Concarneau has made its living from the fishing industry for hundreds of years and the town remains an important centre: more than 100,000 tonnes of tuna are caught each year by Concarneau-based boats. It’s possible for tourists to visit the fish auction, canneries and also sometimes to assist the deep-sea fishermen to unload their catch. But more adventurous sorts might like to join an organised trip on an old sardine boat to try their own hand.
The ville close is without doubt Concarneau’s most popular tourist attraction. This old stone fortified ‘town’ has just a few narrow streets filled with shops and restaurants, where geraniums tumble from window boxes. Take a walk around the ramparts for spectacular views over the area. Near the entrance to the ville close is the Musée de la Pêche, where visitors can learn all about the fishing industry and visit an old trawler.
Several scenic walks start in Concarneau, such as the pushchair-friendly route through Kérandon wood, but the most pleasant is probably the coastal path from Quai de la Croix, past the splendid villas, to the Sables Blancs beach. Here, in July and August, you’ll find water- and land-based activities to suit adults and kids alike.
A restored manor
On the outskirts of Concarneau is the Château de Keriolet, a fine example of 19th-century Gothic architecture, part of which dates back to the 15th century. Restored to its former glory, the house is now open for guided visits.
One of Brittany’s most colourful and authentic festivals takes place in Concarneau in August: Le Festival des Filets Bleus. This festival of ‘blue nets’ celebrates the town’s fishing industry with traditional music and dancing, sea shanties and a smorgasbord of fishy fare.