Trains to and from Brest Airport (BES)
Brest Airport is one of the French airports that are found in the north-western region of the country, and is of a medium size, with around 900,000 passengers per annum. It is an important gateway for the department of Finistère, and serves the city of Brest, which is located only 10.2km from the airport. Regular flights to many French cities are available from Brest, by the airline companies of Air France, Ryanair, EasyJet and others, and the airport is fully equipped for the needs of its passengers. Various transport options are also available, however, there is no Brest Airport train station. Passengers will need to take the airport bus in order to reach the railway station of Brest city.
The Brest Bretagne Airport, as it is officially known, with the airport code of BES, has recently received a new terminal that is very modern, and offers a much larger space for the airport’s operations. It was completed towards the end of 2007, and has a capacity for between 1.4 and 1.8 million passengers per annum. Facilities at the airport include a conference centre for business travellers, a variety of shops and restaurants, a travel agency, cash machines, a post box and free Wi-Fi connections. However, outside of the old terminal building is where the bus stops are located, and from where buses will take passengers to the Brest railway station. The old terminal is about a five minute walk from the new terminal building. The buses are frequently available, and therefore, passengers can easily make a connection to the train services offered from the city.
Since that Brest Airport is so nearby the city centre, the journey by bus to the railway station will take just twenty-five minutes, depending on traffic conditions. The buses travel from the airport about every two hours throughout the day, and are provided by the Bibus Company. They also stop at the tourist office in Brest, Place Albert 1er and Saint Luc. Bus tickets for a trip to the railway station will cost about €4.60 for a one-way journey, and about €8.40 for a return trip. Children between the ages of four and twelve will pay half price, while all under four years of age travel for free. Single tickets, as well as day passes, can be purchased from the bus driver.
The Gare de Brest, or the Brest railway station, is found in the centre of Brest city, only about ten minutes from the ferries that sail to the nearby islands of Quessant and Molene. The current station is built above the town’s harbour, and has been in existence since 1932. It is found on the same site as the older station, which was built in 1865. The new building features a tall clock tower and a semi-circular hall for passengers. The old station building was built by the CF de l’Quest, whereas the new station has been constructed by the CF de l’Etat.
The faster TGV trains are available from the Brest train station, and passengers can reach Paris, the capital city of France, in about four hours and twenty minutes. There are about ten trains a day to Paris, and they take their passengers to the Gare Montparnasse railway station of the city. At least one train per day travels between Lyon and Brest, and around seven trains per day are available to and from Quimper, located just southeast of Brest, and also nearby the western coastline of the country. From Quimper, two trains per day travel to the Bordeaux railway station, further south. The high speed TGV trains are a very popular way to travel France. The trains are very comfortable, with plenty of leg-room and various other facilities, depending on in which class you travel. On the majority of TGV trains, there is a bar buffet car from where drinks and hot or cold meals can be purchased, vending machines and power points. There are also drop-down tables suitable for laptops. Keep in mind however, that the TGV trains require an advanced reservation. Tickets can be reserved anytime from three months before the day of the journey. Train tickets can be booked online, from the SNCF website, or from the ticket office at any of the train stations. Further information is available at www.tgv.com.
When travelling by train in France, you will need a valid ticket in order to board the train, and your ticket should also be stamped/validated before the journey. The validation of the train ticket is done from the yellow machines that are usually found nearby or on the platforms of the stations. They are labelled in French as ‘compostage de billets’. Simply insert your ticket into the slot. During the journey, inspectors on the train will ask to view your ticket, and a heavy fine could be issued if it is not correctly validated.
Trains are a wonderful way to explore the intriguing country of France, and although there is no airport train station, passengers arriving at this airport can easily reach the train network by taking the airport bus. Further enquiries can be made at the airport information desk.