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 in France. Its Old Town, immediately west of the quayside, is 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.

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