A major new Viking-themed attraction in France will host its grand opening on Saturday, June 15. Situated on the banks of the Seine in the historical city of Rouen, the Cité Immersive Viking (Immersive Viking City) will present the Viking history of Normandy and France in an innovative 1,000-m² cultural space. 

"Founded and shaped by the Vikings" 

The project has been developed by a committed team of entrepreneurs, historians, archeologists, artists, and scenographers. 

Their work has been inspired and assisted by the group Les Enfants de Rollon (The Children of Rollo), which actively promotes the Viking history of the northern French region of Normandy and its capital, Rouen. 

Indeed, Normandy's history is steeped in Viking influence, making it the perfect venue for the first Cité Immersive. 

"Normandy was founded and shaped by the Vikings," explained president and co-founder Jean Vergès in a recent press release. 

"These explorers, warriors, and traders left important cultural traces on the territory that are still visible today. This heritage – still present in the name of Normandy itself – is an everlasting value for the whole region, and Rouen in particular." 

The Cité Immersive Viking in Rouen features five themed rooms, each dedicated to a distinct period of the Norman Viking era, providing visitors with a comprehensive overview of Viking history in Normandy. Photo: Benoit Camus / Cités Immersives

Rollo's long-lasting legacy 

It is difficult to overestimate the impact of the Vikings on the region of Normandy. 

After first invading and raiding the shores of the French coast, the Norse gained a more significant foothold when Charles the Simple granted the Viking leader Rollo vast swathes of land in exchange for his loyalty. 

Taking full advantage of the opportunity, Rollo – and later his son William Longsword and grandson Richard I – established a dynasty that would transform not only Normandy but the face of northern Europe and beyond. 

Rollo's great-great-great-grandson would become the famous William the Conqueror, victor of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, and the architect of the Norman takeover of England. 

Because the Vikings who came to Normandy swiftly integrated with the local population and began speaking the French dialect almost immediately, it is almost impossible to separate the French and Norse aspects of Norman culture. 

What is beyond doubt, however, is the architectural legacy of the Normans, which is still visible today in the spectacular castles and cathedrals found in France, England, Wales, Spain, and Italy. 

The Normans also spread new ideas in terms of governance, warfare, and general culture. 

Visitors to the Cité Immersive Viking can explore an extensive collection of authentic Viking artifacts, offering a tangible connection to the Norse heritage that shaped the region. Photo: JC Ballot / Cités Immersives

The men of the North 

It is this world of the Normans that the Cité Immersive Viking seeks to present. 

The museum has been developed under the scientific direction of Vincent Samson, a specialist in medieval history and Scandinavian philology. 

In a recent promotional document, Samson commented, "The scientific project for the Cité Immersive Viking is unique in the cultural landscape." 

"For the first time, the Scandinavian history of Normandy will be brought to light through a journey that is at once challenging and entertaining. It illustrates an exceptional historical phenomenon," Samson continues. 

"The violent intrusion of the Vikings in a region of France that they progressively colonized, taking full control yet assimilating to their new environment with prodigious speed, to the extent that the territory eventually received the name of Normandy – the land of the men of the North." 

The interactive historic decor at the Cité Immersive Viking allows visitors to engage directly with the environment, making the exploration of Viking culture both educational and entertaining. Photo: Benoit Camus / Cités Immersives

Total immersion 

The Cité Immersive features five themed rooms that each correspond to one of the five periods of the Norman Viking era. 

The concept for the immersive museum has been realized with the help of scenographer Sophie Liger, who has worked closely with Jean Vergès and production director Elizabeth Yardeni to create a fully immersive historical world. 

The Cité Immersive Viking will provide a feast for the senses, with authentic Viking artifacts, monumental and interactive historic decor, 360° video projections, 3D sonic immersion spaces, and a unique Losonnante sound system. 

The Cité Immersive team has plans for the development of similar cultural venues throughout France, each telling a story that has particular significance for the region in question. 

After an initial trial period, Saturday marks the first occasion that the Cité Immersive Viking can be visited by members of the general public. 

The museum will be open from Tuesday to Sunday, with ticket prices ranging from EUR 9.90 to 14.90, and advanced booking is highly recommended. 

We get to provide readers with original coverage thanks to our loyal supporters. Do you enjoy our work? You can become a PATRON here or via our Patreon page. You'll get access to exclusive content and early access.

Do you have a tip that you would like to share with The Viking Herald?
Feel free to reach out to discuss potential stories that may be in the public interest. You can reach us via email at hello@thevikingherald.com with the understanding that the information you provide might be used in our reporting and stories.