Historical tourism: in 2024, the Vikings will have their “immersive city” in Rouen

The Viking dream comes true. Since its creation, the ociation The children of Rollo, which showcases the Norman heritage through animations and above all the construction of longships, was considering opening a Viking camp on the banks of the Seine. Finally, she joined the private project of the young Parisian company Immersive Citiespresented on Wednesday November 8 to the choir of Saint-Nicaise church. The Viking Immersive City, the first in France, will be installed on 800 m2 in Hangar 105, recently built, and high technology will be king there. The opening is planned for spring 2024.

In charge, Parisian Jean Vergès, founder of the platform Universal Museum of Arta virtual museum, and podcast Art Talks. His speech is intended to be mind-blowing: “Despite decades of promoting culture, the share of French people who go to museums is decreasing and 90% of them are concentrated in the Paris region. The perception of museums is old-fashioned and the visits boring, which is a paradox, because in France, there is a real interest in History, because it has the capacity to create connections.”

This is how the business leader justifies the creation of Immersive Cities, founded in 2023 “to offer a new model of cultural place offering a historical and scientific proposal in a unique immersive scenography”. To do this, he relies on sixteen specialists: “They come from the Atelier des Lumières in Paristhe Grand Palais, the Beijing Olympic Games, they are also opera scenographers like Sophie Liger, a historian, Vincent Samson, or even Youtuber Nota Bene “.

In Normandy, there is no shortage of raw materials. In 911, at Saint-Clair-sur-Eptefaced with Viking raids, the King of France Charles the Simple negotiates with their leader Rollo and ceded a territory to him: Normandy was born. From this time, few traces remain and no real identity yet. It will be necessary to wait William the Conqueror and the conquest of England, then the Landing of June 6, 1944 so that Normandy becomes the second most famous region in the world, after California. With series like Vikings Or The Last KingdomTHE myth conquerors have resurfaced. In these conditions, “how is it that there is nothing about the Vikings in Rouen? », asks Jean Vergès.

For adults and children, between entertainment and education

“We will,” he promises, “bring our experience to several reading levels, for children and adults, with a fair balance between entertainment and pedagogy. » On the left bank of the Seine in Rouen, five rooms will offer a journey lasting an hour and a half on average on the Viking invasions, the encampment, allegiance to the King of France, the creation of the Duchy of Normandy and the Norman Viking heritage. “With objects and documents but above all high definition screens for latest generation videos and diffracting mirrors, as in the room of dreams, where, for 25 minutes, visitors will benefit from a unique 360° experience. All this, insists the president of Cités Immersives, to promote local heritage. »

It is Ludovic Garnier, the emblematic founder of the ociation Les enfants de Rollon who will become the director of the establishment whose work will start in a few weeks. With a full price of 14.90 euros, the Viking Immersive City will also have a shop, “in order to highlight local craftsmanship”, a restaurant and a square where a number of activities will take place. entertainment. To set the scene, a Drakkar will dock on the Seine.

“In addition to the permanent exhibition, there will be temporary meetings, thanks in particular to the ten other immersive Cities that we plan to open by 2023 in France, around champagne in Reims, cinema in Cannes, independence in Corsica or Eleanor of Aquitaine in Poitiers,” announces Jean Vergès. This cultural hub, a new type in Rouen, hopes to welcome 15,000 visitors per day.

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