Monday, April 20, 2009

Cherbourg, France - June 10, 2008

Since 2000, Cherbourg has officially been Cherbourg-Octeville, having absorbed Octeville and produced the second largest city (after Caen) in the Basse-Normandie region, with a population of more than 40,000. Prior to the Napoleonic era, Cherbourg had been a comfortable coastal town with a relatively modest natural harbor. Napolean, fearing a British naval incursion, ordered underwater obstructions to be sunk across the harbor entrance which were later fortified with tons of masonry rubble.
Although this work began in a timely manner in 1784, it was not actually completed until 1850, thirty-five years after Napolean got whooped at Waterloo and was sent into exile.
The legacy of Bony's paranoia however, led to Cherbourg's development into a major transatlantic port, elevating it to strategic importance during WWII. The Battle of Cherbourg, fought in June 1944 following the Normandy Invasion, ended with the capture of Cherbourg on June 30, by the Allies. Cherbourg is still home to a French Navy arsenal.
Despite generally negative remarks garnered from various reviews and sundry malcontents, we enjoyed a relaxing afternoon poking around town, checking out the old fortifications on the hill to the south and watching activities in the leisurely harbor.
More pictures here.

No comments: