Cherbourg is a port town at the north end of the Cotentin Peninsula in Lower Normandy, France.
Cherbourg is located near the D-Day beaches where Allied forces landed in 1944 during World War II. The town was liberated by American troops shortly after that.
Cherbourg-en-Cotentin is located at the northern tip of the Cotentin Peninsula, in the department of Manche, of which it is a subprefecture. Cherbourg is situated at the mouth of the Divette (fr) and at the south of the bay between Cap Lévi (fr) to the east and Cap de La Hague to the west, Cherbourg-Octeville is 120 km (75 mi) from the English coast.
Cherbourg and Octeville-sur-Cherbourg once belonged to the deanery of La Hague, delimited by the Divette. In 1786, a part of Equeurdreville joined Cherbourg, during the construction of the port, and then in 1802, a portion of Octeville. Since 1811, the "mielles" [dunes] of Tourlaville, a commune of the deanery of Saire, are integrated into the Cherbourg territory known as the quarter of Val-de-Saire where the Pasteur Hospital (fr) and the Saint-Clement Church were built. Thus, Cherbourg-Octeville lies both in La Hague and in the Val de Saire.
Like all Chantereyne and the area of the Mielles, the Cherbourg territory was reclaimed from the sea. Built at the level of the sea, the town developed at the foot of the Roule mountain (highest point of the old town) and la Fauconnière. Octeville is a former rural municipality, composed of hamlets, whose settlement extended from the 19th century and whose territory is highly urbanized since 1950, especially around the ZUP (fr) of the Provinces and the University campus.
The bordering communes are Tourlaville to the east, Équeurdreville-Hainneville to the west, La Glacerie to the south and southeast, Martinvast to the south, and Nouainville and Sideville to the south-west.
Cherbourg-en-Cotentin has a temperate oceanic climate. Its maritime character causes high humidity (84%) and strong sea wind, commonly stormy but also low seasonal variations of temperature and few days of frost (7.3). The combined effect of the wind and the tides can generate a rapid change of weather in a single day, with sun and rain which can be a few hours apart.
The influence of the Gulf Stream and the mildness of the winter allow the naturalization of many Mediterranean and exotic plants (mimosas, palms, agaves, etc.) which are present in the public and private gardens of the city, despite average insolation. The climate is similar to areas much further north in Britain and Ireland due to extreme moderation. Summers are far cooler than expected by French standards.