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The maritime city of Cherbourg in northern France possesses a distinctly French ambience. Nevertheless the port also boasts international influences, with many examples of Italian-style architecture that may well put visitors in mind of French towns much further south.
Cherbourg is a town dedicated to arts and history, and you’ll find no shortage of museums if you take a trip ashore during your time in this northern region of Normandy.
Visitors to this bustling town will find a large number of museums, which can give a great all-round look at the history, character and importance of this port. Alternatively, you may be able to book an excursion to visit Bayeux, home of the famous tapestry, or a lengthier journey to see the magnificent Mont St Michel.
Cité de la Mer
This large museum is a treat for lovers of all things nautical. Find out all about the Titanic, which stopped off at the port; or take a walk around the nuclear submarine Le Redoutable, where its former captain will be able to tell you all about life on board. The museum is also home to no less than 17 aquariums, not least the fascinating abyssal aquarium, with a depth of 11m.
Musée de la Libération
This museum resides in an old fort above Cherbourg, and is dedicated to the liberation of the city by the Allies during the Second World War. Find out all about the German occupation of the town, and what life was like for local residents during this time – as well as an in-depth look at the importance of the D-Day beach landings and their lasting legacy. Visitors will find plenty of documents, photographs, weapons and equipment from the time, all housed in a fortress that was itself liberated from German forces during the conflict.
Mont St Michel
The remarkable Mont St Michel is a self-contained citadel; a monastery and village that may well feature on cruise excursions travelling out of Cherbourg. A guided tour of the mount could take you down the winding, twisted lanes between the historic houses and shops in the village itself, before climbing up to the monolithic abbey and monastic buildings that stack and perch one above the other, a marvel of Norman architecture that culminates in a spiked tower, capped with a golden statue of the archangel himself.
The city offers keen shoppers the chance to wander the enchanting cobbled streets of the Old Town, where clothes boutiques and gift shops sit side-by-side with food and wine specialists, all within a stone’s throw of the waterfront. The town centre is also home to a large open-air market, specialising in delicious local produce.
Cherbourg is home to fantastic restaurants and creperies, whether you’re looking for an ultra-modern dining experience, a brightly-coloured café bar or a traditional eatery that radiates classic French charm. Rest assured that excellent French cuisine isn’t hard to come by in Cherbourg, accompanied with characteristic service and style.
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