The Region

Going out to sea

To get a taste of life at sea, come aboard one of the traditional sailing boats often seen in the Brest estuary. Go on a trip on a fishing boat in search of tuna. Or if you’re someone who likes to take the helm then let yourself be tempted by one of the many nautic sports offered in Finistere.

The Brest estuary is one of the most beautiful in Europe. Particularly stunning is the ‘half island’ of Crozon. With its heather and bracken leading to cliffs overlooking emerald seas, it epitomises the savage beauty of the Breton countryside.

Taking a trip out over the waves or hugging the coastline, which do you fancy ? For those who appreciate a invigorating swim there are also lots of inviting beaches, nothing like it ! Particularly if it’s followed by a dip into one of the many cafés and restaurants dotted along the coast. The ports of Tinduff, Petit Minou, and Plougastel are just waiting for you…

Country walks round Brest

The region of Brest is naturally endowed with a soft ocean climate which favours a rich variety of plants and flowers. Nature-lovers are in their element here as you stroll along the cliff paths pausing to gaze out at one of the many natural promontories that this coastline offers. There are 24 possible hikes available in the Brest area, ranging from 2 Kms to 28 Kms. Something for everyone.

The History of Brest

For amateur historians Brest is a jewel as time has left its mark on every corner of the city. From the constructions of Vauban right up the destruction wrought in the second world war, every building in this city is a witness to the ravages of the passage of time.

The castle of Brest was built in the third century AD and nowadays houses the national museum of the French navy and the maritime history of the city.

1631 was the year in which the all powerful Cardinal Richelieu had the military and naval installation known as the ‘Arsenal of Brest’ built. In this painting by Nicolas van Blarenberghe we can see ships being loaded in the Arsenal of Brest to go and fight in the American civil war on the side of the Republicans.

During the Second World War, Brest was the scene of a veritable siege as the allies advanced inland from their positions on the Normandy beaches. Today you can still visit a famous bomb shelter in Brest known as the “Abri Sadi-Carnot” where hundreds of people tragically perished in an accidental explosion.

Today Brest is the second most important naval port in France. Renamed ‘Brest metropole Oceane’ it continues to develop an economy inextricably linked to the sea and its maritime history.