Going ashore in Brest, France

Going ashore in Brest

The city of Brest is situated in northwestern France, at the mouth of the Penfeld River and it is a major port located inside a protected harbour. Not many cities offers remarkable tourist landmarks as Paris or Rome, but even a small city like Brest has something to offer to those with ‘open eyes’ and a 2-3 hour walk is definitely worth a while.

Brest has beautiful gardens and parks, a very colourful waterfront dotted with restaurants along the marina and an animated city centre where the Town Hall (Hotel de Ville)  is located.

Brest City Hall Hotel de Ville

The entire city is built on two hills overlooking the harbour and it has a very interesting layout due to its multi-level terraces. Walking your way up the hill is quite challenging, but very good as daily cardio exercises, offering also a wonderful panoramic view over the port and over the Penfeld River.

A walk in the city is also recommended for those who are passionate about history, wars and all kind of artifacts resulting from these because it hosts a very interesting Maritime Museum and a few monuments erected to honour war heroes. One of these monuments is the First World War Memorial (the American Monument) – a huge construction built on Cours Dajot walk to honor the Americans’ engagement into the war.

Cours Dajot Brest

Brest World War Memorial

The Maritime Museum is located inside the Brest Castle, an impressive medieval fortress situated on top of the hill, overlooking the marina. The museum’s collection traces 17 centuries of the history of Brest ocean-going fleet, displaying a few of the original artifacts belonging to warships, U-boats, research and expedition vessels as well as written documents and photos. Apart from the inside collection, the castle offers a breathtaking view over the Bay of Brest on one side  – the commercial port, the Marina du Chateau – and to the military port and the city, on the other side.

Brest Castle

Brest Castle

Brest Castle Brest Castle

Tower Motte Tangui Brest– Tower Motte Tangui Brest –

View from Brest Castle

View from Brest Castle towards Recouveance Bridge– View towards Recouveance Bridge

Brest - view from Cours Dajot (3)-View over Marina de Chateau –

View from Brest Castle

View from Brest Castle

Inside Brest Castle

Brest Castle View towards the military port

Brest Castle - view over the port basin

The most popular street in town is Rue de Siam which starts somewhere behind the Castle, close to Recouveance Bridge and continues its way up the hill. It hosts a variety of shops, restaurants and bars and it is crossed by a colourful tram right through the middle of it.

Brest Rue du Siam

Rue du Siam

Recoverance Bridge Brest

Brest is not a big city and its centre is easily reachable by foot.

Walking inside the terminal is permitted and seafarers can go out of the port without having to depend on anything else except their two good feet.

A walk to the town should start from the gate, following the road to the left. In less than 15 minutes, you will find yourself on the waterfront boulevard, passing by restaurants, hotels, shops and small business offices. The entire area belonged to the old commercial port and the old quays are now a centre for business and other activities.

Brest Marina du Chateau

Almost at the end of this road – close to the marina – there are a few stone steps which will take you to the superior level, on the Cours Dajot Walk – a promenade like road build in the XVIIIth  century overlooking the harbour.


The Brest Castle is situated at the left end of this road.

Brest Castle (3)

Useful Info:

– On top of the hill overlooking the container terminal you will see another castle like building which is actually a high school, but it is very impressive from a close up;

Brest the High School Castle view from the port

Brest High School

– The Maritime Museum is open everyday (except Tuesdays) between 10 am and 6.30 pm during high season and between 1.30 pm and 6.30 pm during low season. The entrance ticket costs 6 euros (including audio guide);

– The Seamen’s Club is located on the waterfront, in front of the Hotel Les Gens de Mer and it is open everyday (except Sundays) between 6 pm and 10 pm;

Hotel Les Gens de Mer Brest

Seamens Club Brest

– The best place to feel an authentic French atmosphere is inside a bistro ( Brioche Dorée) where you can try the traditional croissant and pain au chocolate or inside a bakery shop where you can buy the traditional and very tasty French Baguette;

French Baguette Brest

Brioche Doree Brest

– On the waterfront, close to the Marina, you will find a fish shop – open everyday (Except Sundays) between early morning and 6:30 pm – where you can buy fresh fish and seafood.

Brest Fish Market

Brest Fish Market

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