Cherbourg in northwest France has seen its fair share of battles starting from the 9th century invasion of the Vikings to the D-Day landings. As such one of the excursions to this city includes a fascinating exploration of its World War II heritage, a visit to the American Cemetery and the Caen Memorial that was at the centre of the Battle of Normandy. The city’s military heritage is still evident as it is home to an arsenal of the French navy.
It is however also a typically charming seaside destination with cute shops, restaurants and the odd monument. Visit its Old Town, the sea wall, the Basilique de la Trinite and the 1145 Abbaye du Voeu, a former abbey, then barracks and finally a hospital. You could also take a day trip to the Saire valley.