"Cherbourg" Cherbourg by ranger49
Cherbourg Travel Guide: 86 reviews and 240 photos
Haughtily dismissed in a couple of better known and widely used UK travel guides as "a place to get out of fast," Cherbourg is a city with a long and interesting history.
It is believed to have been built on the site of a Roman camp, of which no remains have been found.
The name Cherbourg first appears in 1026 when Duke Richard II donated the castle to his future wife - 40 years before the Battle of Hastings.
Development of the Port at Cherbourg only followed the establishment of an Anglo-Norman state in 1066 after William's victory at Hastings.
By the early 13th century 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.
With the outbreak of the Hundred Years War in 1337 Cherbourg became a strategic city and was fought over for centuries.
In 1563 and again in 1574, the Protestants of Normandy, tried to capture Cherbourg but the town was successfully defended by Jacques de Matignon whose descendants went on to govern Cherbourg until the middle of the 18th century.
The harbour consisted of a natural lagoon where over forty ships could anchor but without protection from attack.In 1686, the ubiquitous Vauban had proposed defence works but these were not completed.
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.
It was 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, in Objectif un Port, caused heavy damage. Bombed and shattered after 6 years of Occupation Cherbourg was liberated on June 26th 1944.
Attempts to rebuild its pre-war prestige as a TransAtlantic shipping port were set back by the development of air traffic. but the increase in car ferry travel between France and the UK has breathed new life into an ancient town.
Most visitors from the UK arrive and leave by ferry and do not linger to explore. The city has changed in the years since our first overnight stop in 1966 and the most recent earlier this month.
There is far more to see there than is possible in such a short visit. We''ll be back!
- Pros:Plenty to do and see in a few hours or w/e break
- Cons:Too easy to pass through without a glance if rushing to/from ferry!
- In a nutshell:Don't be fooled - it's much more than a shipping terminal!
La Basilique de la Ste. Trinite Dating from the 11th Century the church is situated between the centre of the old town... more travel advice
Our stay here was in October 2007 We drove off the ferry at 7.25pm and 10 minutes later we were parking on the quay... more travel advice
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