MUSEUMS IN CHERBOURG: Make...
MUSEUMS IN CHERBOURG: Make sure you pay a visit to the 'Musee Thomas-Henry', located behind the port. This interesting museum contains work by Fra Filippo Lippi and Fra Angelico. An eclectic collection in the 'Musee d'Ethnographie', set in tropical gardens, illustrates cultures and societies from around the world, including the life of the Inuit.
Above the town, Fort du Roule, the scene of fierce fighting in 1944, houses a museum about the war years.
Visit a Church
La Basilique de la Ste. Trinite
Dating from the 11th Century the church is situated between the centre of the old town and the sea.
Construction took place between the 11th and 19th century which may explain the contrasting styles and materials that can be seen in the design and fabric of the building. The overall effect for me was of a rather dead but flamboyant gothic style.
It does however possess a rare 15th century Font, some fine alabaster relief work, a famous organ and some stained glass by the 20th Century artist Jean Gaudin.
So do not be put off by its gloomy exterior - it is well worth taking a look inside.
Cite de la Mer
The oceanographic museum was created within the old Transatlantic Liner Terminal and will be of interest to boys and girls of all ages. It included the opportunity to experience the sensation of being inside a submarine and to view relics from a ship sunk off Cherbourg during the American war of Independence.
Admission for adults is about 14euros 50, about 9 euros for children . A full visit takes 3 hours so a good one for a rainy day.
Parks and Gardens
We love to visit parks, gardens and castles but unfortunately did not have time on this short trip so here are a few we have earmarked for a future visit.
Seems you also get a bit of historic aristocratic scandal at the Chateau (above).
Watch over the world's largest deep water port
Cherbourg used to have several small harbours along it's coastline, however, the architects of Napoleon saw possibilities to create a huge bassin. Large enough to house now-a-days a whole fleet of cruiseships or then a full armada of warships. On the seabed a half circle of submerged rocks, made it possible to make artificial islands with in between stone harbour walls. Few gateways secured a deep and safe entrance into the bassin, where ships could anchor safely from large waves, storm winds or enemy ships. In Cherbourg itself the enormousness of the harbour can be best seen from the olf fortress terraces, but from view points near Anse-du-Brick (Maupertus) in the East and the old church of Querqueville in the West, the seize of the harbour also can be witnessed.
A visit to the sea
Cité de la Mer (City of the sea) is a really great museum for young and old. We all know of the great past of Marine exploration that France holds (think of Jacques Cousteau and you know enough). This museum tells about the submerged secrets of the seas and oceans, the colourful marine life and the history of sea exploration. Cité de la Mer is also very interesting for children, that get explicit attention throughout the various sections in the museum. The museum is situated in the magnificent building of what used to be the Transatlantic "Station"
Walk by masts, sails, anchors etc.
All aboard? Well no, we didn't have the pleasure of coming here by boat, nor hopped on a rental. And one doesn;t have to go on board to enjoy the wonderful yaughts, sailing boats and other ships that are in the many many harbours in the port of Cherbourg. Over twenty kilometers, the town suprised me in the amount of larger and smaller bassins for boats. In the center one can't miss the central docks and harbour piers. Thousands of ships lay here and they variete from small private yaughts to beautiful three mast barks. Do you want to go out to sea? There are possibilities in booking fishing trips on the English Channel. Highlight in Cherbourg is the museum ship "Belem" (see seperate Tip).
A famous sailing ship in the harbour of Cherbourg
In the inner docks of the Cherbourg harbour one can visit one of France's most famous (and most impressive) sailing ships. It is the "Belem", which has a home port the harbour of Cherbourg. This three mast bark sailed the seven oceans and is a pure beauty. In the outer harbour, near the Saint-Trinity church, another museumship also attracts the view with it's colourful flags.
Saint Trinity church, a sailors sanctuary
The most wonderful church in this maritime town is the Saint-Trinity, which is situated at the main harbour in the centre of town. The church is built in a fine gothic style, but has some romanesk parts from it's original predecessor. Inside the organ and several beautiful statues are the main attractions to this basilica church. With the maritime history and traditions of Cherbourg, one can imagine that this is truely a sailors sanctuary. Many marine men as well as sailing visitors temperarily in Cherbourg, devote themselves here on Sunday to a prayer for good weather at sea.
Abbey of Notre Dame de Voeu
Close to the (military) marine parts of the harbour of Cherbourg, one can visit the ruins of the old abbey of Notre Dame de Voeu. This ancient abbey found it's origin in the 12th century and didn't have a history of peace. Already in the early centuries of it's excistance, it was several times raided by the English. This was especially easy, as the abbey was situated outside the city walls of Cherbourg and couldn't be defended. Time and time again it had to be restored after being turned into a ruin. After the French revolution, the abbey was turned into military barracks and in the second world war the same happened by the Nazi troops. This resulted in a complete destruction of the abbey in the battle for Cherbourg, after which the ruins were left aside in the renovation of the town. Only in the recent decades one has decided to try and keep as much as possible intact. Even today the ruins radiate a former grandeur, with it's gothic windows as highlight.
Enjoy the magnificent view from the fortress
High on top of a rocky hill that is dominating over the city of Cherbourg, stands the fortress. The strategic position is well choosen and from the terraces of the fortress one can see over the whole town, as well as over the complete harbour and wide into the English Channel. Inside the fortress you can visit the liberation museum of Cherbourg. The museum shows how fierce the battle was in and around Cherbourg during the second world war. The allied forces needed the harbour badly for supplying the forces that tried to liberate Europe from Nazi terror, especially after the Mulberry port in the American sector was destroyed in an autumn storm.
The bus station in Cherbourg is located behind Carrefore (if your on the marina) and opposite the main railway station.
- Budget Travel
Within the Casino of Cherbourg you will find:
49 slot Machines and Video Pokers
1 Roulette Table
Brewery the "Fifty's Dinner"
The dancing club "Admiralty"? The banquet room and the bar.
- Casino and Gambling
La City de la Mer
The first French nuclear submarine - Le Redoutable - opens its doors to public. For fans of weapons, it will be a wonderful experience of going into a real nuclear submarine.
- Budget Travel
- Study Abroad
- School Holidays
We weren't in Cherbourg very long, before it was time to catch the tide for Normandy. So not much time for sightseeing, although there is much to see here.
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