Table of Contents
- 1 Cider & Dragon Festval
- 2 Merville-Franceville Plage
- 3 Batterie De Merville – Historic WW2 Site
- 4 Local Markets near Merville-Franceville Plage
- 5 The Beach at Merville-Franceville-Plage
Cider & Dragon Festval
“As we walked around the Cider & Dragon Festival we were transported back into another world of heroic fantasy and history.”
After a 3 ½ hour drive from Calais, we arrived at our first campsite in Normandy. Now normally at this time of year (middle of September) the campsites are quiet and we don’t normally need to book. How wrong we were this time! The town of Merville-Franceville-Plage had its annual Cider and Dragon Festival and was absolutely crowded.
We were disappointed to be told that the site was full and that probably the other sites (there are 3 others along the road into town) would probably be full too. By this time it was 6.30pm, we were feeling tired and just wanted to get set up for the night. Luckily the receptionist took pity on us and came running out as we were turning the motorhome round (in a very cramped space) and said that she would try to find us a pitch. What a result! This meant that we could find out what this festival was all about as it looked fun.
Our pitch was great considering they were full so I don’t know where they pulled this one from as we were in a premium pitch facing the beach on our ACSI discount card.
Strolling around the campsite and the town were people dressed in various costumes from Harry Potter, medieval costumes, barons, knights, fair maidens and magical creatures. Even the children were dressed up. It was great to see.
The following morning we walked along the beach 400m into the town of Merville-Francevile-Plage to find out what was going on.
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Walking through the town we were transported back into another world of heroic fantasy and history. The medieval market lining the streets seemed to go on for miles all around the town. I’ve never seen anything as big.
The stalls were selling handmade jewellery, ceramics, art, fantasy-themed and medieval costumes, swords, knives and so much more. In amongst the stalls were tents where the enthusiasts could play fantasy-themed board games against each other, or take part in workshops and watch various entertainment. Minstrels, stilt walkers, unicorns, dragons and many magical beasts and ghoulish creatures were wandering around the stalls. The enthusiasts also had the opportunity to meet with fantasy authors and illustrators.
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There were lots of food stalls where meat was being cooked the medieval way over open fires. We stopped for lunch before making our way down to the seafront where we heard the clash of steel on steel as the JuggerKnights were sparring in a ring.
It was quite chilling to see the French Army patrolling the streets in Merville.
It was certainly fun to watch the festival and it was a great atmosphere all weekend.
If any of my readers are heroic fantasy fans then this is one for the diary next year. The festival is run each year around the 15th or 20th September. We took the ferry to Calais for £66 with the motorhome (one way) and then drove 3 1/2 hours to the campsite. The cost of the campsite was 19 euros a night. All in it it would be quite a cheap weekend.
Batterie De Merville – Historic WW2 Site
Cycling out of town for about 9 minutes we came to the Batterie De Merville which is a historic WW2 site. This is an outdoor exhibit that utilizes the original bunkers. Each bunker has been turned into a mini-museum covering each aspect of the war. There were some interesting films running in a few of the bunkers. The site is a monument to the 9thparachute regiment
It was particularly moving reading some of the letters the soldiers wrote home. They were such young men, telling their families not to worry and that they would see them again after the war. Unfortunately, in this particular battle to regain the Batterie de Merville, 700 soldiers took part but only 150 survived.
In the last bunker, a siren sounds every 20 minutes signalling the start of the sound and light show which recreates what happened here on the night of the 5th6thJune 1944.
There’s a well-preserved Dakota C47 plane with an interesting story. We were disappointed though as we had read you could go inside, however, on the day we visited we could only look around it from the outside.
We cycled through the town on the Monday morning as they were clearing away all the stalls, props, tents and straw from the streets. It was nice then to see wha lovely town Franceville is. We enjoyed looking around at the beautiful buildings.
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Local Markets near Merville-Franceville Plage
There is a weekly market every Wednesday and Sunday in the city centre in Cabourg (Calvados area).
Click this link for a list of all the Markets in the area. https://www.happings.com/en/weekly-markets-in-the-department-of-calvados.html
Le Halles Du Marche
Avenue du Marche,
14390 Cabourg, France
This is a great little indoor market which has everything from bread, seafood, meat, cold cuts, cheese, fruit, vegetables, ciders and wines etc. On some days the market is extended to the outside and many more vendors set up their stalls. All of the produce is fresh and reasonably priced.
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and definitely worth a visit is…
Les Halles Medievales
Place de la Republique,
A little further out from Merville-Franceville Plage is Les Halles Medievales in Dives-Sur-Mer. It’s a 38 minutes car journey via D27 (30.8km) or 48 minutes via D513 (24.8km).
This very impressive medieval building which is great to see and marvel at is also used for a weekly market on Saturdays.
The lively market is held both inside Les Halles and outside on the surrounding street. The lovely fresh local produce is taken directly to the market from the farms. On many of the stalls, you have the opportunity to try before you buy.
The building really is very special with incredible roof beams. It was built by ships carpenters in the 15th century and is the focus of the town. As well as the market the building also hosts various events like art exhibitions and is a great place for the local people to have a social gathering.
Behind the hall are very attractive medieval half-timbered houses and Le Village d’Art Guillaume-Le-Conquerant which has quirky artisan shops.
It’s a wonderful little village that was built at the end of the 15th century. There are many little courtyards surrounded by picturesque buildings with some shops and cafes. A large car park can be found on the main road.
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The Beach at Merville-Franceville-Plage
Located in the Calvados region, Merville-Franceville-Plage is a seaside resort of Cote Fleurie. It is approximately 10 km from Cabourg, on the shores of the bay of Orne. The town is surrounded by beautiful countryside. It’s a great area for walking, hiking and cycling. There are approximately 90 kilometres of walking and hiking walks in the area visiting up to 9 towns.
On the bank opposite the Orne is the beach of Ouistreham, the starting point of Normandy landing beaches.
The main beach resort has lots of activities for the young (inflatable structures, heated pool, mini-golf, rides etc).
Face Baie Brasserie Yacht Club Outside seating area
We cycled to Face Baie Yacht club for coffee and it was hard tearing ourselves away from the relaxing view.
Campsites in Merville-Franceville-Plage
We stayed at…
Camping Le Point du Jour
Route de Cabourg
Tel: 02 31 24 23 34
Located right by the sea with an indoor swimming pool. Close to Caen and Cabourg.
GPS: N49°17’0″ W0°11’29”
This Site is listed in the ACSI Discount Camping Book available here. This book is definitely worth getting for its discount card that you can use for out of season camping.
This campsite is ideally situated for the town. You can walk into town along the road or the beach. There are lovely cycle routes to the Marina in one direction and to the town of Cabourg in the other. One disadvantage is that they only have one toilet/shower block which is in the middle of the campsite so if you are pitched near the beach it is a bit of a walk.
There are another 6 campsites in Merville-Franceville-Plage
Tel: 02 31 24 05 07
Tel: 02 31 24 22 82
100, Route de Cabourg
Tel: 02 31 24 52 52
Tel: 02 31 24 22 12
Route de Cabourg
Tel: 02 31 24 16 03
Route de Cabourg
Tel: 02 31 24 08 92
There are so many amazing places to visit which sometimes we can’t get to with our motorhome, so we often hire a car for a few days to explore more.
We take out an annual car hire excess insurance with insure4carhire.
RentalCars.com is the company we use if hiring from a campsite but if we are flying into an airport we use Zest Car Hire which usually has the best deals but can only be picked up from an airport or hotel.