Brest provided the Memorial Association with the fort to create a museum telling the history of the French region of Finistère during the Second World War. All together it consists of five forts.The fort itself dates back to the late 18th century, when it was first built by Louis XVI.
The National Botanical Reserve of Brest contains around 1,700 endangered species of plants, which are all grown and cultivated in the reserve’s greenhouses. It is dedicated to the protection and growth of endangered species from around the world. The lush premises are open to visitors.
These are four pretty suburbs of Brest that offer open areas for relaxing walks, along with fine restaurants. They are ideal places to go to for short excursions. Explore the city's main neighbourhoods, and stop in one of the quintessentially French cafes for lunch or dinner.
The Museum of Fine Art houses over 10,000 works of art, including many notable pieces, which were acquired after the building was rebuilt post-war. A curious initiative of the museum is the so-called "artothèque" - a library of art pieces, which locals are free to borrow for a short period of time.
The tree-lined promenade of Cours Dajot is a perfect location for long walks with loved ones. Beautiful vies of the harbour unfold from here, and many restaurants in the vicinity offer great seafood and are especially known for crabs. One end of the promenade is marked by a medieval castle.
Abri Sadi Carnot is a powerful and sobering memorial of great heroism in the face of devastating tragedy during the Second World War. The tunnel was used as a hideout by civilians when it was hit by a bomb, leaving hundreds of people trapped. The monument is guaranteed to stir up emotion.
One of the companies organizing day trips on the water is Le Temps d'une Escapade. A private tour gives visitors to the city an opportunity to discover Brest from the water, and experience life at sea (essential to Brest history and lifestyle) accompanied by an experienced seaman.
A wonderful activity for the whole family, a tour of the Terre d'Embruns biscuit factory offers visitors an insight into the production process of pastries and cookies, allowing guests to follow the process every step of the way. At the end of the tour, a sampling is possible in the on-site cafe.
Visitors should not leave Brest without tasting the local mussels, and the waterfront Tour du Monde is a good restaurant to give the local specialty a try. Mussels are the signature dish of the house, but the spot is perfect for trying some excellent fish and chips as well.
L'atelier Gourmand is a cosy, quintessentially French bistro with a lively atmosphere of a busy eatery (especially during lunch hours). Set menus are offered along with a la carte dining. Special emphasis is laid on dish presentation, which completes the dining experience.
Eating a burger while in France might not be you typical dining selection but when they are as good as at the excellent Le Comptoir du Burger, there is no shame in tasting one. The service is friendly, and booking a table in advance is recommended. Opens for lunch and dinner.
If you are really craving a pizza or any other Italian food, you have come to the right place. Pizzeria del Arte serves delicious Italian cuisine and is the right place to go to for both lunch and dinner. Pizza is the specialty, but other Italian classics such as risotto and pasta are offered too.
At the waterfront Le Crabe Marteau it's all about the crab - order a whole or half crab and some boiled potatoes to go along, or opt for a classier, yet still rather affordable option of fresh oysters or simply go for some good seafood. Seating inside and outside (with harbor view) available.
This pleasant eatery offers great value for money with its high-quality "menu of the day" made up of dishes prepared with locally-sourced, fresh ingredients. The establishment is an excellent choice for lunch and dinner (the a la carte menu features delicious, healthy dishes as well).
The bistro is an eye-catcher already for its industrial interior with raw walls and suspended lamps, combined with an understated elegance of compact dining tables. It serves a small selection of high-quality French starters, mains, and desserts - it's hard to go wrong with any of the choices.
Diners are welcomed with true Lebanese hospitality at Mont Liban, an authentic Middle Eastern restaurant in the heart of Brest. For those who enjoy trying different flavors the restaurant is a true find - meals are made up of multiple small dishes called "meze" (these are predominantly vegetarian).
To indulge in excellent fresh seafood the region is known for, try the La Maison de l'Ocean - a waterside restaurant where it all revolves around seafood and its classic preparation. There are multiple set menus available through a broad price range, as well as a la carte dining.
Do not let the ever-so-slightly tacky interior divert you from choosing the restaurant as a spot for lunch or dinner - food served here is rumored to be of superb quality. The chefs manage to showcase authentic Indian and Pakistani flavors through the dishes on the elaborate menu.
L’Auberge de la Crêpe is a great crêperie in the heart of the city. This little place is an ideal spot for a lunch, snack or an informal evening meal. Crepes come in a multitude of sweet and savoury varieties (meet and cheese-stuffed), so take your pick form the extensive menu.
Crêpes, or French pancakes, are always a treat. La Crêperie de Cornouaille is one of the establishments beloved by locals for the quality and selection of its crepes. The "creperie" lies a little outside of the city centre and provides a cosy environment for a nice meal.
Named best in the region of Finistere, this excellent creperie sweeps diners of their feet once they open the front door with the heart-warming smell of butter and freshly-made crepes. It is currently one of the trendiest places for crepes in Brest, and has a lot to show for the title.
Another standout amongst the city's many creperies is La Crepe Flambee, a cosy establishment where sweet and savoury crepes are offered in abundance. Try one of the many elegantly put together local specialties in the casual downstairs or more restaurant-like upstairs seating area of the cafe.
Perhaps the best choice for bagels in Brest, the O' BAGEL cafe serves a selection of delicious bagels and potato wedges/fries to go along. Try the "bagel burger" with cream cheese, hacked steak, vegetables and sauce. The interior features toy "Duff" beer cans and other pop culture curiosities.
The Irish pub is run by an actual Irishman, who often hesitates little to join guests for some friendly banter. The pub offers live music, good food and, of course, beer. You are guaranteed a good time at Mac Guigan's regardless whether you come on your own or as a part of a group.
The very casual Le 54 is a good spot for a friendly get together, a relaxed venue where live sports are broadcast and international holidays (such as St. Patrick's Day) are celebrated wholeheartedly. It's a locals' haunt, with a decent drink list and both in -and outdoor seating.
One of Brest's liveliest bars and certainly it's most well-known gay bar at the moment, the L'Happy Café welcomes a very diverse clientele to its frequent rowdy parties. Karaoke nights are very much a thing, and so are "juke box" nights, when guests are welcome to select music oldies of choice.
The Roi de Bretagne department store offers a great selection of products from the province of Brittany and the surrounding areas. Items range from deli foods and traditional local treats to textiles and natural cosmetics. The shop is a great stop to pick up local specialties and souvenirs.
Terre d'Embruns is a local ecological bakery and shop that has its products made without additives or preservatives. They offer delicious buns, cookies, pastries and other baked goods made from quality local ingredients. Tours of the factory followed by a tasting are available to those interested.
Espace Jaures is a well-located shopping centre packed with stores of famous local and international brands. The mall houses stores of mid-range fashion brands such as H&M, Mango, New Look, Desigual, Jack&Jones and many more. There is a fast food restaurant and a cafe inside.
The indescribable smell of new books known to all book-lovers fills the air at Librairie Dialogues, a cosy bookshop with a pleasant selection of literature (including English-language books) that has an on-site cafe, where guests are welcome to flip through the pages of editions that caught the eye.
Located slightly outside the city center, the Galerie shopping center is a one-stop location to shop for the latest fashion and beauty trends at internationally known stores. Multiple services (beauty salons, a post office, banks, etc.) are available inside, along with a selection of cafes.
One of the city's older shopping centers, Coat Ar Guéven is located only a stone's throw away from the Espace Jaures. It houses a selection of stores and boutiques selling international fashion, footwear, accessories, and more. cosmetics shops include Sephora and Yves Rocher.
Louli des bois is a shop that offers everything one may need for babies and children. Everything from diapers to baby clothes and toys can be found here, along with handy travel items for parents (such as baby slings and carriers) to help the trip go as smoothly as possible.
Brest Bretagne Airport is situated just a few kilometres from the city centre. A shuttle bus runs between the train station and the airport daily, stopping at Saint-Luc and the Place de la Liberté next to the tourist information office. The Shuttle takes 10 min to Saint-Luc and 14 min to Place de la Liberté. The first shuttle leaves the train station at 06.00.
A public bus service links all parts of Brest to one another, and a train service is available from the central station for trips further afield. The main station for both is in the Place due 19eme RI. Public transportation tickets may be bought at ticket vending machines with either cash or card; day tickets with unlimited rides are available and may be a good idea for a full day of sightseeing.
Pharmacies are recognised by a large green cross outside the premises and are generally open 9am to 1pm and from around 2pm - 7pm daily, except Sunday. A list of emergency pharmacies is displayed on the front window. Pharmacie Marzin Monguillon 39 Rue Louis Pasteur, Brest www.pharmacie-marzin-monguillon.fr +33 2 98 44 24 91 Pharmacie Centre Commercial Coat Ar Guéven 50 Rue Jean Jaurès, Brest +33 2 98 44 37 00