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History and heritage

CHERBOURG, Yesterday and today

 

As far back as the Gallo-Roman period, Coriallo can be found, mentioned on the table Peutinger, the map of the Roman legions. Under William the Conqueror, the diverse hamlets and farms in the area were incorporated into a new town. At the height of the Anglo-French wars, the city became a veritable fortress.


In 1786, Louis XVI visited the sea defence building works - still one of the most outstanding feats of military engineering in Europe. The events of the French revolution did little to upset local life - there was one small riot and the l’Ile Pelée played host to a small number of political prisoners... but that was it! We know about this and interesting information about 1789 and other periods of local history thanks to the extraordinarily well preserved municipal archives.


Napoléon III visited Cherbourg with the arrival of the railway in 1858. At that time, the Arsenal, where the first French submarines were built, was extensively developed and the workers had transformed the peaceful village of Octeville into a bustling town. After the First World War, Cherbourg benefited greatly from the development of its port and the sharp rise in crossings to the USA. The transatlantic station, a magnificent example of art deco architecture, was opened in 1933 and welcomed the main ocean-going liners.


In 1944, it is true to say that Cherbourg became the most important port in the world: the entire allied war effort passed through its docks. Although the capture of Cherbourg was arduous and bloody, the town suffered relatively little damage - only the port was entirely destroyed. The towns of Cherbourg and Octeville grew rapidly during the post-war boom and eventually merged as a single city in 2000.


In 2002, the Cité de la Mer (city of the sea), a centre to learn about man’s exploration of the world under the sea, opened its doors in the transatlantic station, bringing a new dimension to the town's tourism trade. Today Cherbourg is in the process of a major urban renovation plan which is transforming the City.

As far back as the Gallo-Roman period, Coriallo can be found, mentioned on the table Peutinger, map of the Roman legions. Under William the Conqueror, the diverse hamlets and farms in the area were incorporated as a new town. At the height of the Anglo-French wars, the city became a veritable fortress.

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