Sitting at the top of the Cotentin peninsula and once tussled over by the English and French, Cherbourg became a focus of the Normandy landings in 1944 when it was successfully captured from the Nazis by Allied troops. Cherbourg-en-Cotentin is a Maritime prefecture and sub-prefecture of la Manche, the second in the region after Caen. One important factor concerning Cherbourg is that it was not bombed as heavily as were Caen and Le Havre. The result of this was that Cherbourg was able to keep its pre-war French ambiance, and retain a few Art Deco buildings.
Cherbourg Art Deco Building 1: Ratti Building
The four-storey Ratti Building, or Magasin de commerce Ratti, stands at the corner of the Rue Gambetta and the Rue des Portes in central Cherbourg. This is an early Art Deco building, its construction completed in 1920. René Paul Emile Levavasseur was the architect, who later designed the Gare Maritime de Cherbourg, known in English as the Transatlantic Terminal Building, completed in 1933. The Ratti Building’s corner elevation is topped by a lantern, and the letters spelling out the name are composed of gold mosaics and surrounded by flowers.
Cherbourg Art Deco Building 2: Old Fish Market
On the Quai de Caligny is the old fish market of Cherbourg, seen here boarded up. It is a long, narrow building with Art Deco curves at either end. Another period feature is the porthole windows, appropriate on a seaside building that mimics a boat, complete with an upper deck.
Cherbourg Art Deco Building 3: House
This four storey house, located in the city centre, has a narrow street entry door, and a wonderful octagonal window just above it. Surrounding the octagon are roses, and there is also a band of flowers just below the roofline. There is a mosaic immediately below the first floor window bay, also with flowers, to provide a little colour.
Cherbourg Art Deco Building 4: Commercial Building
A commercial building from the later Art Deco period in central Cherbourg. It has an undecorated and rectilinear façade.
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