Every year, for two days, Merville-Franceville-Plage takes on the air of a medieval fantasy land during a festival which is unique in France and which attracts over 100 000 visitors. Here's everything you need to know about Cidre & Dragon (or almost).
The gathering of Sorcerers and Heroes from four clans restored the magic stolen from Mana Well in the form of a multicoloured cloud. The reflections are still visible when the sea is calm. Was the corruption of Mana Well simply a way of diverting attention to steal the magic? Some say a shadow came out of the well before the end of the ritual.
This is how the tone was set for the 2019 Cidre & Dragon festival. Organised by the Raid Tolkien association and Merville-Franceville-Plage town hall, this event has been arousing interest and curiosity for more than a decade. Let's take a closer look at what makes it such a unique adventure.
Are you ready ?
The Steampunk universe of 2022 gives way to that of the Dark Fantasy for the 2023 edition.
For two days, every year since 2006, Merville-Franceville-Plage has been transformed into Merravilla, a town designed to satisfy all fans of the Fantasy genre - moreover, this seaside resort was not chosen at random as it still bears the hallmarks of its medieval past. Arriving at the end of the Avenue de Paris, you have to pass through what festival goers like to call a "dimensional portal". Just a few steps later, you'll find yourself in a village straight out of a fantasy world.
The atmosphere at Cidre et Dragon
It's now or never to let go, and to reconcile with your inner passion. The medieval inspirations are there! All you need is your unbridled imagination to spend a timeless weekend. This magical world, resolutely good-natured, is open to everyone and to all disciplines, old magic or new technologies. At each edition, various representatives of the world of imagination, as well as young artists (singers, jugglers, fire-eaters, stilt walkers, demonstrators of dragonery or smoky magic) come to take advantage of its fame to make themselves known — yes, that's a real springboard.
At the Cidre & Dragon festival, conviviality, between all generations, is order of the day. Every year, Merravilla welcomes absolutely everyone, as long as you tick one of the following boxes:
- Passionate, you have participated in absolutely all the editions since 2006
- Initiated, you have been interested in the festival for only a handful of years
- Newbie, you discovered the festival this year
- Visitor, you live in the Pays d'Auge and wanted to find a great activity to do this weekend
- Professional, fantasy is your job
- Amateur and you have all the video games The Witcher video games at home
- Expert, the Cidre & Dragon universe has no secrets for you
- Beginner but you intend to attend all the editions in the years to come
What if you don't tick any of the boxes? Don't panic, the festival is open to everyone. Come as you are, with the family or not, for an original outing.
The photos speak for themselves: here, the choice of costume is essential. Whether you decide to wear a princess dress, a fake skin skirt, thick fur or even a cocked hat: nothing is too extravagant. The idea is to have fun, and not to hesitate to go there without thinking (thoroughly or nothing). Don't forget the make-up:
- some bet on discreet looks (a few touches of mascara, eye shadow),
- others prefer to opt for less conventional looks
To completely immerse visitors in the atmosphere, a great team of volunteers pool their different skills to install the larger-than-life decor and scenery. Carpenters, metal workers and resin specialists as well as electricians pull together over the course of several months.
"This is what makes our wealth, we are not limited", confided Aurélien François, manager of the "decorations" workshop, in an interview granted to , in September 2021. "That's our strength, we have no limits," explained Aurélien François, head of the "decor" workshop, in an interview given to Actu Le Pays d'Auge in September 2021.
Activities at Cider and Dragon
Throughout the weekend, numerous activities are organised to entertain visitors of all ages, from 2 to 102. On the programme: battles (fictional of course) organised on the beach, and mini-concerts at regular intervals along the streets. A market is also set up, with eye-catching stalls selling artisanal products. To exhibit at the festival, there are a few rules that need to be followed:
- stalls must be wooden (or well decorated)
- products must be related to the Fantasy universe and displayed in suitable containers (baskets, on hessian cloth, linen or wood)
Cultural conferences on the theme of Fantasy and imaginary worlds are organised. Festival goers can also admire a number of visual artworks on display. A sales area is also provided for authors and illustrators: an excellent way for them to share their passion with like-minded people.
An eco-responsible policy
Organising a festival is a mammoth task. But the organisers wanted to go a step further. In a bid to be as eco-friendly as possible, they have put in place certain measures to be respected. The decor for example, is made from 80% reclaimed materials. Additional bins are also installed along the beach.
A fantastic team of volunteers
The Cidre & Dragon festival is organised by an association: but that doesn't mean the volunteers put their own passion to one side. All wear costumes in keeping with the theme. And because they don't all have the same level of dexterity, sewing workshops are held throughout the year. These same volunteers can also, in exchange for a small payment, make costumes for visitors who don't have the time (or energy) to make their own. But that's not the only mission entrusted to the volunteers: they are assigned a variety of different roles (decoration, finance, scenery, sewing, etc.).
Do you want to be there? All you have to do is make a request on . Would you like to be a part of it? You can apply to be a volunteer on the festival's official website.
What about Fantasy?
If everything you've read so far piques your interest, it's probably because the Fantasy universe appeals to you more than you thought. The genre has its roots in ancient traditions - its historical pioneers belong to the 19th and 20th centuries. And as with all festivals, a great lord hovers over the Cidre & Dragon.
It is of course the one and only J.R. Tolkien, the author of the Lord of the Rings saga, who gave his name to the association which organises the festival.
He was the creator of "Middle-earth" and the thousands of original creatures which populate this fantasy universe - such as the Hobbits. It's from this world, among others, that the festival goers draw their inspiration.