Quarterly, 1. Argent the castle of Puy du Fou, 2. Gules a Gallo-Roman sword, 3. Argent a representation of Jacques Maupillier, 4. Gules a falcon proper. Inescutcheon "Gules three mascles argent".
The inescutcheon features the arms of the Puy du Fou family, which can be seen in several places in Les Epesses, the parish church and the St. John chapel included. The park also fly banners of the arms of the Puy du Fou family (photo, photo).

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Forked banner of the Puy du Fou park, current and former versions - Images by Olivier Touzeau, 7 May 2021

A forked pennants with the park's logo and emblem is flown in Les Epesses (photo). Before 2015, the pennant (photo, photo) was vertically divided xhite-red with the park's logo in the white part.

Olivier Touzeau, 7 May 2021

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