A Traveller's Guide to Cherbourg, France
Located in the Basse-Normandie region of north west France, the seaside town is now officially named Cherbourg-Octeville after amalgamating with the neighbouring town in 2000.
Situated on the on the English Channel between an immense artificial harbour and the Roule Mountain, Cherbourg is an ideal holiday destination offering relaxing scenery and an array of historical attractions.
Getting To and Around Cherbourg
Cherbourg-Octeville can be reached through a variety of means. The city is a 6 hour drive from Paris along the A13 motorway to Caen, then following the RN13 from there. Cherbourg has its own airport in Maupertus-sur-Mer, with connecting flights available from Paris. Regular train services are also available from Paris Saint Lazare station via Caen as well as some services running from Brittany and the southwest of France.
Visitors from the UK can access the city through the Channel Tunnel, with the journey taking around 3 hours in total. A more relaxing alternative is taking the daily ferry services from either Portsmouth, Plymouth or Poole. Around six services per week are also run from Rosslare in Ireland.
Once you arrive, a local bus network can help you to get around town, however it is everything is very easily accessible on foot.
Things To See and Do in Cherbourg
Historically, the area was originally conquered by the Vikings which utilised Cherbourg as a harbour. The British later came to occupy the city during the mid-1700s. To prevent further naval incursions from the British, the harbour was heavily fortified during the Napoleonic era. A naval wreck sits of the Cherbourg coast, the result of an incursion between the USS Kearsarge and CSS Alabama in 1864. The French and Russian leaders consolidated their bilateral alliance after meeting in Cherbourg in 1909. The city fell to German occupation following the Battle of Cherbroug in June 1944.
The main sights for tourist in the city include:
- The harbour walls constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries, with its central dyke and three forts.
- The glass factory, La Glacerie, built in1655 to provide for buildings like Château de Versailles.
- Cité de la Mer, an aquarium and maritime museum located in the restored trans-Atlantic railway terminal.
- Cherbourg Basilica
- Musée des beaux-arts Thomas Henry which contains a collection of over 300 paintings by local artist Thomas Henry.
- There are also several beautiful Renaissance chateau is the villages surrounding the city including Tourlaville, Nacquaville and Domaine de Beurepaire.
- For some relaxation, take in the seaside and enjoy the many restaurants and old-fashioned cafes within Cherbourg.