Cherbourg, France cruise holidays
Now officially known as Cherbourg-Octeville, having formed a union with the smaller city in 2000, Cherbourg has long been a gateway between Britain and France. Well worth a visit is Cherbourg's aquarium, allowing visitors to explore the many facets of underwater exploration. Another must see is the Gothic-style Benedictine Abbey Mont St Michel, perched on a rocky islet near the port. Alternatively simply sit at a traditional French cafe and enjoy a drink while watching the boats as they come and go from the harbour.
Cherbourg is probably best known for two things: its seafaring heritage and its starring role in the 1960s film The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Discover the former at the Cité de la Mer (City of the Sea) museum, where you can step inside a hulking nuclear submarine and marvel at 17 incredible aquariums, including one that’s more than 10m deep. In the buzzing Old Town, the fish market and surrounding seafood restaurants offer a different way to enjoy the ocean’s bounty. Foodies will be further enticed by the city’s cheeses, cider and calvados, a brandy made from apples or pears. While you’re out in the Old Town, be sure to pick up the city’s most famous souvenir – an umbrella, of course.
Mont Saint Michel is like something out of a fairy tale. The medieval monastery perched on top of a small island has long captivated pilgrims, artists and tourists with its gravity-defying beauty. The first monastic building on the island dates back to 709 when Aubert, the bishop of the town of Avranches, built a church – supposedly at the request of the Archangel Michael. Access to the UNESCO World Heritage Site was once controlled by the tides (which are extreme in the region, with a difference of up to 15m between high and low tide), but today it can be reached by shuttle bus or on foot