Forget everything you thought you knew about Brest, and come and explore the heart of this naval port, nestled in one of Franceâ€™s most beautiful natural harbours. On the menu: the amazing Pont de l’Iroise bridge, a stroll along the lively quays as far as the castle museum, and of course OcÃ©anopolis.
Brest is Brittanyâ€™s second largest administrative centre, and has a great deal to offer. Although it was heavily bombed in 1944, this is by no means the townâ€™s most interesting feature: it has rebuilt itself around a vision of the future, with incredible constructions like the Pont de l’Iroise bridge, which crosses the river Elorn. An amazing feat of architecture, this magnificent cable-stayed bridge was opened in 1994. Admire it from Albert Louppe bridge, which is for pedestrians and cyclists only. Itâ€™s a great place to take a walk and enjoy the view of the famous Brest harbour, the â€˜Rade de Brestâ€™, a sheltered area of the sea big enough for great ships to lie at anchor.
Another key feature of a visit to Brest is its commercial port. One of the best ways of getting a feel for the townâ€™s character is to stroll along the docks at the Quai Commandant-Malbert. Youâ€™ll be able to see the hundreds of coloured buoys put in place by Finistereâ€™s Lighthouses and Beacons department, shipyards building wooden boats, the legendary schooner La Recouvrance and the Abeille-Flandres, one of the most powerful tugboats in the world.
Continue your way along the commercial portâ€™s great breakwater and you will find yourself practically at the foot of the castle and maritime museum. Finally, whatever you do, you mustnâ€™t leave Brest without paying a visit to OcÃ©anopolis, the only ocean discovery centre of its kind in Europe. The centre boasts enormous aquariums and a seal clinic â€“ as well as giving visitors the opportunity to touch some of the marine creatures living there!