Heritage

In the spirit of the creators of the Tour, the extreme western tip of the French territory represented both a symbolic and a sporting objectif, especially because the Paris-Brest-Paris classic had already witnessed quite some success after only two editions (1891 and 1901). The challenge of taking the peloton all the way to the tip of Brittany was taken on in 1906 and the city became a traditional passage until 1931. Despite the fact that the visits were spaced in time, Brest welcomed the Grand Départ on three occasions in 1952, 1974 and 2008.

Mûr-de-Bretagne Guerlédan

Known as the “Alpe d’Huez of Brittany”, the Mûr de Bretagne hill, a long uphill straight of 2 kilometres, has already welcomed two stage finishes, won in 2011 by the future winner of the Tour, Cadel Evans and in 2015 by Alexis Vuillermoz. Concerning Guerlédan, mainly known until now for its artificial lake, it is now the name of the common uniting Mûr de Bretagne and Saint-Guen

On the road

FINISTERE (29)

Population: 908,000
Prefecture: Quimper
Sub-prefectures: Brest, Châteaulin, Morlaix
Surface: 6,733 km2

Specialties: fish, seafood, cakes, apples, cider, chouchen, whiskey. Strawberries.

Sports clubs: Stade Brestois 29 (football), Brest Bretagne Handball, Albatros de Brest (ice hockey). Union Joan of Arc Phalange Quimper (basketball, Pro B), Quimper Volley 29 (Women's A League), UJAP Basketball Pro B.

Competitions: Transatlantic sailing race Lorient-Bermuda-Lorient in 2019. Women's handball European championship (December). U20 Women's Football World Cup (August)

Festivals: Vieilles Charrues in Carhaix (July), No Border in Brest (December), Astropolis in Brest (July), Italian Film Festival (Brest), Crozon Bout du Monde Festival (August), Place aux mômes in Roscoff.

Economy: agriculture (63% of the territory, animal productions, potato), fishing, agribusiness (Soft, Henaff, Bigard), shipyards (Piriou, DCNS), tourism.

Remarkable sites: Pointe du Raz, Ouessant island, Oceanopolis, National Marine Museum, Trévarez Kériolet, Kerjean castles, Tanguy Tower in Brest, Créac'h and Saint-Mathieu lighthouses, Quimper and Brest Fine Arts museums, Breton County Museum in Quimper.

Websites / FB / Twitter: www.finisteretourisme.com, www.finistere.fr

Km 11

PLOUVIEN (Pop: 3,800)

Plouvien is the hometown of Olivier Le Gac, junior world champion in 2010, who currently rides for French team Groupama-FDJ. A professional since 2014, he took part in his first Tour de France in 2017.

Parc Naturel Marin de l'Iroise

Km 18.5

LANARVILY (Pop: 430)

In the village is held every year since 1958 the Mingant cyclo-cros, whose circuit hosted five French championships and even a world championship in 1982, won by Roland Liboton. The 2017 French championship took place at Le Mingant and was won by Clement Venturini ahead of Arnold Jeannesson. It is still uncertain whether the 2018 edition will take place but it would be a shame to see such an event disappear.

GEOLOGICAL HERITAGE

Pierres de construction

For a long time the buildings were built with local stones. They therefore bear witness of the subsoil, except when a stone is particularly adapted to a specific use. Thus the Breton calvaries often stone lace, are made with a specific stone, called kersantite, because one finds in Kersanton, village near Brest.

MNHN – Patrick De Wever, professeur 

Km 22.5

LE FOLGOËT (Pop: 3,150)

The town is renowned mostly for its basilica. Its 14th and 15th century porch, in late Gothic style, is often singled out. But the boldness and elegance of the tower is also remarkable with its octagonal spire reaching 53 metres. The porch and the altar are both made of Kersanton stone, a local material. The porch of the Apostles, with its beautiful garlands, is decorated with statues of the 12 apostles to whom St Paul has been added. The basilica was built to celebrate a 14th century miracle.

Km 24.5

LESNEVEN (Pop: 7,290)

The small town is remarkable for the beautiful townhouses from the 15th to the 18th century in the town centre. Among the celebrities born in Lesneven was crime novelist Auguste Le Breton, famous for his use of slang and whose novels were widely made into films like Jules Dassins’s Rififi, Razzia Sur la Shnouf, starring Jean Gabin, or The Sicilian Clan with Gabin and Alain Delon. A cycling lover, Le Breton befriended 1948 Olympic champion Jose Beyaert,, who lived an adventurous life in Colombia.

SIGHT 

Museum of Leon
In the 18th century Ursulines convent, surrounded by a gorgeous park, the museum of Leon retained a magnificent cloister renovated in 2009. It displays a fascinating overview of the local history.

Km 42.5

LA ROCHE-MAURICE (Pop: 1,880)

Château de la Roche-Maurice
Built in the 11th century by Morvan, viscount of Cornwall, the château de la Roche Maurice overlooks the river Elorn on a rugged rock protecting its position. In 1189, it became the residence of the viscounts of Leon. The castle came into the powerful Rohan family by marriage in the 14th century. Partly dismantled in 1489 on orders of King Charles VII, it was finally destroyed in the late 16th century during the Wars of Religion. It was later used as a quarry for the locals to build their houses. Listed as a historical monument in 1926, it was finally given by Josselin de Rohan to the Finistere department in 1987.

LANDSCAPE OF THE DAY 

Monts d’Arrée

An emblematic landscape of Les Landes, reminiscent of Ireland or Scotland, Monts d'Arrée is home to Brittany's highest peaks: Roc'h, with its jagged peaks, and Menez with its rounded tops. To the west this range of hills extends in a circle around the peat flats of Yeun Ellez. The headlands and roads give way to vast landscapes, from the bay of Brest to the Montagnes Noires and as far as the English Channel. This listed area is home to the famous "Chaos de Huelgoat" boulder formation.

Km 65

COMMANA (Pop: 1,040)

At the foot of the Aree hills, Commana is remarkable for its parish enclosure, typical of the region and by the covered alley of Mougau-Bihan. The disappearance and likely murder of Commana-born businessman Pierre Quemeneur was the start of the Seznec affair, one of France’s most famous criminal cases of the 20th century.

Km 72

PLOUNEOUR-MENEZ (Pop: 1,250)

Relec Abbey
Founded in 1132, the Relec Abbey is one of five sites listed in the Finistere Chemins du Patrimoine (Heritage Paths). It is composed of a large Romanesque church, remains of a cloister, ponds and an alleyway lined with tall trees, a huge fountain and ancient gardens surrounded by moats. The church is listed as a historical monument. 

Km 86

HUELGOAT (Pop: 1,530)

Home to several Celtic legends, the forest of Huelgoat, known as the Breton Fontainebleau in its tourist craze of the 19th century, is especially renowned for its peculiar rocks: a cluster of rounded stones disposed in disarray which inspired many tales. The river Argent flows by and was thought to be the domain of the Huelgoat fairies. Located in the Armorica Nature Park, Huelgoat, which means high wood in Breton, inspired countless tales involving King Arthur, the Devil and the Virgin Mary. An old disused fort is known as the Camp of Artus but actually belonged to the Gaul tribe of the Osisms, who lived several centuries before Arthur.

REGIONAL NATURAL PARKS

Armorique Regional Natural Park

From the sweeping beams of the Iroise lighthouses to the white cliffs of Crozon; from the silver meanders of the Aulne to the bronze peat bogs of the Arrée Mountains: images of the Armorique Regional Natural Park will linger long in the imagination of visitors to its enchanted landscapes. Like a diamond in the rough, the beauty of this corner of Armorique is the result of its many facets, which together reflect the essence of Brittany. Here, the landscape-loving traveller will find the prettiest postcard-perfect images of Brittany to complete their collection.

Km 106

CARHAIX-PLOUGUER (7 300 hab.)

The former capital of a Gaul tribe know as the Osisms, Carahix is now internationally famous as the home of one of Europe’s major music festivals, Les Vieilles Charrues. Started as a joke by a group of friends in 1992, Les Vieilles Charrues has become the largest festival in France in ticket sales with 222,000 tickets sold in 2017. Held for four years in mid-July, it bills every year some of the greatest musicians on the planet. Bob Dylan, James Brown, Neil Young, Iggy Pop, Charles Trenet, Bernard Lavilliers, Patti Smith, The Cure, Deep Purple, Bruce Springsteen, Jacques Dutronc, Muse, David Guetta and many more topped the bill of a festival run by 5,000 volunteers every summer. In 2011 Carhaix was the start of a Tour de France stage won by Mark Cavendish in Cap Frehel.

CÔTES-D'ARMOR (22)

Region: Brittany
Population: 616,000, the Costarmoricans
Prefecture: Saint-Brieuc
Sub-prefectures: Dinan, Guingamp, Lannion
Number of communes: 355
Surface: 6,877 km2

Specialties: scallops of Côtes d'Armor, pancakes and galettes, gavottes, coco de Paimpol (beans)...

Major sports clubs: En Avant Guingamp (Ligue 1 Football), Côtes d'Armor Cycling (DN1), Bicycle Club Loudéac (DN1), Hockey Club Quévertois (N1), Ploufragan Stadium Roller-Skating (N1), Club Trégorrois Basketball Handisport (N1A)

Major competitions: Tour de Bretagne, Kreiz Breizh Elites (UCI cycling race), Trail of Guerlédan, Landes and Bruyères, Corrida de Langueux, Trophée des Multicoques, stage of the Solitaire Le Figaro 2018 (yachting), passage of the Route du Rhum 2018, Eurolympic Kayaking (every four years), French Rollerball Championship, French Rallycross Championship, Cordon Open Golf (European Challenge), Open Challenger Tennis Harmonie Mututelle, Swimming Meeting (Saint- Brieuc ) ...

Festivals: Art Rock (Saint-Brieuc), Armor à Sons (Bobital), Binic Folk Blues Festival (Binic), Festival of the Ramparts (Dinan), Sound and Light of the Bon Repos Abbey (Bon-Repos-sur -Blavet), Festival of the Saint-Loup (Guingamp), Festival of Sailors Songs (Paimpol), Mille Sabots (Lamballe), Photoreporter Festival (Saint-Brieuc), Banc Public (Saint-Brieuc), Lanvellec Festival (Lanvellec) ), Carnavalorock (Saint- Brieuc), Festival of Street Singers (Quintin).

Economy: agriculture (1st egg producing department, 2nd department producing pigs and calves, 3rd milk producing department), agro-food industry (15,000 jobs), tourism (22.7 million overnight stays), fishing and fish-making (25,500 tons of seafood processed), boating and yachting (33,700 registered boats) ...

Websites and social networks: www.cotesdarmor.fr - www.cotesdarmor.com - facebook.com/cotesdarmornotreDepartement - twitter.com/cotesdarmor22

Km 146.5

Bon Repos Abbey

On the banks of the Nantes to Brest canal, the Cistercian abbey of Bon-Repos, the historical necropolis of the Rohan family, is now the perfect place for a cultural, historical and relaxing halt. Founded in 1184 by Alan III of Rohan and Constance of Brittany, it went through periods of prosperity and crises definitely interrupted by the French Revolution. Decayed, the 18th century building was patiently restored by members of the Association of Bon-Repos companions, and is now one of the main monuments of Central Britanny. In 1988, the restoration was rewarded by a prize handed by the French Culture ministry. The abbey is now home to exhibitions, modern art works and several cultural events.

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