Cherbourg without umbrellas, five good reasons to go there in the spring

A town facing the English Channel, the gentle breeze reigns there and it is good to walk on the sidewalk, meditate in its magnificent gardens and discover its architectural treasures.

Artificial port, an invaluable resource

It was Napoleon I who ordered the huge work of the military port of Cherbourg and thankfully, the people of Cherbourg almost called their city Napoleonburg! In the absence of its name, Napoleon left the world’s second-largest artificial harbor city, with 4 km of dykes and a dozen castles over 1500 hectares. A huge job.

Built to deal with the hereditary English enemy, the port was an invaluable resource for Cherberg and its development. During the time of the sand epoch, the great legendary sea liners, thus protected from the opacity of the sea and always accessible, could drop their anchors in its waters with complete protection. Four days before the sinking, the Titanic stopped here and before leaving for Belfast with 261 passengers on board!

One of the best ways to discover the harbor and its forts is to take a sea tour with a guided tour on the Adele ship with the Part Company in The Hague.

Rotating Bridge, 50100 Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, 06 61 14 03 32, Price: € 14.60 per person / duration 1 hour.

Transatlantic Ferry Terminal and City de la Mer

The City de la Mer has the largest aquarium in Europe. Adobe Stock / Jumas

A gem of the Art Deco style, the old station faces the harbor and dominates the sea like a cathedral. Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth dock here every two weeks. Charlie Chaplin, Elizabeth Taylor, Salvador Daly, all the big stars of the time have gone through this station. In the 20th century, it was one of the most important transatlantic complexes in the world, and Cherberg, a few hours’ drive from Paris, was the gateway to America.

Today, the elegant monument, built by Andr লে Levavaceur in 1933, contains the Cité de la Mer, one of the best oceanographic museums in France. An immersive and educational journey called the Ocean of the Future awaits visitors on three floors around an abyssal aquarium with a depth of 10.70 meters, the highest in Europe, all with whale songs. 18 interactive spaces and 17 aquariums allow you to explore the depths of the ocean.

Cité de la Mer: The Ocean of the Future offers a variety of thematic space to explore the seabed, Le Redoutable submarine or even Titanic space.

Alley of President Menot, 50100 Cherbourg-en-Cotentin. E.g. : 02 33 20 26 69, Price: € 19 per person.

On the street Cherbourg umbrella

Sometimes umbrella arbors adorn the streets of Cherbourg. Adobe Stock / JuliaM

The sidewalks in the city center are historic landmarks of Cherberg in the Middle Ages. Rue des Portes, the most commercial, connected the city to the entrance to the medieval castle that disappeared after the 17th century, when the Rue des Fosses served as a dump that purifies the tidal waters. From time to time, Umbrella Arbors, the symbol of the city from Jack Demi’s cult film Cherbourg’s umbrella Decorate these streets with garlands.

Don’t miss the route to rue des Portes, Cour Marie at 18. Inside Cherbourg’s umbrella, Guy (Nino Castelnovo) The protagonist lived in the yard with his aunt Alice. Above the rue des Fossés, we arrive at the Rue du Port where several scenes were shot in the umbrella shop, run by Geneviève (Catherine Deneuve) and her mother, who nowadays owns a clothing store …

For movie fans, a route to “Jack Demi’s footsteps” at ten stops set by the city lets you see the original filming locations.

Information from the Cherbourg Tourism Office. 14, Kwai Alexander III. E.g. : 02 33 93 52 02.

The Golden Theater, the symbol of the city

Cherbourg’s Italian-style theater, known as “Théâtre d’Or”. Wikimedia Commons

The nickname of Theater D’Or is taken from the significant budget allocated for its construction. In the heart of the city, the Italian theater imposes itself with its sculpture and its eclectic style on the front, between classic and renaissance. Built in 1881 by the Parisian architect Charles de Lalande, Cherbourg was experiencing its golden age, and the theater is today considered a symbol of the city’s success and an excellent example of a great Italian-style theater. Preserved in its own juice. The U-shaped auditorium, porch and boxes are decorated in gold and red, a color that must have matched the women’s toilets of the time. Orientalist Georges Clarin’s painting, known for decorating Opera Garnier’s fountains, lightly adorns the central dome.

The Cherbourg Tourist Office organizes guided tours inside the theater. Price: € 4. 14, Kwai Alexander III. 02 33 93 52 02.

Emanuel Lias Park

Emmanuel Liais Park is probably the most appreciated by the people of Cherbourg. Wikimedia Commons

The Gulf Stream, a marine and temperate current, enabled Cherberg to perpetuate a 19th-century botanical tradition, while sailors and explorers brought back exotic plants from their distant voyages. The city now has five exceptional parks, two of which have “significant” and “eco-garden” labels, such as Emanuel Lias, the most popular with the people of Cherberg.

Japanese azaleas, desperate monkeys, birds of paradise, Brazilian songbirds, centuries-old cypresses ের more than a thousand species of trees and exotic plants ই Emmanuel Lias (1826-1900), botanists, explorers mate in the gardens of the former mansion and many After his death, Emmanuel Lias bequeathed everything to his city and now has a museum in his home.

Rue Emmanuel Liais, 50100 Cherbourg-en-Cotentin, 02 33 53 51 61, open daily without interruption, free admission.

To go

On the train

Paris-Saint-Lazare – Cherbourg, several trains a day. The trip takes about 3 hours 20 minutes.

By car

Paris-Cherberg, about 3h45 by road, 363 km.

More info

Cherbourg Tourist Office, Kwai Alexander III. E.g. : 02 33 93 52 02,

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