Fort Chavagnac was built from 1854 to 1869 about 2 km northwest of Cherbourg. Along with several other forts and a long harbor wall, Fort Chavagnac defended France's northern naval base at Cherbourg. It has a triangular edifice with rounded edges, designed to cross fire with the western battery on the end of the harbor wall. Swiveling armored dugouts were added to the fort during World War II, and a stone parapet and a breakwater were also added for strength. Like all the main forts that make up the rade, it was concreted at the end of the 19th century and electricity was installed. The fort is now in ruins, and can only be admired from the sea.
Nearby, the digue de Querqueville was built from 1889 to 1896 using numerous blocks of granite from quarries located in Flammanville and Dielette. Weather permitting, the walk on the 1.2 km digue can give the impression of walking water. During World War II, the digue was the terminus for Operation Pluto, which provided France with pipelines of petrol from the UK. Without this important base of operations, the American allies would have had no way of supplying troops with those things (tanks, ammunition, fuel, etc…) needed to push the German army back to Berlin.
On stormy days, especially during the Equinox tides, strong winds help create waves that slam against the digue creating enormous showers of sea-spray. Fortunately, all boats harbored within the rade de Cherbourg are protected from Normandy’s frequent stormy weather.
Fortunate enough to live near Querqueville beach, I have the opportunity to see ships great and small enter Cherbourg. In the summer season (July and August) the beach is crowded with people. Still, there can be cold weather, chilling winds and tides that keep folks away during these months. However, I like taking long, quiet walks along "la plage" any time of the year.