P&O Portsmouth: fast-ferry Superstar Express operates twice daily from Portsmouth, rising to three times a day from July 22. Crossing time, 2hrs 45mins. Pride of Cherbourg/Pride of Hampshire operate three times a day from Portsmouth. Crossing time, 5hrs.
Brittany Ferries: Barfleur operates twice daily from Poole. Crossing time, 4hrs 15mins.
Cherbourg’s main shopping area is filled with restaurants, revealing that pizzas are clearly one of the favourite foods of the French, along with fish.
One thing failing many restaurants is a reluctance to display their menus. Le Laurent in Rue au Ble looked lovely, as did Le Faitout in Rue Tour Carree, but there were no clues as to what they served and no prices.
Family: La Taverne bar and brasserie, Place de la Republic. Three-course menus from £7-£9.50 featuring steaks, duck and fish; child’s menu, £3.70.
Typically French: La Gargantua, 51 Rue Tour Carree. Salads from £3.40; grilled main dishes from £5-£8; desserts from £2.50.
Speciality: Le Vauban, 22 Quai de Caligny. Seafood restaurant. Six oysters, £4; platter, £14; salmon, £7; three-course menus, £9.50.
The main shopping district is in a small area bounded by the Quai Alexandre and Quai de Caligny. This is the ideal place to look for some French patisseries (Anne and Jean Denis Meslin, Rue Christine; Boulanger/Patissier on the corner of Rue Christine and Place de la Fontaine) and speciality chocolate shops (Joan Lecavelier, Rue du Commerce; Yvard, Place de la Fontaine).
La Cave du Roy (Rue Tour Carree) has a big selection of wine and cheese. For out-of-town wine and beer shopping, the Auchan hypermarket (La Glacerie) is 7mins by car from the centre of town. The Wine and Beer Company (Quai de l’Entrepot) has an outlet in the Continent hypermarket complex near the centre.
Normandie Wine Warehouse (Avenue Carnot), half a mile from the port, offers advice and tasting. Markets, in Place du General de Gaulle, are on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and Wednesday mornings.
Liberation Museum, Fort du Roule: the museum charts life during the German occupation from 1940-45 and liberation. Adults £2; children free.
Sainte Trinite Basilica, Rue de l’Eglise: one of Cherbourg’s most striking buildings, still sporting damage from World War Two. Open daily, free entry.
Bayeux Tapestry, Rue de Nesmond: it tells the story of the preparations for the Norman conquest of England. Adults £4; children £1.60p (free for under 10s).
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