KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The 407: Gateway to the Smokies development made world headlines in 2022 when international theme park company Puy Du Fou announced it had selected the site for its first American attraction.
In May 2022, the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians Tribal Council signed an agreement to bring “an all-new themed spectacle inspired by an authentic and heartbreaking Cherokee story of their heroism in World War 1,” to Sevier County. A post from Puy Du Fou said that the attraction is scheduled to open in 2024.
More details on the park are expected later this year.
Puy du Fou parks are known for immersing visitors into history-inspired events — such as medieval battles and Viking conquests — at their locations in France and Spain.
“Puy du Fou is known around the world for transporting guests back in time to feel firsthand the excitement and drama of historical moments. This unique attraction promises to be a one-of-a-kind experience that will make The 407 truly the ‘Gateway to Adventure,’” said Richard Sneed, principal chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.
Their flagship park theme park in France attracted more than 2.3 million visitors in 2019, trailing only Disneyland Paris as France’s most visited theme park. Puy du Fou has been twice elected “Best Theme Park in the World” and is planning locations in Shanghai, China and England.
“This project in Tennessee developed together with the EBCI means a lot for us: it will initiate our presence on the American soil where there are so many great stories to tell. As lovers of history and cultural roots, we are proud and honored to partner with the EBCI Tribe to achieve this goal,” said Nicolas de Villiers, chairman & artistic director of Puy du Fou.