Cherbourg

A picturesque Old Town 
The Basilique de la Trinité
The Plage Verte, a former beach

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Cherbourg/Mont Saint Michel

A labyrinth of alleyways

Though its heyday as a transatlantic passenger port is now long gone, the sizeable town of Cherbourg, at the northern tip of the Cotentin peninsula, makes an appealing point of arrival on your MSC cruise to France.
 
A shore excursion on your MSC Northern Europe cruise can be the opportunity to discover Cherbourg’s Old Town, immediately west of the quayside, an intriguing maze of pedestrian alleys that abounds in shops and restaurants.

The tempting array of small shops and boutiques clustered around the place Centrale includes a place to buy the city’s most famous product, the genuine Cherbourg umbrella, at 30 rue des Portes, while the excellent Thursday market is held on and off rue des Halles, near the majestic theatre with its belle époque facade. A pleasant stroll north of the commercial zone leads to the Basilique de la Trinité and the former town beach, now grassed over to form the Plage Vert.

Beyond Cherbourg, the peninsula’s major port, on the indented northern headland little ports such as Barfleur and St-Vaast presage the rocky Breton coast, while La Hague to the west offers a handsome array of heather-clad cliffs and a stone-wall-divided patchwork of fields.

The pleasant harbour village of Barfleur, 25km east of Cherbourg, was the biggest port in Normandy seven centuries ago. Its population having dwindled along with its fortunes, it’s now a surprisingly low-key place, where the sweeping crescent of the picturesque grey-granite quayside sees little tourist activity.

Pretty St-Vaast-La-Hougue, 11km south of Barfleur, is a relaxed resort that comes alive in summer. Countless tiny Channel-crossing yachts moor in the bay where Edward III landed on his way to Crécy, overlooked by a string of fortifications that date from Vauban’s time.

Must see places in Cherbourg

  • The fishing port of Barfleur

    The fishing port of Barfleur

  • Mont st. Michel

    Mont st. Michel

  • Normandy landscape

    Normandy landscape

Discover our excursions

4 results found

  • CAP LA HAGUE

    CHE03

    Ideal for nature-lovers, this excursion takes place in the rugged countryside west of Cherbourg. We will drive along the scenic coast road passing by Urville-Nacqueville, a popular resort that became fashionable in the XIX century. Your first photo stop will be at Omonville-La Rogue, a charming fishing village with a yachting harbour dominated by an XVIII century fort. Next stop will be Port Racine, the smallest port in France. Following the coast road, we will reach Cape La Hague-Goury, famous for its lifeboats stations. The excursion continues via the wild and picturesque “Baie d’Ecalgrain” along to “Nez de Jobourg” for breathtaking views of the coastline and the cliffs tops. Return to Cherbourg for a walking tour through the pedestrian streets, the former market and for a visit to the Sainte Trinité Basilica. Return to the port. Please note: limited number of seats and of guides in languages other than French. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in French only. A helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$85.00Price per person

    • Children$59.00Price per person

  • THE SAIRE VALLEY

    CHE02

    Leave the port and reach the eastern point of the Cotentin region by travelling through the lovely French Normandy farming landscape. We will arrive at Saint Vaast, a famous oyster-breeding centre, located in front of Tatihou Island. Continue to Barfleur, a charming fishing port with ancient grey, granite houses and quiet narrow streets. Free time to stroll around or enjoy a drink (not included) in the pretty harbour-side cafés. We will then continue to the Gatteville Lighthouse, the second tallest in France at 75 metres, with 365 steps and 52 windows; the first point of contact for any ship wishing to enter Le Havre harbour. Return to Cherbourg for a sightseeing tour before returning to the port. Please note: limited number of guides in languages other than French. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in French only. A helper to get on/off the coach must accompany wheelchair guests. Wheelchairs must be foldable, as the coach has no ramps or lifts. Once onboard, please contact Excursions Desk staff promptly so they can help make arrangements.
    • Limited seats

    • May involve inclines, steps, uneven surfaces and/or extended periods of standing

      Difficulty Level
      Moderate

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$85.00Price per person

    • Children$59.00Price per person

  • SAINTE-MÈRE-ÉGLISE & UTAH BEACH

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    CHE08

    Situated in the middle of Normandy’s livestock rearing area, the little French town of Sainte-Mère-Église made history as the place where US troops landed in June 1944 to fight the battle to liberate France from German occupation. A relaxing 45-minute coach ride will first see you reach this historic site, followed by a guided tour of the town. Key landmarks include Milestone Zero, which sits in front of the town hall and symbolises the start of the road to freedom, as well as the modern stained glass window depicting an American parachute drop that graces the town church. You’ll then move on by coach again to the tiny village of Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, another of the battle grounds of 6 June 1944, then onwards to reach the troops’ actual landing site at Utah Beach for a photo stop and finally on to the Crisbecq Battery that once played a part in Germany’s Atlantic Wall coastal fortifications. After an outside look at the battery, you’ll begin your return journey to Cherbourg and your ship. Please note: limited number of seats and of guides in languages other than French. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in French only. This tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair. Conservative attire recommended for visiting sites of religious importance.
    • Limited seats

    • Duration
      4 h

    • Adults$119.00Price per person

    • Children$89.00Price per person

  • WWII MEMORIAL TOUR

    CULTURE AND HISTORY

    CHE07

    Peeling back the layers of time on this history-based tour will, at least metaphorically, take you to the battle to liberate Europe from Nazi oppression at the Normandy Beaches, whose now benign sands once obscured lethal landmines and other deadly devices. The outing begins with a 75-minute drive to Cotentin to pay a visit and tribute to the moving American Cemetery and Memorial. Your visit will include a look at the memorial statues, the reflecting pool, the Walls of the Missing and the graves of more than 9,300 soldiers. Moving on, you’ll then reach Omaha Beach, the battle ground where allied victory was achieved. Take a moment here to ponder and take some photos before you head for your next stop, the Pointe du Hoc promontory. A guided visit of the site will provide you with details of the battle fought all those years ago, after which you’ll begin the relaxing journey back to Cherbourg and your ship. Please note: limited number of seats and of guides in languages other than French. Should a tour guide for your language be unavailable, the tour will be in French only. This tour is not suitable for guests with walking difficulties or using a wheelchair.
    • Limited seats

    • Duration
      5 h

    • Adults$122.00Price per person

    • Children$89.00Price per person

The excursions in the program above are intended to provide MSC Guests with an idea of the different tours that can be arranged in each port of call; this program is merely a guide and confirmation of each excursion and its description and prices will be made during your cruise.
Shore excursions programs and itineraries may vary depending on local conditions and/or any unforeseen events in relation to the timing on the day of the tour.

 

Some excursions are very popular and therefore availability cannot always be guaranteed, it is advisable to book in advance to avoid disappointment. The guides are guaranteed in English. Only for South America cruises, the guides are guaranteed in Brazilian Portuguese. Narration in other languages depends on the availability of guides. Please note that the final language of the tour will be confirmed on board during the cruise.

France

The Atlantic breeze
The Atlantic breeze

Each quintessentially French yet cherishing its own unique identity, Brittany and Normandy rank among the most intriguing and distinctive regions of France.


Visitors can explore either or both on an MSC Northern Europe cruise, offering a wonderful opportunity to experience the best the country has to offer: sheltered white-sand beaches and wild rugged coastlines; mighty medieval fortresses and mysterious megaliths; graceful Gothic cathedrals and breathtaking contemporary architecture; heathland studded with wildflowers and deep ancient forests. Best of all, perhaps, there’s the compelling and exuberant cuisine, from the seafood extravaganzas in countless little ports to the rich pungent cheeses of rural Normandy.

A cruise to Normandy will take you to its prized large-scale ports: Rouen, Dieppe, Cherbourg and Le Havre. Inland, it is a wonderfully fertile belt of tranquil pastureland, where most visitors head straight for the restaurants of the Pays d’Auge and the Suisse Normande. While the pleasures of Normandy are perhaps less intense than those of Brittany, it too has its fair share of beaches, ranging from the shelving shingle of pretty Étretat to the vast sandy swathes that line the western Cotentin peninsula.  

 
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