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We like to be, under the sea, in an Octopus’s garden – in Cherbourg

If you are passing through Cherbourg from the ferry, carve a few hours out of your day to visit the brilliant Cité de la Mer.  This is also sound advice if you are generally in the area, or you like submarines or love pretty underwater things, are a fan of Titanic, perhaps it’s raining then again maybe it’s really hot. These are just some of the many reasons to visit this excellent Normandy attraction. (No they didn’t pay us to say that, not even the price of a ticket, we just popped in.)

Cité de la Mer has five very different areas to explore: Titanic return to Cherbourg exhibition, Le Redoutable submarine, the Aquarium, Walking the depths virtual animation show and the Great gallery of (underwater) machines.

Our photos are just a taster of what impressed us and miss many wonderful exhibits on show.  We think Cité de la Mer has something for everyone of every age to enjoy.  We also had a very nice lunch and plan to go back.  If you go, do let us know how you get on and tweet us a pic to retweet @normandythennow

Diving turret on the way in
Diving turret on the way in

Grand entrance gallery

Cite de la Mer’s entrance is through the vast transatlantic liner terminal’s great hall.  Here machines large and small give a good idea just how crazy deep sea explorers must be.

Deep Sea Challenger. The huge entrance hall is full of sea diving equipment
Deep Sea Challenger. The huge entrance hall is full of deep sea diving machines

 

Robert Fulton's Nautilus, designed in 1800 - Oh we learnt a lot!
Robert Fulton’s Nautilus, designed in 1800 – Oh we learnt a lot!

 

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Underwater manned bug thing, well we didn’t learn everything.

Le Redoutable nuclear submarine

One of us thought this was Brilliant! The other, Quite Interesting. Make sure you pick up an audio guide and if you are claustrophobic take a deep breath…

Le Redoutable
Le Redoutable

 

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Crewed by 135 men, on 70 day patrols.

 

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Alongside submarine tech like this impenetrable wall of monitors are rooms fitted to carry out medical operations, bunks (that get smaller the lower down the pecking order you are) rec rooms, restaurant etc.

 

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Le Redoutable has torpedoes with a range of 15 km and an Exocet missile capable of reaching a target at 50 km. V Cool.

 

Brass bull horns
Brass bull horns

RMS Titanic, return to Cherbourg

Cherbourg was a stop on the first and last journey for Titanic in 1912, which gives this exhibition unusual authenticity. Very elegant, it is all perhaps a little more style than substance. Good if you haven’t read much about Titanic, with charming tableau and some moving stories.   We would have liked to see a few more mementos, but definitely worth a look around.

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Following in the footsteps of transatlantic passengers through the art deco baggage hall.
Replica of Titanic's post room
Replica of Titanic’s post room

 

We were pleased to spot a few old postarcards
We were pleased to spot a few old postcards!

The aquarium

A beautiful meander through ocean life with myths, legends, environmental info and of course wonderful watery creatures. The largest tank here is an impressive 11 metres deep and home to 1000 tropical fish usually found swimming around a Tahiti atoll.

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The anemones were hypnotic so we made a quick clip!

 

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Stroking the baby Manta Rays is welcomed.

 

This is a laughing octopus, I know that because he was quite disinterested until I fell over and he cheered up hugely. We noticed this lovely octopus has many regular visitors who he seems to recognise. Shockingly he has NO NAME. Time for a campaign, surely.
This is a laughing octopus, I know that because he was quite disinterested until I fell over and he cheered up immensely, going from listless to zoomy in a second. We noticed this superb cephalopod has many regular visitors who he seems to recognise. Shockingly he has NO NAME. Time for a campaign?

We met a charming octopus who has no name, tweet us your naming suggestions @normandythennow and we will start a campaign!

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Spot the sea horse!

Another quick clip from the Cité de la Mer aquarium smudged together with a some free music from YouTube. We’ve had a look around and there are lots of better ones on there, but this is at least very short.

We ran out of time for the ‘Walking in the depths’ virtual animation show. Perhaps next time.

Want to know more? Here is the Cité de la Mer website (English)..

 

One thought on “We like to be, under the sea, in an Octopus’s garden – in Cherbourg

  1. We visited cite de la mer last year. It was fantastic, so we’ll set out and provided a whole days entertainment. We would recommend this experience

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