Attractions nearby Brest Airport
Brest Airport, or officially, the Brest Bretagne Airport, is located very nearby the city of Brest in the Finistère department of France, and is an airport of reasonable size. It is an important gateway to this north-western and coastal region of the country, and is served by the airline carriers of Air France, Flybe, Ryanair, EasyJet, Vueling and Finist’air, amongst others. Although Brest is by far the largest city in the Finistère department, Quimper to the south is the regional capital of the area. Nonetheless, Brest provides services to the one million inhabitants of Western Brittany, and is a city full of special charms and delights. Brest attractions are plentiful, and appeal to a variety of interests.
Similar to all French cities located nearby the coastline, Brest has some wonderful sandy beaches to enjoy. The Abers is a nearby collection of inlets on the coast of Brittany, and features some charming coastal villages. The scenery is also quite spectacular, and the waters are a sparkly blue. At the beaches, locals and tourists partake in a wide variety of sea-related activities, including swimming, yachting, windsurfing and fishing. Historical architecture in Brest is perhaps not as vast as what is found in other cities, due to the heavy bombing by the Allies in World War II, but its few remaining sights certainly make up for the lack thereof. Brest has a castle that is known to be the oldest active military structure in the world, the Tanguy Tower and the Recouvrance Bridge, which is the tallest drawbridge in Europe, standing at 64 metres, or 210 feet in height. The city of Brest also features an authentic street of the 17th century, called Saint-Malo Street, found in Recouvrance, the west bank of the city, and an important harbour. Another favourite Brest attraction is the large aquarium, called the Océanopolis marine centre.
Brest Attractions – The Recouvrance and Océanopolis Marine Centre
The Recouvrance is an emblem of Brest city, and a magnificent ship moored at the Brest trading port. Many tourists visit it each year, as it is a truly beautiful and antique sailing boat. The ship is a Schooner, 25 meters in length, and close to the heart of all residents in the area. Visitors can find the ship at the Commandant-Malbert dock.
A major attraction in Brest is the Océanopolis marine centre located at port de Plaisance-du-Moulin-Blanc. It is a leisure park dedicated to a large variety of sea-going creatures, and a must-visit for all families in Brest. The centre occupies an area of over 700 square metres, and features many films and interactive activities that take you on a fascinating journey below the water. The three buildings of the Océanopolis house polar, tropical and temperate species, each with thousands of animals. At the aquarium there are various types of sharks to admire, and one of Europe’s largest collections of penguins. Allow at least three hours to explore this magnificent attraction.
Brest Attractions – Castles and Monuments
The Tanguy Tower and the Castle of Brest are two of the most popular attractions in the city, and are certainly most intriguing. The Castle of Brest, or the Château de Brest, is one of the most prominent landmarks of the city, and dominates the Penfeld opposite the Recouvrance. It has been a historical monument since 1923. The castle was built in the third century, and was also enlarged by Vauban in the seventeenth century. In the Middle-Ages, it was regarded as the strongest castle in the world. However, during the Second World War it acquired some severe damages. After the war it was once again restored to its former glory, and was donated to the National Navy in 1945. The castle is closed to visitors during January, but open during various times throughout the rest of the year.
Just opposite the castle of Brest is the Tanguy Tower, built in the second half of the fourteenth century, and another important landmark of the city. The tower is a historic fortification, built on an enormous block of granite, and certainly a favourite place to see in Brest. Additional historical places of interest include the Ford du Questel, built in the eighteenth century, the Manor Keroual featuring a round tower, the La Maison de la Fontaine, the high Montbarey, consisting of five detached forts, and the shelter Sadi Carnot, displaying the effects of World War II bombing raids on the city.
Brest Attractions – Museums
The most important museums in Brest include the Musée national de la Marine de Brest, or the National Museum of Marine, the Musée de la Tour Tanguy and the Musée des Beaux-Arts, or the Museum of Fine Arts. The Naval Museum first mentioned is found in the Castle of Brest, and is home to a beautiful collection of ship models, textiles and other structures relating to the maritime traditions of the city, while the Musée de la Tour Tanguy is found in the Tanguy Tower and offers further insight to the tragedies of World War II.
Brest Attractions – Gardens, Markets and Festivals
Brest is a very charming and lively city, filled with an adequate array of historical attractions, as well as some lovely parks and gardens that are perfect for a picnic. Two gardens highly worth a mention are the Conservatoire botanique national de Brest, or the national botanical garden, specializing in endangered species, and the Vallon du Stang Alar, with enchanting trails through flowers and manicured gardens. A few markets in Brest are also popular amongst locals and visitors, and some of the festivals that take place during the year include the Rain Images Festival, the Spring Sonneurs, the Grand Prix of the Naval Academy, the Sailing Festival, the Festival of Science and the European Short Film Festival Brest.
Further details regarding all these Brest attractions and more can be found at the tourist information office at Brest Bretagne Airport.