The Port of Cherbourg, is situated at the Northern tip of the Cherbourg Peninsula, in an area of France known as Haute Normande. Cherbourg is located in a very protected harbour with no less than two long breakwaters. Besides being an attractive harbour, Cherbourg is also a transatlantic seaport, a major naval base, a fishing centre and has a large marina. It is also a manufacturing centre. As a ferry port, Cherbourg is very convenient with around 6 sailings a day to and from Portsmouth and Poole by traditional ferry or fast craft operated by P & O ferries and Brittany Ferries. Traditional ferries take about 5 hours in the day and 8 hours overnight while, if speed is of essence, the P&O Ferries fast craft Portsmouth Express takes just 2 hours and 45 minutes.
Cherbourg History. Old Cherbourg is probable built on the site of the Roman camp of Coriallum, although no visible ruins remain. The name of Cherbourg first appeared in 1026 when Duke Richard II donated the castle to his future wife. Development of Cherbourg as a port was significantly aided following creation of the Anglo-Norman state in 1066 after William's victory at Hastings. In 1204, the King of France, Philip-Auguste, took control of Normandy. Franco-English relations deteriorated and in 1295 the English carried out the first of many raids on Cherbourg, and set fire to the town. Only the castle held firm and it was later fortified several times. In 1337, the Hundred Years War began and Cherbourg became a strategic trump card with the town changing sovereign six times. In 1563 and in 1574, the Protestants of Normandy, tried to capture Cherbourg but the town was victoriously defended by Jacques de Matignon whose descendants subsequently governed Cherbourg until the middle of the 18th century. In 1686, Vauban suggested important defence works but these were never completed. At that time, the harbour consisted of a natural lagoon where forty vessels could anchor but with no protection as shown by the aftermath of the 1692 battle known as the La Hougue. From 1739 to 1744, on the orders of Louis XV, the town was given a commercial port that, in 1758, was entirely destroyed when the British again captured Cherbourg. These were restored in a long-term project begun in the 1770s and completed mid-19th century. In 1940, the Germans occupied Cherbourg and developed the port as a base for U-boats - protected by massive concrete "pens". Allied bombing then, and later during its recapture in 1944 by the Allies, so essential for its port facilities for landing reinforcements and materiel, caused heavy damage.
Cherbourg Attractions Consider"La Cite de la Mer" with cylindrical aquarium and former nuclear submarine; located in the former trans-Atlantic terminal building; Museum of Liberation - A scenic tour through Occupation to liberation with many audiovisual presentations; Ludiver Observatory and Planetarium for those with an interest in astronomy who will be thrilled with their "virtual guide"; Fort du Roule' located at the summit of "Roule Mountain" 117 metres above sea level offers a beautiful panoramic view of the harbour and town. Other places include Marina Chantereyne; Cherbourg's Natural History museum, The castle of Martinvaast 6 km from Cherbourg and the Castle of Nacqueville (10 km).
Cherbourg Shopping and Dining. Just behind the waterfront, in the Old Town, is the main shopping area of Cherbourg. Here, in a maze of narrow cobbled streets, many pedestrianised, are packed specialist food and wine shops, café bars, restaurants, fashion boutiques and gift shops. Check out Cherbourg’s street markets - from Tuesday to Thursday and on Saturday and Sunday there is a different market each day. For further details on these and other information on Cherbourg click here Cherbourg Markets. EuroDif, near the main square in the centre of Cherbourg, is the largest department store, with three floors packed with typical French merchandise - clothing, fabrics, haberdashery, crockery, bed and table linen, home wear and candles. On the outskirts of town you can find large hypermarkets: Carrefour located on the edge of town when you leave the main N13, Leclerc is in Tourlaville and Auchan,also on the N13 route to Caen and Paris. There is a wide choice of restaurants with a good range of price and type of food on offer - from seafood to crepes to Pizzas and Salads.
Cherbourg Access. Cherbourg links to Brittany via the E03 (southwards towards Avranches), and Caen and the Loire Valley via the E46. For Paris take the N13/A13 dual carriageway/autoroute, which also links to the A84 autoroute to Rennes.