An important naval base since the nineteenth century, Cherbourg is a city that remains extricable from the sea. Situated in a strategically perfect location, it was Napoleon who had the vision (and the clout) to transform relatively an inferior natural harbour into a major transatlantic port by constructing massive artificial breakwaters. The rest, as they say, is history. Today this former giant of shipbuilding is kept busy with ferries from the UK and international cargo ships. But it isn’t all commerce and tourism. Cherbourg is also one of the most famous venues for competitive sailing and has played host to more than 50 events in the last 20 years, including the prestigious Tall Ships Race, the Tour de France, the Cutty Sark Gathering and the Starmanche.
As you would expect from a port with such an impressive nautical pedigree, Cherbourg is fully equipped to welcome the thousands of visiting members of the pleasure boating fraternity and Chantereyne Marina is nothing less than exceptional. The most important marina on the Channel it has a capacity of 1150 berths with an additional 140 moorings in the outer harbour and a comprehensive selection of superb marine services. There is also a restaurant and bowling alley. The harbour is home to a major new attraction La Cité de la Mer, which combines a huge aquarium with exhibits representing the history and world of undersea exploration.
With excellent shopping and a good choice of places to wine and dine, Cherbourg is always well worth a visit and makes an excellent base for exploring the historic surrounding coastline.