Discover Cherbourg: 20 unmissable activities

Oct 30, 2023Nicolas Ancellin

Cherbourg, located in the Normandy region, is a picturesque town nestled on the northwest coast of France. Known for its rich maritime heritage, delicious cuisine and magnificent landscapes, Cherbourg offers a variety of activities to suit all tastes. If you're planning to visit this charming town, here are 20 must-do things to do in Cherbourg.

1. Visit the City of the Sea

The Cité de la Mer is an unmissable treasure of Cherbourg. This exceptional maritime museum takes you on a fascinating journey through underwater history. You will be able to explore the interior of a real nuclear submarine, the Redoutable, and discover the living conditions of the sailors on board. The Titanic exhibition will immerse you in the tragic sinking of the famous liner, with an impressive collection of artifacts recovered from the depths of the ocean. You can also explore the giant aquarium where sharks, rays and many other marine species will amaze you. It is an educational and entertaining experience for the whole family.

2. Take a walk in the public garden

The public garden of Cherbourg is a jewel of greenery and serenity. Its shaded paths invite you to relax while admiring a wide variety of plants and flowers. Century-old trees create a calming ambiance, perfect for a relaxing break. Fountains and ponds add a touch of elegance, and seasonal flower beds bring bursts of color. It's the ideal place for a quiet walk, a family picnic, or simply to recharge your batteries in the middle of nature.

3. Explore the Old Town

Cherbourg has retained its old-world charm in the old town. Stroll through the cobbled streets lined with half-timbered houses, discover local craft shops, art galleries, quaint cafes and restaurants serving delicious Normandy cuisine. The brightly colored half-timbered houses create a warm and authentic atmosphere, immersing you in the history of the city. Take the time to get lost in this maze of narrow streets, and you'll be rewarded with charming discoveries around every corner.

4. Admire the Holy Trinity Basilica

The Sainte-Trinité Basilica is an architectural treasure of Cherbourg. This impressive neo-Gothic church is an exquisite example of religious art. Its imposing exterior and colorful stained glass windows are eye-catching, but it's inside where the true beauty is revealed. You will be amazed by the sculptural details, frescoes and religious ornaments. Attending a mass or simply meditating in this majestic basilica is a spiritual and cultural experience.

5. Enjoy seafood

Cherbourg, as a port city, is famous for its seafood. Head to one of the harbor restaurants to enjoy oysters, mussels, scallops, shrimp and more. The freshness of these marine delights is incomparable, and they are exquisitely prepared to satisfy the most demanding palates. Enjoy a seaside meal while admiring views of the boats and the sunset for an unforgettable dining experience.

6. Visit the Fort du Roule

Fort du Roule is a historic site which offers a spectacular panoramic view of the city and port of Cherbourg. Perched on a hill, this fort built in the 19th century transports you into the region's military past. Explore its underground galleries, cannons and military history exhibits. A walk around the fort will reward you with breathtaking panoramic views of Cherbourg, the sea and the surrounding countryside.

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7. Take the tourist train

Hop aboard the tourist train for a picturesque guided tour of Cherbourg and its historic sites. Let yourself be taken through the old town, the port, the beaches and many other emblematic places of the city. The guide will provide you with fascinating information about Cherbourg's history and local anecdotes. It's a great way to familiarize yourself with the city and spot places you want to explore more next.

8. Enjoy the beaches

Cherbourg has several beaches that invite relaxation and leisure activities by the sea. Querqueville Beach is one of the most popular, with its golden sand and crystal clear waters. It's a great place for swimming, sunbathing, water sports like windsurfing and kite surfing, or just a peaceful stroll along the shore. The beaches of Cherbourg offer a refreshing escape for those looking to enjoy the Normandy coastline.

9. Take a trip to Tatihou Island

Tatihou Island is a natural gem located off the coast of Cherbourg. This small island is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is renowned for its wild beauty, abundant wildlife and preserved flora. You can reach the island by boat from the mainland. Once there, explore the maritime museum, visit the lighthouse, watch birds and seals, and discover the richness of nature. It is an ideal getaway for nature and adventure lovers.

10. Discover the Thomas Henry Museum

The Thomas Henry Museum is an artistic treasure house that houses an impressive collection of European artworks from the Middle Ages to the 19th century. Among the masterpieces on display, you will find paintings by masters such as Delacroix, Géricault, Monet, Degas and many others. Sculptures, drawings and art objects complete this rich and diverse collection. The museum's elegant interior provides an ideal setting for a peaceful exploration of art, with regularly changing temporary exhibitions. The Thomas Henry Museum is a place of cultural discovery, where you can immerse yourself in the history of European art through the centuries.

11. Visit the Umbrella House

Cherbourg is home to the Maison du Parapluie, a unique establishment of its kind dedicated to this daily accessory. Here you will discover the ancient and artisanal art of umbrella making. Explore the different stages of production, admire an impressive variety of umbrellas, and learn the history of this practical object. You can even personalize your own umbrella for a unique souvenir of Cherbourg. It's a charming experience that immerses you in the world of the umbrella in an unexpected and captivating way.

12. Go on a sea excursion

The waters surrounding Cherbourg are teeming with marine life and history. Many companies offer sea excursions to allow you to explore the bay, observe marine wildlife and learn local maritime stories. Go in search of the dolphins and seals that frequent these waters, or learn more about the wrecks and shipwrecks that have marked the region. These sea trips offer an immersive maritime experience that will appeal to adventure and nature lovers.

13. Catch a show at the Trident

The Trident is Cherbourg's theater, offering a varied program of shows, concerts, plays and artistic performances. This cultural establishment enlivens the city's artistic scene by welcoming national and international artists. Whether you're a fan of music, dance, theater or comedy, the Trident offers a range of exciting events to suit all tastes. Attending a show at Trident is a memorable cultural experience that will allow you to discover the artistic vitality of Cherbourg.

14. Take a walk on the sea wall

The Cherbourg sea wall is an emblematic place in the city, offering a breathtaking view of the sea. This seaside promenade is perfect for a leisurely stroll admiring the waves crashing on the rocks. You will also be able to watch ferries and boats entering and leaving the port. The sea wall is a privileged place to contemplate the sunset over the sea, creating an unforgettable romantic atmosphere.

15. Explore the Plant Garden

The Cherbourg Plant Garden is a peaceful space that will delight botany and nature lovers. This botanical garden features a wide variety of carefully arranged plants, trees and flowers. The winding paths invite you to explore the different sections of the garden, each showcasing a particular collection. Magnificent greenhouses shelter exotic species, and the benches scattered throughout allow you to enjoy moments of relaxation in the open air. It's a great place for leisurely walks, meditation or nature photography.

16. Stroll along the Quai Alexandre III

Quai Alexandre III is a pleasant place for a picturesque seaside stroll. Lined with restaurants, cafes and shops, it is the ideal place to stroll and enjoy the view of the boats and yachts moored at the port from Cherbourg. You can enjoy an ice cream, sip a coffee or simply soak up the lively atmosphere of the port. The pier is particularly charming at the end of the day, when the lights come on and the sea horizon becomes even more romantic.

17. Taste Norman cider

Normandy is famous for its cider, and you can't visit Cherbourg without tasting this traditional drink. Many local restaurants and pubs offer a variety of ciders, ranging from sweet to dry. Accompany your meal with delicious Breton pancakes or pancakes for an authentic gastronomic experience. Norman cider is a true delight for the taste buds, and it is an opportunity to discover the culinary culture of the region.

18. Visit the André Malraux Museum of Modern Art

The André Malraux Museum of Modern Art is a must-see destination for art lovers. It houses an impressive collection of modern art, ranging from impressionists to contemporary artists. You can admire masterpieces by Monet, Degas, Renoir, Bonnard and many others. Sculptures, ceramics and contemporary art add diversity to this rich collection. Temporary exhibitions regularly highlight new artists and artistic movements. A visit to the André Malraux Museum of Modern Art will immerse you in the world of modern and contemporary art.

19. Go shopping

Cherbourg offers a variety of shopping options for visitors. The streets of the Old Town are full of local artisan boutiques, antique stores and art galleries, where you can find unique treasures. Local markets and flea markets are perfect for finding vintage objects, artisanal souvenirs and local products. You can find jewelry, clothing, regional products, works of art and much more. Shopping in Cherbourg is an opportunity to discover local creations and take home unique souvenirs from your trip.

20. Attend a local event

Cherbourg hosts many events throughout the year, providing a cultural and entertaining experience. Music festivals put

featuring local and international artists, art exhibitions highlight the region's creativity, and cultural events celebrate Cherbourg's history and traditions. Highlights include the Festival des Traversées Tatihou, which offers open-air concerts on the island of Tatihou, as well as the Festival de Jazz en Cotentin which attracts renowned musicians. Christmas markets, sailboat races, craft exhibitions and many other events bring the city to life all year round. Before planning your trip, check the local events calendar so you don't miss a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and atmosphere of Cherbourg.

Cherbourg is a city full of treasures to discover. From rich maritime history to a thriving arts scene, peaceful beaches and delicious food, this city has it all for travelers looking for an authentic experience. Whether you are a lover of art, history, nature or cuisine, Cherbourg will satisfy your interests and leave you with lasting memories of your stay in this beautiful part of Normandy. Don't forget to explore every corner of the city to discover its unique charm and hidden treasures. Cherbourg has a memorable experience in store for you, whatever the season of your visit.

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