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Sub-prefecture of Finistère (29), Maritime Prefecture of the Atlantic
Population: 140,000 (Brest residents) and 210,000 for the 8 communes of Brest Métropole.
Personalities : Paul Deschanel (former president of the Republic), Yann Tiersen, Christophe Miossec (singers), Olivier de Kersauzon (sailor), Alain Robbe-Grillet, Yann Queffelec (writers), Béatrice Dalle (actress), Irène Frachon (doctor, whistleblower), Benoit Hamon, Jean-Jacques Hurvoas (former ministers), Charlotte Bonnet (swimming), Corentin Martins (soccer), Eric Berthou, Valentin Madouas, Olivier Le Gac (cycling)
Specialties: pancakes, seafood, salted butter caramel, kig ha farz, strawberries, beer
Sports: Stade Brestois 29 (soccer, League 1), Brest Bretagne Handball (Division 1 women), Brest Bretagne Nautisme (1st nautical club in France), Pôle France Voile olympique. Events : Brest is the port of records for round-the-world sailing.
Culture: Brest 2024 International Maritime Festival, European Short Film Festival, Astropolis (electronic music, July-August)
Economy: sea, health, banking/insurance, agriculture/agribusiness, digital. The tertiary sector represents 75% of the activity: headquarters of the Arkéa banking group, B&B hotels, the Eurodif group, the Kanabeach surfwear brand. France's ninth largest commercial port. Europe's leading center for science and technology related to the sea: 60% of French research in the maritime field is based in Brest. DCN, Direction des Constructions Navales (manufacture and repair of submarines and aircraft carriers). Brest airport, the leading airport in Brittany for passenger traffic (over 800,000). Thomson-Thales (generator sets), Cabasse (high-end loudspeakers), Saveol (strawberries, tomatoes), Sill (fruit juice). French Navy (15,000 military jobs). Slogan: "North, South, East... Brest
Labels: City of Art and History, Active and Sporting City (3 ears of corn)
BREST, A STORY
A new city… and a lasting perspective
At the end of the war, Brest was no more. Today, the city has been rebuilt and reinvents itself every day.
You can feel this energy pulsating in this part of downtown that has grown on the banks of the Penfeld, near the famous Recouvrance district: the Plateau des Capucins. The former "Forbidden City", as it was called before the French Navy withdrew from it, has undergone a transformation and a whole new district has emerged on its heights, with the Ateliers as its figurehead, where generations of Brest residents have manufactured the parts of warships. A place of life, culture and innovation, the Ateliers des Capucins and the cable car that links them to the historic city center have become the symbol of a metropolis on the move.
"Cities where the sea and the horizon are part of the urban furniture are rare. "Yann Queffelec wrote. Brest is one of them. A military, scientific, commercial and leisure port, and a port of records, Brest's harbour is home to a concentration of maritime expertise very rarely found elsewhere. Home to the World Sea Campus and Ifremer, for Brest and its partners the oceans are both a subject of study and a breeding ground for innovation. As the French Tech capital, Brest will host the future coordination centre for maritime cybersecurity. Finally, Brest and the Brittany region are committed to the development of renewable marine energy and have invested heavily in the construction of a terminal where the foundations for wind turbines in the Bay of Saint-Brieuc are produced.
BREST AND CYCLING
Almost an obligatory stopover for the pre-war Tour, since the race went there 23 times between 1906 and 1939 (Gustave Garrigou and Henri Pélissier each winning three times), Brest has been back on the map of the Grande Boucle since 2008 after a long 34-year hiatus. The second most populated city in Brittany will have the privilege of being the launch pad for the Tour de France for the fourth time since the Second World War. In 1952, it was the starting point of the first stage to Rennes, won by Rik Van Steenbergen. In 1974, it was Eddy Merckx who won the prologue of his last Tour victory. Finally in 2008, Alejandro Valverde won the first stage in Plumélec, starting from Brest. Considering the pedigree of these riders, all three world champions, we can expect a worthy winner in Landerneau! In 2018, for the last departure of a stage of the Tour in town, it was Dan Martin who won in Mûr-de-Bretagne.
Among the many riders born in Brest, must be mentioned Jean-Pierre Genet, who finished last in the 1967 Tour, wore the Yellow Jersey the following year and won three stages in 1968, 1971 and 1974, Christian Seznec, who won two stages in 1978 and 1979, the whimsical Erwan Menthéour, Camille Le Menn, Arthur Bihannic, Gérard Kerbrat, all of whom took part in the Tour de France, or Eric Berthou, and among the riders still in the race Valentin Madouas and Olivier Le Gac, both riding for the Groupama-FDJ team
Ateliers des Capucins and cable car
The Capucins is the new cultural and living place of Brest. These huge buildings once housed the Arsenal's mechanical workshops. They have been transformed to become the largest covered public space in Europe (10,000m²), dotted with testimonies of the past: the Emperor's canoe, the propeller shaft of the Jeanne d'Arc... It can be reached by car, by streetcar and even by... cable car. Soon, the public will be able to visit the "70.8", a scientific culture center dedicated to sea technologies.
In the Moulin Blanc marina, this immense park is a model for both scientists and sea lovers, who can discover the ocean in all its aspects in the three thematic pavilions that make up the complex. The temperate pavilion, the first one installed at the opening of the park in 1990, is of course dedicated to Brittany, and also houses a seal colony. The polar pavilion is the kingdom of penguins, and the tropical pavilion allows you to discover all sorts of species in a whirlwind of colors. With its extension in 2000, the park has gone gigantic: 8,000 m2 of visiting space, 42 aquariums, 3.7 million liters of sea water and more than 10,000 animals, representing more than a thousand species.
Garden of the national botanical conservatory
In the heart of the Stang-Alar valley, a stone's throw from the city center, it invites you to discover the world of plantswith your family. Built in a former quarry, this 30-hectare site was chosen for its mild climate, its steep slopes and the presence of water, which make it a place where plants from all over the world can grow. It is the first institution, created in 1975, dedicated to the preservation of endangered wild plants. The tropical greenhouses allow visitors to travel among the world's rarest and most endangered plants, of which nearly 1,800 would be extinct or endangered without it. They attract over 350,000 visitors each year.
National Navy Museum
Within the recently renovated castle of Brest, rich with seventeen centuries of history, the National Museum of the Navy traces the history of the arsenal and the great fleets of the high seas from Primauguet and Richelieu to the present day, and confirms the close and age-old ties between the city of Brest and its maritime history. While walking through the different rooms of the castle, the historical heart of the city, and one of the rare vestiges of its past, one discovers a collection of models of ships, paintings, sculptures, a pocket submarine, the evocation of the old Brest, the memories of the prison... all related to the great naval adventure. It also bears witness to the courage of the intrepid sailors and explorers who set out from Brest towards the unknown, such as Lapérouse or Bougainville.
The Brest Museum of Fine Arts
A place of sharing and openness to art, its visitors can admire various collections of works (painting, sculpture, graphics, musical instruments...) dating back to the 16th century. Resolutely involved in a process of dissemination of art to the general public, it has established an art library that allows everyone to borrow and enjoy a real work of art at home.
The American Monument
It was in Brest in 1917 that Europeans heard jazz for the first time. Brest was indeed the port of landing and return of 1,200,000 GI's who came to fight in the First World War. The monument erected in their memory in 1932, destroyed and then rebuilt in 1957, is a symbol of the ties of friendship forged as early as the Revolutionary War when Lafayette's forces from Brest supported the Patriots against the British crown.
TO EAT :
Cod à la Brestoise
Although Brest has adopted most of the Breton specialties (galettes, far breton, brandies and even strawberries from neighboring Plougastel), the city has a few typical recipes, the most famous of which is undoubtedly cod à la brestoise, which is as simple to make as it is tasty to eat. Leeks, potatoes and onions, all sliced like the cod itself, are necessary for this dish halfway between the gratin and the brandade, as tasty as it is hearty.