Lauthentic France

Belfort

Located on the tip of the French region of Brittany, Brest has been one of the key cities in countless numbers of battles and is currently home to one of France’s three naval bases. Take a tour and discover a city that is known for its breathtaking landscapes and scenic coastal areas. Take a boat ride to the nearby seahorse-shaped islands of Ouessant and Molene for an unforgettable experience.

Information

 

Shops are open Monday-Saturday from 09.00 or 09.30 to 19.00 in high season and 09.00 or 09.30 to 18.00 at other times. Shops are generally closed on Sundays.

The City
A sea city that can trace its roots back to the 3rd century when Romans first built a stronghold here. Brest has a lively, nautical character and breathes a leisurely air. Located right by the water in the Bay of Brest, the city offers much for the visitor to see. Its most impressive landmark is the Castle of Brest, which was built for the Earls of Leon and later purchased by the Duke of Brittany in the 13th century. It stands proudly where numerous battles have been fought throughout France’s naval history. At one time, there were around 80 warships in its waters. Later, during the First World War, Brest was used as a landing base for American soldiers, but the Second World War left the city in ruins through constant bombing.
Old Town
The city has since been completely rebuilt, with a naval museum inside the castle telling the story of its turbulent past. Living up to the title of European capital of marine science and technology, museums such as the National Maritime Museum and Océanopolis in Brest will grant you insight into the sea and marine life with fascinating displays and interactive activities. With a full calendar of events offering the visitor entertainment year-round, any time is good to come and explore this city of history and nautical beauty.
Do & See
Brest's longstanding link with the sea is the theme running through most of its visitor attractions. Visit the Brest Fort containing the excellent Navy Museum to learn more about the city's maritime past and present, stop by the famous Océanopolis aquarium to marvel at mysterious underwater creatures, or simply take a boat ride along the coastline to breathe the fresh sea breeze and catch the spirit of this historic city.
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Discover Brest

For a snack, head for any one of the city’s many crêperies – these seem like the obvious choice when in the province of Brittany. Crêpes come in many delicious varieties – savoury (with cheese, bacon, eggs, mushrooms – and the list goes on) and sweet (with chocolate, cream, fruit, and berries). A good cup of coffee is never too far away in Brest. Do note the working hours – many establishments close for an afternoon break.

Castle of Brest


Once owned by Richard II of England, the castle is the city’s foremost landmark and oldest monument. The structure boasts more than 1,700 years of history and still serves as a military fortress today. The Navy Museum inside is certainly not to be missed.

Océanopolis

 

One of the largest Ocean Discovery Parks in Europe, the Océanopolis has four pavilions – polar, temperate, tropical and biodiversity – that tell the story of the sea and marine life in different world climates. The park contains an impressive 7 shark species.

Naval Museum

 

This is a branch of the Naval Museum of Paris, home to an impressive collection of model replica ships from French fleets and paintings with nautical themes. Free audio guides are available. From the museum, some of the best views over the city unfold.certainly not to be missed.

The Tanguy Tower

 

A must-see attraction – the Tanguy Tower – houses a collection of various exhibits including artefacts and maps that recount the history of Brest. The tower itself is a medieval structure dating back to the 14th century (however, its true origins remain unknown).

The Montbarey Memorial

A must-see attraction – the Tanguy Tower – houses a collection of various exhibits including artefacts and maps that recount the history of Brest. The tower itself is a medieval structure dating back to the 14th century (however, its true origins remain unknown).

The National Botanical Reserve of Brest

The National Botanical Reserve of Brest contains around 1,700 endangered species of plants, which are all grown and cultivated in the reserve’s greenhouses. It is dedicated to the protection and growth of endangered species from around the world. The lush premises are open to visitors.

Recouvrance, Lambézellec, Saint-marc and Saint-pierre Quilbignon

These are four pretty suburbs of Brest that offer open areas for relaxing walks, along with fine restaurants. They are ideal places to go to for short excursions. Explore the city’s main neighbourhoods, and stop in one of the quintessentially French cafes for lunch or dinner.

Museum of Fine Arts

The Museum of Fine Art houses over 10,000 works of art, including many notable pieces, which were acquired after the building was rebuilt post-war. A curious initiative of the museum is the so-called “artothèque” – a library of art pieces, which locals are free to borrow for a short period of time.

Parc de la Penfeld

 

This is a lovely park located on the banks of Penfeld river in Brest. It is a great place to come for a walk (if the weather allows). There are children’s playgrounds on premises, and plenty of great spots for a picnic. The park is also ideal for a jog.

Cours Dajot

 

The tree-lined promenade of Cours Dajot is a perfect location for long walks with loved ones. Beautiful vies of the harbour unfold from here, and many restaurants in the vicinity offer great seafood and are especially known for crabs. One end of the promenade is marked by a medieval castle.

Abri Sadi Carnot

 

Abri Sadi Carnot is a powerful and sobering memorial of great heroism in the face of devastating tragedy during the Second World War. The tunnel was used as a hideout by civilians when it was hit by a bomb, leaving hundreds of people trapped. The monument is guaranteed to stir up emotion.

Square Mathon

 

Square Mathon is for those who are interested in taking a glimpse into the past. The square is where some of the remaining pieces of the old Brest city wall and the ancient gate are contained; there is also a stone-carved map that shows the city the way it once was.

Laser Game

 

Those interested in active pursuits will be pleased to discover that Brest has something to offer in the indoor game department. This family-friendly entertainment venue is a great place to play exhilarating games, which both kids and adults will find exciting.

Biscuiterie Terre d’Embruns

A wonderful activity for the whole family, a tour of the Terre d’Embruns biscuit factory offers visitors an insight into the production process of pastries and cookies, allowing guests to follow the process every step of the way. At the end of the tour, a sampling is possible in the on-site cafe.

Phare du Petit Minou

About 15 kilometers westward along the coastline from Brest is the scenic lighthouse Phare du Petit Minou. The structure itself is, unfortunately, no longer open to the public, but the premises are free to be explored, along with the nearby fort and bunker.

Amour de Pomme de Terre

It’s all about the humble potato at this tellingly named restaurant – the root vegetable comes in many delicious varieties, all within the course of the same meal. Potatoes are certainly the star of the show in the restaurant with a classy, yet very homely feel.

Aux Vieux Gréements

 

Aux Vieux Gréements is an attractive restaurant seating around 60 people. The restaurant serves delicious seafood and fish dishes.

Le Nautilus

 

Le Nautilus is an elegant restaurant at the Oceania hotel. It offers a menu with flavours from around the world, dishes are varied with an emphasis on meat and seafood. The kitchen makes good use of locally-sourced ingredients and a fine wine list is available to guests.

Le Ruffé

 

Lovers of fish and seafood will be spoilt for choice at the well-regarded Le Ruffé. The menu is concise, yet packs a punch with the interesting selection. To try several exquisite dishes, sample the “formule” menu consisting of elegantly presented meat and seafood creations.

Le Tour du Monde

 

Visitors should not leave Brest without tasting the local mussels, and the waterfront Tour du Monde is a good restaurant to give the local specialty a try. Mussels are the signature dish of the house, but the spot is perfect for trying some excellent fish and chips as well.

Restaurant Bar Atlantide

 

L’Atlantide is a cosy and attractive, nautical restaurant is conveniently situated in the centre of Brest at the Hotel Center. They specialise in fish and seafood. Fixed lunch and dinner menus are available, as well as an a la carte selection of dishes.

L’atelier Gourmand

 

L’atelier Gourmand is a cosy, quintessentially French bistro with a lively atmosphere of a busy eatery (especially during lunch hours). Set menus are offered along with a la carte dining. Special emphasis is laid on dish presentation, which completes the dining experience.

Le M

 

Le M serves great European (with an emphasis on French) food, beautifully presented and full of flavour – as might be well-expected from a Michelin-starred establishment. The restaurant occupies an authentic old house. The prices are high and reservations essential.

Ristorante Del Arte

 

If you are really craving a pizza or any other Italian food, you have come to the right place. Ristorante Del Arte serves delicious Italian cuisine and is the right place to go to for both lunch and dinner. Pizza is the specialty, but other Italian classics such as risotto and pasta are offered here, too.

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