Cherbourg is one of France’s great Channel ports and a cornerstone of French naval history. Among the sites you may visit is the famed Cité de la Mer, a spacious Art Deco Gare Maritime building where ocean liner passengers embarked and disembarked – including those of the Titanic. Tour Muséum Emmanuel Liais, which is set in a picturesque public garden and offers wide-ranging displays of archaeology and ethnography, including Ancient Egyptian works. You may also visit Musée Thomas Henry featuring Henry’s prized collection who a native of Cherbourg and became a leading art expert at the Louvre.

Port: Cherbourg
Experience

Cherbourg

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  • Val de Saire

    Explore several of the most picturesque villages in the Saire Valley, a bucolic region on the tip of the Cotentin Peninsula known for fishing, oyster farming and agriculture.

    Traveling east from the pier, it's a picturesque drive to the fertile Saire Valley, a beautiful region with more than thirty quaint villages, many of them dating back to the Middle Ages. After approximately 75-minutes, you'll arrive in Barfleur, a lovely fishing village from which William the Conqueror departed to invade England in 1066. There's a plaque in the harbor commemorating the event.

    Indeed, much of the activity in Barfleur still revolves around its harbor, where fishing boats arrive daily laden with oysters, lobsters and shrimp. Barfleur is also recognized for having France's oldest national lifeboat station, and since 1865 countless sailors in distress have been rescued from the surrounding waters.

    Next, you'll drive to Saint Vaast la Hougue, a spectacularly scenic village dominated by a seaside fortress. It was designed in the 17th century by Marquis de Vauban, King Louis XIV's military engineer, as one in a chain of fortifications meant to protect France's border. Although rebuilt after the Battle of La Hougue in 1692, the fortress admirably served its purpose for years. Like Barfleur, Saint Vaast la Hougue is also renowned for its oysters, which have a sharp, briny and somewhat nutty taste. After touring the city, you'll drive back to the pier in Cherbourg.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 1-hour of moderate walking. There will be some uneven surfaces and a few steps to negotiate. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Shops are closed on Sundays.

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  • Discover Cap de La Hague

    Venture into Cap de la Hague, a wildly beautiful peninsula that has retained its traditional way of life, best expressed in the villages you'll see along the way.

    Depart from the pier and drive west toward La Hague, a wonderfully scenic region on the tip of the Cotenin peninsula. The landscape here is incredibly diverse and features steep granite cliffs, hidden coves, leafy green valleys and small, well-tended fields. While sparsely populated, the peninsula is dotted with traditional villages, three of which you'll visit.

    Approaching diminutive Port Racine, you may see goats and cows grazing the cliff-top pastures along the wild coastline. The port is officially the smallest in France and is immensely picturesque with its stone houses, seaside cafés and colorful fishing boats bobbing in the harbor. Following a stop here, you'll next make your way to nearby Goury which is equally charming and known for its towering off-shore lighthouse and beautiful crescent-shaped beach. Being relatively isolated, Goury is a rare treat not often seen by travelers.

    Continuing on, you'll drive to Nez de Jobourg, a remote village located in perhaps the oldest geological portion of the peninsula, which dates back to the Pre-Cambrian Era. The surrounding cliffs are among the highest in Europe and, if the day is clear, you may be able to spot the Channel Islands in the distance. The area is also well regarded as a sanctuary for birds such as gulls, cormorants and fulmars, which nest in large colonies on the rock cliffs. Full of vivid images of this enchanting peninsula, you'll enjoy a leisurely drive back to the pier in Cherbourg.

    Please note: There is limited walking on this tour, mainly at the guests' discretion during the stops. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended.

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  • Sainte Mer Eglise and Utah Beach

    Explore several World War II landmarks, including the first village liberated by the Allied troops during the D-Day invasion and an artillery battery built by the Germans.

    It's a scenic one hour drive south from the pier toward Sainte-Mère-Eglise, a charming village in the French countryside once known primarily for its livestock. Sainte-Mère-Eglise forever gained notoriety on the evening of June 5, 1944, when American troops from the 82nd Airborne Division parachuted in and liberated the village from German occupation. During your guided tour, you'll see where much of the fighting took place. Other highlights include a church with a stained glass window (an inside visit is only possible if there are no scheduled religious ceremonies or events taking place), commemorating the paratroopers and the O Milestone, marking Sainte-Mère-Eglise as the first village to be liberated during the D-Day invasion.

    Continuing on, you'll drive through Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, a village near where the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment landed on June 6, 1944, before making its way to Utah Beach, the code name for the westernmost of the Allied landing beaches. You'll see the shoreline where more than 20,000 troops landed on D-Day, including Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., and J.D. Salinger, who would later become a renowned American author.

    Next, while approaching the village of Saint-Marcouf, you'll stop at the Crisbecq artillery battery, which was part of Germany's Atlantic Wall coastal fortifications. Guns from this battery sunk the U.S. destroyer Corry during the D-Day invasion. While visiting, you'll see the remains of the battery and monuments to the soldiers who fought here. Afterwards, you'll drive back to the pier in Cherbourg.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of moderate walking/standing. There will be some uneven surfaces and a few steps to negotiate. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Shops are closed on Sundays.

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  • Explore Cherbourg On Foot

    Of all the ways to experience Cherbourg, walking through the historic downtown provides the most intimate perspective to absorb the wonders of this French seaside city.

    Your leisurely walking tour begins at the pier and then heads toward the city center of Cherbourg, a charming town on a wide sheltered bay at the mouth of the diminutive Divette River. One of its most distinguishing characteristics is the massive breakwater that was begun in 1776 under the rule of Louis XVI. The project was continued by Napoleon Bonaparte, and a beautiful statue of the French emperor on horseback graces the city center. Once completed in the mid-19th century, the breakwater turned Cherbourg into a major commercial and military port, which it still is today.

    As the fourth largest town in the province of Normandy, Cherbourg has played an important role throughout history and its architecture reflects how the city has changed over the years. During your walk, you'll pass many important landmarks, such as the Holy Trinity church, which was built in a flamboyant Gothic style between the 14th and 15th centuries. Following your guided walking tour, you'll have some free time to further explore on your own and you may wish to spend some time at La Cité de la Mer, a marine complex that shows how man has tried to conquer the underwater world and underscores Cherbourg's connection to the sea.

    Afterwards, feel free to either join your guide for the walk back to the pier, or remain in town to do some shopping, returning to the ship at your leisure.

    Please note: This tour includes nearly 3-hours of moderate walking, plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during free time. There will be some uneven surfaces and steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Guests should be in good physical condition. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Most shops in Cherbourg are closed on Sundays.

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  • Dday Landing Beaches

    Spend the day visiting several of the most significant and moving sites that commemorate the D-Day invasion in Normandy.

    It's a scenic two-hour drive southeast from Cherbourg to the seaside village of Arromaches. It was here, following the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, that the Allied forces built the ingenious Mulberry Harbors. These floating piers and roadways served as artificial harbors, allowing supplies to be safely unloaded for the ground troops. That way, they didn't have to use existing ports that were heavily defended by the Germans. You'll tour a museum located where the remains of one of the harbors can still be seen. Exhibits include models of the landing operations, an enlightening film and military vehicles.

    Then, following lunch on your own, you'll drive to Colleville Saint Laurent to visit the cemetery above Omaha Beach. This is the final resting place of nearly 9,400 soldiers who died during the Normandy campaign. Walking amongst the sea of marble crosses and Stars of David is a deeply moving experience. You'll also see a memorial inscribed with the names of another 1,557 American soldiers missing during the D-Day invasion.

    Following your time at the cemetery, you'll have a brief stop at Omaha beach before continuing on to Pointe du Hoc. Here, American soldiers used rope ladders to scale a 100-foot cliff during D-Day and disarmed the German artillery that would have fired on the troops landing at Omaha Beach. A simple granite pylon monument marks the spot. Afterwards, relax and enjoy the picturesque drive back to the pier in Cherbourg.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 3-hours of moderate walking, plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during free time. There will be some uneven surfaces and a few steps to negotiate. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach, and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Shops are closed on Sundays.

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  • Bayeux & the Bayeux Tapestry

    Travel to Bayeux to behold what is perhaps the world's most famous tapestry, an 11th-century work of art depicting the Norman Conquest. It once hung in the Bayeux cathedral, which you'll also see.

    From the pier, you'll enjoy a scenic ninety minute drive inland to Bayeux, a lovely town of cobblestone streets, beautiful architecture and historic landmarks. Although under siege repeatedly over the centuries, Bayeux was spared from destruction during World War II in spite of its close proximity to the D-Day invasion. Still, Bayeux is best known for its namesake tapestry on display in the Museum of Tapestry.

    A priceless work of art from the Middle Ages, the tapestry is a 231-foot, seamless band of linen embroidered with more than 70 scenes depicting the Norman Conquest. Eight colors of woolen thread were used to create the scenes, which are identified with Latin inscriptions. Be sure to notice the borders; they're decorated with figures of animals from Aesop's fables. The tapestry was embroidered no later than 1092 and is considered by most to be the most famous one in the world.

    After viewing the Bayeux Tapestry, you'll have some free time for lunch on your own, before rejoining your guide and walking to the town's cathedral. Consecrated in 1077 and originally built in Romanesque in style, the cathedral now bears several additions from the Gothic 13th century. As you'll see, the inside is stunning, and you can almost picture the Bayeux Tapestry decorating the church's nave, which was done once a year in the late 1400s (an inside visit is only possible if there are no scheduled religious ceremonies or events taking place). Afterwards, you'll re-board your coach and make the return drive to the pier in Cherbourg.

    Please note: This tour includes approximately 2-hours of moderate walking/standing, plus any additional walking at the guests' discretion during free time. There will be some uneven surfaces and steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Shops in Bayeux are closed on Sundays.

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  • Mont St Michel At Leisure

    Visit one of the most visually iconic places in France, the islet of Mont Saint Michel, which is world renowned for its medieval town and namesake abbey.

    Depart from the pier and drive due south to Mont Saint Michel, a rocky, cone-shaped islet in the Gulf of Saint-Malo. While it takes 2.5 hours to get there, seeing this "Wonder of the Western World" is definitely worth the time. The picturesque islet measures just a third of a square mile and is connected to the mainland by a thin land bridge. While fortified through the centuries, the islet is also protected by some of the most volatile tides in Europe, which French author Victor Hugo, described as shifting "as swiftly as a galloping horse."

    Mont Saint Michel is an amazing place and recognized as such by being deemed a UNESCO World Heritage site. While here, you're free to do as you please for over two hours. View the namesake abbey (access is not included with this tour), which is dedicated to the archangel Saint-Michel. Learn about the unusual tides and marine ecosystem at the Maritime Museum. Browse the collection of ancient weapons and artifacts at the Grévin Museum. Discover how the locals lived in medieval times at Tiphaine's house, which was built in 1365 and is decorated with period furnishings. Stroll the Grand Rue, the narrow main street lined with shops carrying items such as earthenware, handmade jewelry and fresh-baked pastries. Lunch is on your own and there are several charming cafés to be found here as well.

    Rejoining your guide at the appointed place and time, you'll make your way back to the coach and travel back to the pier in Cherbourg. Those who are not on time for the return transfer will be responsible for making their own way back to the ship, at their own expense.

    Please note: Most walking on this tour is at the guests' discretion in Mont Saint Michel; however, walking is considered strenuous and includes negotiating uneven surfaces and steps. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests or those with mobility concerns. Guests should be in good physical condition. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Shops may be closed on Sundays.

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