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.
Cherbourg holds an arsenal of the French Navy.
Cherbourg is twinned with Poole in Dorset, England.
Cherbourg-Octeville is situated at the north of the Cotentin Peninsula
. It is in the Manche département
(of which it is the sous-préfecture
) in the Basse-Normandie région
. At the time of the 1999 census
the city of Cherbourg had an area of 6.91 km² (2.668 sq mi), while the city of Octeville had an area of 7.35 km² (2.838 sq mi). The amalgamated
city today has an area of 14.26 km² (5.506 sq mi).
The combined population of Cherbourg and Octeville at the 1999 census was 42,318 inhabitants. (Separately, the official numbers were 25,370 for Cherbourg and 16,948 for Octeville.) The population of Cherbourg metropolitan area (the aire urbaine de Cherbourg
) at the 1999 census was 117,855 inhabitants. The city is now the second largest in the Basse-Normandie region (after Caen
), surpassing Alençon
, which had been second before the amalgamation. Also, the city is the largest in the Manche département
, although Saint-Lô
is the préfecture
The Cotentin was in fact the first territory conquered by the men from the North, the Vikings. For these sea people, it was logical that Cherbourg should become a port.
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.
La Glacerie comes from the French for glass factory
. In 1655, Lucas de Néhou
built a glass factory which was provided for buildings like Galerie des Glaces
and Château de Versailles
. The factory in La Glacerie was destroyed by Allied bombardments in 1944.
Sites of interest
La Glacerie has a race track. The Cité de la mer
is a large museum devoted to scientific and historical aspects of maritime subjects.
Public Transport and Infrastructure
Cherbourg is at the end of the N13
road from Paris and Caen
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 is a port on the English Channel with a number of regular passenger and freight ferry services operating from the large modern ferry terminal. The following operators currently run services from the port:-
Cherbourg-Octeville has previously had services operated by the following operators:-
- Stena Line to Southampton (up to 2 sailings daily). Withdrawn in 1996.
- P&O Ferries to Portsmouth (up to 2 sailings daily by conventional ferry and up to 3 by fast ferry during the summer). Withdrawn in 2005 following a business review.
- P&O Irish Sea to Rosslare (up to 3 sailings weekly) and Dublin (weekends only during the summer). Dublin serice withdrawn in 2004 and Rosslare service sold top Celtic Link.
- HD Ferries to Guernsey and Jersey. Operated in 2007 but cancelled in 2008 due to lack of customers.
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.
Confederate States of America warship CSS Alabama
In November 1984, the French Navy mine hunter
under nearly 60 m (200 ft) of water off Cherbourg
. The location of the wreck (WGS84) was 49°45'147N / 001°41'708W. Captain Max Guerout later confirmed the wreck to be of the Confederate States of America warship CSS Alabama
The nearest airport is in Maupertus-sur-Mer which is named Cherbourg Maupertus (IATA code: CER, IACO code: LFRC).