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Cherbourg Background information

Cherbourg is a maritime town. An exceptional achievement of the 19th century with the biggest architectural roadstead in the world. The Cherbourg-Ccteville’s marina, with its 1350 hoops, is just within a few encablures from the Channel Island. The right heart of town is situated in its fishing port and marina. Cherbourg-Octeville is a town in Normandy, North West France. Cherbourg is the gateway to Normandy. It lies on the Cotentin Peninsula which covers an area of about 18 miles and has a variety of landscapes. Spectacular coastlines and plenty of safe, sandy beaches. The attractions of the ports include a fabulous aquarium and memorial to the dead of World War II. The countryside of the Val de Seine area, east of Cherbourg, and the Hague peninsula, to the west, also have much to offer.

Cherbourg’s harbour walls are magnificent feats of engineering, constructed over the 18th and the 19th centuries with modifications and additions until 1922. The main attraction is obviously the central dyke with its three forts. In Cherbourg you can see several signposted historical walks through the harbour area as well.

Notre Dame du Vœux, Saint Clement and the ancient Saint Trinity Basilica are the main historical churches in Cherbourg. The site of the great Chateau, destroyed in 1689, is situated in the harbour area. Other sights include the Bassins, where you can fitness the port as it was in the 19th century. Cherbourg is on the Cotentin Peninsula that just out into the Channel. The Channel Islands are in the west: Guernsey is 30 miles away and Jersey 17 miles. Besides being an attractive harbour, Cherbourg is also a transatlantic seaport, a major base, a fishing centre and has a large marina.

Already in the IVth century, a fortified roman camp was in Cherbourg. At the beginning of the XIV century, the tower and the castle are fortified by walls. During the war of 100 years (1337-1453), Cherbourg was a strategic point with various battles between French and English.
In 1450, The French won definitively the town. During two centuries, Cherbourg became a peaceful place. In 1689, after Vauban had made important works in the Castle, Louvais destroyed the Castle.
In 1783, Louis XVI decided to create a military harbour in Cherbourg: a ditch and three fortresses (Pelee, Le Homet and Querqueville) have been built to protect and defend the town.
In 1853, the ditch is finished and Cherbourg had the bigger articial harbour in the world (1500 acres). The last works in the harbor were in the end of XIX century and in the beginning of XX century.
More recently, the Second World War caused many damages in Cherbourg. In 1940, Cherbourg was taken by the Deutsch army, considered as a crucial strategic place. After battles with American army, the Deutsch army surrendered to after having destroyed the train station and the port.

In 2000, the two towns Cherbourg and Octeville have been merger for becoming Cherbourg-Octeville.

Whenever in the Middle-Age or in the XIX century, Cherbourg has always been a strategic place for wars of power. For few years, Cherbourg has been the latest transatlantic station in the world and has welcomed twenty boats per year. Among them, the Queen Mary II made Cherbourg its continental port.

Nowadays, Cherbourg is an international harbour of navigation with the organization of many events like Cutty Sark or the Course du Figaro. Cherbourg is also a cultural town with its museums, theatre or castle.

A wide range of restaurants, pubs and shops is here for hosting the tourists.


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