Upon entering le jardin public of Cherbourg, one is presented with the monument in memory of those Cherbourgeois who died for France. The somber statue designed by sculptor Descatoire looks down at the wall engraved with hundreds of names. It was inaugurated in 1924.
To the left and right of the garden entrance are two corner houses or pavilions that were built in 1889.
Le jardin public of Cherbourg was founded in 1887 and is located at the foot of Roule Mountain. The garden’s area of 1.7 hectares features pools fed by a mountain spring creating tranquil pools for ducks, swans, a variety of exotic birds, and turtles.
A nearby pool was once inhabited by a large sea-lion perhaps the most popular attraction in the garden. Her name was "Flamboyante" and she was fed twice a day (except Mondays) at 10AM and 4:15PM much to the delight of the Cherbourgoise. After 20 years, the pool is being closed and Flamboyante is moving somewhere where there will be other sea-lions. A local celebrity leaves us.
In 1892, a bust of the local area’s most famous painter Jean-François Millet, adorned with decorative figures, was established in the garden by famous French sculptor Henri-Michel-Antoine Chapu.
Themis and Minerva were the two Greek goddesses of justice and war. The originals were created in the 18th century by French sculptors Philippe Laurent Roland (1746-1816) and Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828) and adorned the façade of the Palais Bourbon. During that building’s restoration, casts replaced the originals.
The originals were then unloaded by the National Assembly and gifted go the city of Cherbourg. Renovations of the statues were made by Peter Brattle in 1989 and were installed in two roundabouts that now carry their names. Since June of 1990 they have been classified as historic monuments.
Carentan’s town hall was constructed between 1644 and 1652 by the Sisters of the Order of Our Lady who opened a convent there. However, in 1792 the nuns left the convent and the building came to serve as a barracks, military quarters, police station, school, police court, library, and finally the municipal offices we see today.
The Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Carentan was built in the 11th century. By the 15th century the English occupied the country and the church was in ruins. Reconstruction began again with endowments from the knight, Guillaume de Cerisay and the dedication took place in 1470.
The stained glass windows that date from the early 16th century were saved from American bombers in 1944 because the old glass had been taken out in 1940 and stored safely in the countryside. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for other parts of the church that were seriously damaged such as the spire, the west door, the choir, the roof and the clock.
The Medieval arcades are an example unique in Normandy of four medieval houses incorporating 10 pillars. They are said to be the remains of a former covered market which in the 14th century is also said to have existed on the south side.
Le Lavoir des Fontaines was built in 1784. It has a shallow sink of bedded stone open to the sky surrounded by a covered gallery of massive square columns dressed of Caen stone. The roof is a wooden structure made completely without nails.
The vast wetland of the Marais de Carentan consists of 27,000 hectares rich in flora and fauna. It is a favorite stop for migrating birds in search of an undisturbed habitat with plenty of food--waders and ducks in winter, storks, herons and cattle egrets in the summer. In 1991 the area became a protected region called the “Parc Naturel Regional des Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin” and is popular with tourists looking to do some bird watching.
Who is now reading this?
Maybe one is now reading this who knows some wrong-doing of my past life,
Or maybe a stranger is reading this who has secretly loved me,
Or maybe one who meets all my grand assumptions and egotisms with derision,
Or maybe one who is puzzled at me.
As if I were not puzzled at myself!
Or as if I never deride myself! (O conscience-struck! O self-convicted!)
Or as if I do not secretly love strangers! (O tenderly, a long time, and never avow it;)
Or as if I did not see, perfectly well, interior in myself, the stuff of wrong-doing,
Or as if it could cease transpiring from me until it must cease.