The port city of Cherbourg, France, lies on the coast of Normandy. You can spend the day exploring the city with its variety of churches, museums and shops, or choose to make the trip to famous Norman sites in the surrounding area.

Three UNESCO World Heritage sites are within a short train ride from Cherbourg: the Mont-St.-Michel, Bayeux Tapestry and Vauban Tower at Saint-Vaast La Hougue.

Like many Norman cities, Cherbourg has a Viking past: In the ninth century, the Vikings developed Cherbourg into the important port it remains today. The port is one of the city's main draws; it's no surprise that one of the most visited attractions in Cherbourg is the Cite de la Mer, a large maritime museum.

While in Cherbourg, you can also visit the local botanical gardens, the Thomas Henry fine-arts museum and the Cherbourg basilica. This church, one of many in Cherbourg, is indicative of the name of the city: Cherbourg is a word that comes from Old English, meaning "village of the church."

As of 2000, Cherbourg was combined with Octeville, making it a far larger city. It is located on the Cotentin peninsula, which is also home to several other notable sites, including Port Bail, Barfleur and Nez de Jobourg.

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