Brest is a port city in Brittany, France. Brest is an important harbor and the second French military port after Toulon. The Académie de Marine (Naval Academy) was founded in 1752 in this city. Brest hosts the International Festival of the sea, boats, and sailors (Les Tonnerres de Brest). 

Here are some of the sights in Brest:

1. Oceanopolis

It is the national center for scientific culture dedicated to the ocean.  The form of the building resembles the crab. Designed by architect Jacques Rougerie, the primary goal for creating Oceanopolis is to showcase marine science. It is divided into three pavilions: temperate, polar, and tropical; each representing marine flora and fauna for the respective regions. It is open for visiting as well as for researching. 

Since 1990, Océanopolis, owned by the City of Brest and managed by Brest’aim, has recounted the natural history of the oceans, with a mission of scientific mediation through pedagogy and creativity.

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Oceanopolis_ https://www.oceanopolis.com/en/our-missions/who-are-we

2. Cours Dajot

Cours D’Ajot is a 700 m public walk in the city of Brest known for the view of the harbor that it overlooks. Most of the maritime festivals of Brest are conducted in this stretch. It takes its name from the engineer Dajot who is the creator of this walk. There are notable buildings on this street, such as the American monument, Plaque dedicated to Jean Cras, and Staircase connecting to Porstrein and Brest courthouse. This entire stretch gives a mixed perception of fine arts and neo-classics. 

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Cours Dajot_ https://www.tripadvisor.co.nz/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g187095-d7127523-i277261207-Cours_Dajot-Brest_Finistere_Brittany.html

3. Plateau Des Capucins workshops

They are the buildings of the Arsenal of Brest. After demolishing a church present on the site, the naval ministry created the workshop due to the need for spaces to develop more maritime weaponry. Much recently, these workshops were converted into a cultural and commercial center. It also has a library in one of the aisles of the workshop building. 

This place is also known for a cable car station in the building itself, from where you can directly go to the center of Brest.

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Plateau des capuchins workshop_ https://www.brest.fr/culture/les-equipements-culturels/les-ateliers-des-capucins-2135.html

4. Questel Fort

Questel fort is a fort designed in the Vauban style (concentric polygonal structure with angular walls). It forms a closed square with the main entry placed on the least exposed side. This large quadrangle, 100 meters wide, is located between Fort Karen Roux (1.5 km south) and Fort Penfeld (1 km to the northeast). 

This fort monitored the valleys of Moulin du Buis to prevent any enemies from bombarding the city and harbor. Currently, this site has public walks through the sheltered moat and has underground galleries.

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Questel Fort_ https://www.brest.fr/culture/les-equipements-culturels/le-fort-du-questel-2130.html

5. Brest Naval Museum

The National Maritime Museum houses a unique heritage reflecting the massive naval adventure Arsenal of Brest and the French Navy. It was once a castle, also constructed in Vauban style. Over the centuries, the castle’s architecture is designed to respond to the evolution of siege techniques and weaponry, aimed at guarding against two types of attacks: land and sea. 

The museum is an autonomous body under the ministry of defense. It displays unique heritage testifying to the great naval adventure of the Arsenal de Brest and the French Navy. In recently renovated rooms, visitors can discover the masterpieces of naval decoration, Lapérouse expedition, convicts, or emblematic of new Navy ships.

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Brest Naval Museum_ https://www.tripadvisor.in/ShowUserReviews-g187095-d3557863-r162465467-Musee_national_de_la_Marine-Brest_Finistere_Brittany.html

6. The Garden of Explorers

Jardin des Explorateurs (Garden of explorers), a huge garden located in Brest, presents various flora species worldwide. The Garden is divided into five areas: Asia, South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and South America. It is home to a collection of plants brought back by four explorers from Brest (Bougainville, Houton de la Billardière, Raoul, Commerson, etc). Overlooking the Bay of Brest, it offers stunning views of the castle.

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The Garden of Explorers_ http://edwhatamidoinghere.blogspot.com/2013/10/brest-oceanopolis-brittany.html

7. Tour Tanguy

Tour Tanguy (Tanguy Tower) is a museum located on the banks of the Penfield river. This museum displays the evolution of Brest from the 14th Century, like the City plans, pictures of world war 2, the French revolution, and documentation of ambassadors from different countries are. The tower was a residential place, which the government later converted into a museum in the 20th Century. The tower has French gothic, English, and Chinese elements incorporated in its design. 

The tower rooms are dedicated to retrieving memories and presenting all aspects of the history of this maritime territory. Many models have the Brest city before the war and tell its story. Visitors will find lots of photographs, old maps of the town and the galleys, engravings, old songs Brest and a collection of Arms, eloquent illustration of this heritage legacy.

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Tour Tanguy_ https://www.spottinghistory.com/view/5530/tour-tanguy/

8. Pont De Recouvrance

Pont de Recouvrance is a vertical lift bridge in Brest, across the river Penfeld. Opened in 1954, it is the second-largest bridge in Europe.  It links the bottom of the rue de Siam to the quartier de Recouvrance, replacing a swing bridge destroyed by Allied bombardment in 1944. 

Each pylon is 70m high, and the 525-tonne lift span is 88m long. Its wide span allows trolleybuses and trams to move through it. The bridge is known for the view of the city.

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Pont De Recouvrance_ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Brest_-_Pont_de_Recouvrance.jpg

9. Brest Museum of Fine Arts

The Brest Museum of Fine Arts is the leading art museum in Brest, in Brittany.  Director-General of Fine Arts at the Ministry of National Education in Paris invited Jean Lachaud to recreate the museum and its collections after World War 2. The museum destroyed most of the city in its bombardment by Allied forces. With considerable effort, an admirable collection of ancient paintingsthe largest to have been assembled in France since 1945- could be reunited. These offer a beautiful panorama of French and Italian painting through the centuries. 

Although the museum has focused primarily on creating a collection of ancient art that can witness the past, modern artwork is also exhibited. Completed in 1968, the building housing the museum is typical of the functional architecture of the post-war period in Brest.

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Brest Museum of Fine Arts_ https://musee.brest.fr/brests-museum-of-fine-arts-3235.html

10. Château de Brest

Château de Brest, literally translated to the castle of Brest, is the oldest monument in the town located at the mouth of the river Penfield, opposite Tanguy tower. Different kings and dukes possessed it for generations, and much later, it was converted into a marine museum. This castle is also constructed in Vauban style, making it impregnable for attackers. 

Thus, the oldest castle in the world is still in use and was classified as a monument historique on 21 March 1923. The structure’s heterogeneous architecture has resulted from continual adaptations to developments in siege warfare and armament on land and sea.

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Chateau de Brest_ https://trip101.com/article/cha-teau-de-brest

References

  • Océanopolis. 2021. Aquarium in France : Océanopolis Brest. [online] Available at: <https://www.oceanopolis.com/en/welcome> [Accessed 1 May 2021].
  • Fr.wikipedia.org. 2021. Cours Dajot — Wikipédia. [online] Available at: <https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cours_Dajot> [Accessed 1 May 2021].
  • Museu.ms. 2021. National Maritime Museum, Brest. [online] Available at: <https://museu.ms/museum/details/16163/national-maritime-museum-brest> [Accessed 

1 May 2021].

  • Fr.wikipedia.org. 2021. Ateliers du Plateau des Capucins (Brest) — Wikipédia. [online] Available at: <https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ateliers_du_Plateau_des_Capucins_(Brest)> [Accessed 1 May 2021].
  • En.wikipedia.org. 2021. Château de Brest – Wikipedia. [online] Available at: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ch%C3%A2teau_de_Brest> [Accessed 1 May 2021].
Author

Meenakshi is an architectural student studying in Manipal University. She is someone who is constantly hungry to learn something new. Her interests are: learning about different low cost building materials and recyclable building materials and wishes to guide young architecture students in the future.

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