Safe in its harbour, a town that looks to the future
Forget everything you thought you knew about Brest, and come and explore the heart of this naval port, nestled in one of France’s most beautiful natural harbours. On the menu: the amazing Pont de l'Iroise bridge, a stroll along the lively quays as far as the castle museum, and of course Océanopolis. Explore the city on foot, bike, bus, tramway or even from the sky on the first urban cable car!
Brest is Brittany’s second largest administrative centre, and has a great deal to offer. Although it was heavily bombed in 1944, this is by no means the town’s most interesting feature: it has rebuilt itself around a vision of the future, with incredible constructions like the Pont de l'Iroise bridge, which crosses the river Elorn. An amazing feat of architecture, this magnificent cable-stayed bridge was opened in 1994. Admire it from Albert Louppe bridge, which is for pedestrians and cyclists only. It’s a great place to take a walk and enjoy the view of the famous Brest harbour, the ‘Rade de Brest’, a sheltered area of the sea big enough for great ships to lie at anchor.
Take a turn along the quayside
Another key feature of a visit to Brest is its commercial port. One of the best ways of getting a feel for the town’s character is to stroll along the docks at the Quai Commandant-Malbert. You’ll be able to see the hundreds of coloured buoys put in place by Finistere’s Lighthouses and Beacons department, shipyards building wooden boats, the legendary schooner La Recouvrance and the Abeille-Flandres, one of the most powerful tugboats in the world.
Brest, it is also innovative and exemplary projects, such as the “plateau des Capucins” which obtained the Ecodistrict Label in 2009. This site is situated on one of the two banks of the Penfeld, a 16 km long coastal river, and offers an admirable 360° view over the city. At the same time district of business and culture, the city mixes monumental construction sites intended for the shipbuilding and places of art such as the Médiathèque or the Fourneau. Add to it that Brest is very accessible, in particular because it is connected with the other bank of the river by the 1st urban cable car (téléphérique) of France, which offers another incredible view of Brest, this time seen from above.
The only one in Europe
Continue your way along the commercial port’s great breakwater and you will find yourself practically at the foot of the castle and maritime museum. Finally, whatever you do, you mustn’t leave Brest without paying a visit to Océanopolis, the only ocean discovery centre of its kind in Europe. The centre boasts enormous aquariums and a seal clinic – as well as giving visitors the opportunity to touch some of the marine creatures living there!
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