Brest Mini Guide
Tell me why I Should Visit Brest?
Brest is the furthest city west in Europe at the end of Cape Finisterre. At this point mainland Europe ends and all that exists between here and America
are some tiny islands. As the ‘end of Europe', Brest has always been an important sea port and was fortified in the 18th century underlining its significance as a port. Today it still retains that importance, both as a commercial harbour and fishing port, because of the sheltered nature of the bay. If you plan to hire a car in France
, you can collect from all over the country, including leading car hire comanies in France like Hertz and Europcar.
How do I get to Brest?
Brest-Bretagne Airport is only six miles away from the city and served by a variety of no frills airlines including Ryanair and easyJet although the only flights from the UK
are operated by Flybe from Southampton
. Transport to the city from the airport is easily found and once in the city, you’ll find you have access to one of France’s most important rail routes.
What Should I see and do in Brest?
The Tanguy Tower holds an exhibition detailing the history of the city and is well worth a visit as the displays are informative and help you gain a greater understanding of the historical importance of the city. The castle should be next on your tour which holds the Navy Museum and details all the arenas of war that the French navy have been involved in. Great pains are taken to show the defeat of the Royal Navy at the Battle of Brest in the 17th century. No trip to Brest would be complete without a visit to the western end of Europe, Cape Finisterre, which means ‘the cape at the end of the earth’ for that’s where Europeans though the world finished. You’ll often find people there who have driven from the furthest point east in Europe to Cape Finisterre for the achievement. The city has organised special days throughout the summer with Thursdays as 'Port Days' and Fridays as 'Sport Days'. Lots of activities are laid on during this time and many of them are free.
What can I buy to Take Home with me?
A common purchase is the traditional Breton fishermen’s jersey with its blue and white stripes, seen as typical of a Frenchman. Today, these jerseys come in other colours too although blue is the only authentic colour. The can be expensive but are beautifully made.
And is There Anything Special I Should try to eat There?
Brittany is famous as the origin for crepes and they are sold everywhere in sweet or savoury styles. Rolled up, they are often filled with cheese, cherries or chocolate. Locally caught seafood is also delicious there, fresh from the Atlantic Ocean. The Bretons also make a delicious kind of shortbread called Traou Mad. Finally, any meal enjoyed there is even more delicious when served with a glass of traditional Breton cider.
Are There any Festivals or Celebrations I Should see?
It may be a long time to wait but every four years the city hosts the ‘International Festival of the Sea’ celebrating the city’s links with maritime endeavours over the centuries. Ships from all over the world attend for sailors to exchange tales of adventure and to enjoy the fine Breton fare.