The magnificent Maritime railway station in Cherbourg closed in the 1990s and reopened as Cité de la Mer in 2002. It was built on the harbourside in 1933 for rail passengers arriving from Paris to board directly onto transatlantic liners. It also provided offices for shipping companies and a post office. It was designed by the architect René Levavasseur. The main hall is 240m long and 93m wide. The clocktower is 70m high.
Displays fill the glass-roofed hall, while the baggage hall is kept as it was but with video projections on the walls. One exhibition is devoted to the history of the liner Titanic, which boarded 281 passengers at Cherbourg on its fatal first voyage in 1912: artefacts from the wreck are included. One of the principal displays shows mini-submarines used in exploration, and in the dock nearby is the nuclear submarine Redoubtable. Three floors of multimedia displays and aquaria reveal the discovery of the oceans.