Seaport (pop., 1999: 25,370) and naval station, northwestern France. Located on the English Channel, it is believed to occupy the site of an ancient Roman station. The French and English fought over the site in the Middle Ages. It was taken by the English in 1758, then passed to France and was extensively fortified by Louis XVI. In World War II the Germans held it until the Allies captured it in 1944; it became an important Allied supply port. Industries include transatlantic shipping, shipbuilding, and the manufacture of electronics and telephone equipment. Yachting and commercial fishing are also important.
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Cherbourg-Octeville is a town and commune in Normandy, North-West France. It was formed when the city of Cherbourg absorbed Octeville on February 28, 2000, and was officially renamed Cherbourg-Octeville.
In the Napoleonic era the harbour was fortified to prevent British naval incursions. Underwater obstructions were sunk at intervals across the harbour entrance, and then progressively replaced with piles of masonried rubble. Works began in 1784 and were not concluded until 1850, long after Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.
Cherbourg was the first stop of RMS Titanic after it left Southampton, England. On 19 June 1864, the naval engagement between USS Kearsarge and CSS Alabama took place off Cherbourg. The Battle of Cherbourg, fought in June 1944 following the Normandy Invasion, ended with the capture of Cherbourg on June 30.
The Norman language writer Alfred Rossel, a native of Cherbourg, composed many songs which form part of the heritage of the region. Rossel's song Sus la mé ("on the sea") is often sung as a regional patriotic song. The local dialect is known as Cotentinais.
The city's station is at the end of a railway line built by the Chemins de Fer de l'Ouest from Paris. Regular services operate to Paris-Saint-Lazare via Caen using Corail Intercites stock, local TER services operate from the station to Lisieux via Caen and to Rennes via Saint-Lô. As well as a main line station there was also the Gare Maritime Transatlantique station. This now forms part of the Cité de la mer.
Cherbourg-Octeville has previously had services operated by the following operators:-
In addition to ferry services the port also handles cruise ships at the Gare Maritime Transatlantique on the Quai de France next to the Cité de la mer and conventional cargo ships in the eastern area of the docks on the Quai des Flamands and Quai des Mielles.
The nearest airport is in Maupertus-sur-Mer which is named Cherbourg Maupertus (IATA code: CER, IACO code: LFRC).