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Sunday, November 19, 2017
 
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  Brest (year-round) (France)

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Brest, the call of the sea

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Located at the tip of Finistère, Brest is a city that is steadfastly turned towards the sea. From its magnificent harbour, one of the finest in Europe, you can discover the delights of sea air, islands and coastal paths...

In the far west of France, Finistère is something of a "Land's End", its tip reaching out to sea and forming a unique harbour: boat trips, swimming and walks along the rugged natural coastline... Brest and its surroundings are full of surprises.

 

In summer, start with a refreshing swim! Open to the Atlantic, Brest harbour has no shortage of sandy beaches and secret coves, like Moulin Blanc or Pointe du Petit Minou. With a chance to try out water sports: windsurfing, kayaking, kite-surfing...

 

But to really explore the beauty of the harbour, there’s nothing like a boat trip on the trail of Bougainville, La Perouse and other great navigators who set sail from Brest. Meet up at the Commercial Port, where you will embark on a cruise around the harbour, which extends across 180 square kilometres. Further afar, the islands of Ouessant and Molène await you, with walks that take you outside time and space. And all the thrill of sailing!

 

And if you don’t have sea legs, you can choose the Albert-Louppe bridge, for pedestrians and bicycles only. From there you can look out over the harbour from a height of more than 30 meters. To the west, a walk to the Pointe du Diable offers stunning views of the famous Goulet de Brest, 1.8 km wide; an obligatory passage for all ships!

 

Downtown, there are signs of history at every street corner. From Vauban's work to the destruction of the Second World War, the entire architecture of the city is rooted in the events of the past. Begin by visiting Brest Castle, the oldest building in the city. 17 centuries old, it houses the National Maritime Museum, which exhibits all the military history of the city of Brest. After crossing Recouvrance Bridge, inaugurated in 1954, discover the Arsenal, one of the symbols of the city, created by Richelieu in 1631.

 

With steady military and port development over the years, Brest has become a renowned worldwide centre for maritime excellence. European Capital of Science and Technology of the Sea, Brest is also the main port for civil and military ship repairs, the principle marina in Brittany, as well as the port of departure and arrival of the greatest explorers; a maritime influence that is reflected in the cultural effervescence of Brest! With figures like Miossec, Yann Tiersen or Matmatah, Brest is a city where music resonates everywhere: L’Espace Vauban, La Carène, Penfeld Park and of course the Quartz, the famous national auditorium of Brest, are venues that host a wide variety of performers all year round; when it is not a gathering of tall ships being celebrated at a Fest Noz...

So are you ready to embark?

 

 

 

WHAT TO SEE

 

In Brest

Sites et monuments

  • The Castle Marina.
  • Moulin Blanc Port.
  • La Place de la Liberté.
  • The Recouvrance district, the Maison de la Fontaine and the Rue de Saint Malo.
  • Sadi-Carnot shelter, dug out during World War II.
  • Tanguy Tower.
  • The Cours Dajot.

 

Museums

  • Océanopolis, the Ocean Discovery Park.
  • The Museum of Fine Arts.
  • The Strawberry Heritage Museum.
  • Passerelle Contemporary Art Centre.
  • The Cinémathèque de Bretagne.

 

Parks

  • The National Botanical Conservatory (the second largest in Europe).
  • Le Vallon du Stang Alar public gardens.
  • The Costour Valley.
  • The Explorers’ Garden.
  • The Naval Academy Garden.
  • Kerbonne Garden.
  • Eole Park.

 

Nearby

Pays d’Iroise

  • Wonders of the coast from Conquet to Ploudalmézeau.
  • Bertheaume Fort in Plougonvelin, accessible via a footbridge over the waves.

 

Pays des Abers

  • Brignogan beaches.
  • Aber Wrac'h.

 

Pays des Rives d'Armorique

  • Landerneau and its 500 year old inhabited bridge.
  • Tinduff port and Auberlach port in Plougastel-Daoulas.
  • Daoulas Abbey.

 

Crozon peninsula

  • The idyllic villages of Crozon and Camaret and the marked trails of the peninsula.
  • The Pointe du Raz, further south.

 

 

GASTRONOMY IN BREST

 

Seafood

  • Bay of Saint-Brieuc scallops, Guilvinec langoustines, oysters, abalone from the Iroise sea, lobsters, crabs and sea spiders, winkles...

 

Pork products

  • Andouille de Guémené (type of sausage).
  • Molène sausages.
  • Hénaff pâté.

 

Dishes

  • Pancakes.
  • Kig ha Farz: a kind of Breton stew.

 

Desserts

  • Kouign amann, Far Breton, Breton cake and biscuits.
  • Plougastel strawberries.

 

Drinks

  • Cider.
  • Chouchen.
  • Lambig: cider brandy.

 

 

UNMISSABLE EVENTS IN BREST

 

  • January: Astropolis Festival (Festival of Electronic Music).
  • February: Longueurs d’Ondes (“Wavelength” radio festival of Brest).
  • March: Bagad (Breton band) championships, Dansfabrik Festival (contemporary dance).
  • April: Printemps des sonneurs (festival of Breton culture)
  • May-June: Foire aux Croûtes (painting and music event), Grand Prix Ecole Navale sailing event, Band Festival.
  • July: International Maritime festival (every 4 years), Astropolis Festival, Le Temps Bourg festival in Guipavas, Vieilles Charrues music festival (Carhaix), Thursdays at the Port, Kan Al Loar Festival (Landerneau)...
  • August: Festival du Bout du Monde (Crozon), Thursdays at the Port...
  • September: La Déambule, Ilophone Music Festival (Ouessant).
  • October: Atlantic Jazz Festival.
  • November: European Short Film Festival.
    December: No Border Festival.

 

 

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