Cherbourg-en-Contentin, France – a gateway port to the UK.

One of the major gateways between the UK and France, Cherbourg is now officially called Cherbourg-en-Contentin.

It is just over 100km from Normandy WWII reference sites, so plan over an hour each way. If you are staying locally, find a French cafe and enjoy a drink and moules frites which will likely be generous and delicious. Mussels are said to be a great source of vitamins. The tide here can have a difference of 15m.

The aquarium offers a little more than just a few fish, Cité de la Mer (City of the Sea) is a huge museum. Inside a the largest nuclear submarine open to the public. It has 17 incredible aquariums, including one that’s more than 10m deep which sounds like it might be as big as the one in the Dubai Mall! The little told stop of the Titanic is Cherbourg. Often forgotten in the tale, but four hours after leaving Southampton on 10 April 1912, the Titanic stopped in Cherbourg. 24 passengers left, having booked only the cross-Channel passage. 274 passengers joined. The stop was only 90 minutes. At 8 pm the Titanic was under way for its overnight crossing to Queenstown. There is a feature on the Titanic in the Cité de la Mer museum, which includes some artefacts recovered from the wreck.

The fairy tale-like Gothic-style Benedictine Abbey Mont St Michel is on a rocky islet near the port, so a boat trip the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mont-Saint-Michel. There you can visit the Abbey created in 708 AD for Archangel Michael, the village and its ancient cobblestone streets, walk on the bay of the Mont St Michel, and enjoy a delicious lunch in the best restaurant on that island.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Foodies will be further enticed by the city’s cheeses, cider and calvados, a brandy made from apples or pears. The city’s most famous souvenir is an umbrella, a nod to the film made there in 1964. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg starred Catherine Deneuve and Nino Castelnuovo as two young lovers in a romantic musical.

It is still available on Amazon – click picture.

It is nice research – has the place changed that much?


Some research to plan ahead….

… we hope that helps.