Cherbourg and the Cotentin Peninsula
Historically referring to itself as an island due to the wintertime inaccessibility of the marshy landscape, the Cotentin Peninsula has been moulded by the various historic people groups that have inhabited it over the years, especially the Romans and the Vikings, the influence of which can still be seen in many of the place names.
Alexis de Tocqueville, the famous renaissance political thinker, retired to the area around Cherbourg, and it was here that he composed the majority of his political work. Later, the Peninsula was a key location in the Battle for Normandy, the Allied campaign after D-Day to liberate France and later the rest of Europe from German occupation.
The region also has a rich cultural heritage, still showing traces of its own Norman language and literary roots.
Places to go
For the tourist interested in history, the Peninsula is a treasure trove of memorials to the D Day landings and many mass graves in honour of the sacrifice paid by the Allied troops. There are also many historic farms and manors around the Peninsula.
For those interested in natural beauty, the Peninsula's coast line has many small islands and the area's debt to the sea is recognised and celebrated in the "City of the Sea" museum, featuring a submarine and a sea-life centre alongside many other exhibits. For children, the famous 5 Seasons' Farm makes a great day out.
At the base of the Peninsula is the famous island of Mont Saint-Michel, a commune and religious site dating from prehistoric times, accessible by a causeway.
Food and drink
High on the list of things to experience when it comes to eating in Cotentin is the House of Biscuits, which offers 12 varieties of specialist biscuits alongside a guided tour and a demonstration of biscuit making history.
Ferries to Bruges
- Brittany Ferries - Poole to Cherbourg
- Brittany Ferries - Portsmouth to Cherbourg
- Celtic Link - Rosslare to Cherbourg
- Condor Ferries - Portsmouth to Cherbourg
- Irish Ferries - Rosslare to Cherbourg
The Cotentin Peninsula is well served by a network of toll-paying motorways and free dual carriageways, allowing for easy and stress-free access to all parts of the region.
Cars aren't the only way of getting around. The region is also well served by train networks. TGV trains go between the main cities whilst smaller towns are served by local trains and coaches. Prices are low and the journeys are quick, clean and efficient.