***Browse Hotels in Brest, France by comparative pricing
Brest is a city and commune in the Finistère department and
Bretagne region of north-western France.
Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula,
Brest is an important seaport and naval base.
The 1999 census recorded 303,484 inhabitants of the Brest metropolitan area,
while the population of the city itself was estimated in 2004 to number some 146,000.
Although Brest is by far the largest city in Finistère, the préfecture (capital) of the
department is the much smaller commune of Quimper.
read full wikipedia reference about Brest, France
Set in a magnificent natural harbour, known as the Rade de Brest, the city of BREST is doubly sheltered
from the ocean storms by the bulk of Léon to the north and by the Crozon peninsula to the south. It has
always played an important role in war, and in trade whenever peace allowed. Today it is the base of the
French Atlantic Fleet with a dry dock that can accommodate ships of up to 500,000 tonnes; the town,
as a ship repair centre, ranks sixth in the world.
During World War II, Brest was continually bombed to prevent the Germans from using it as a submarine
base. When the Americans liberated it on September 18, 1944, after a six-week siege, they found the
town devastated beyond recognition. The architecture of the postwar town is rather raw and bleak. There have
been attempts, as in Caen, to green the city, but despite the heaviest rainfall in France the site has proved
too windswept to respond
As a tourist centre, a few relics of the past remain. The fifteenth-century castle looks impressive on its
headland and offers a superb panorama of the city. Three of its towers house part
of the collection of the Musée National de la Marine (April-Sept Mon & Wed-Sun 10am-6.30pm,
Tues 2-6.30pm; rest of year Mon & Wed-Sun 10am-noon & 2-6pm, Tues 2-6pm).
The fourteenth-century Tour Tanguy on the opposite bank of the River Penfeld, with its conical slate roof,
serves as the Musée de Vieux Brest (June-Sept daily 10am-noon & 2-7pm; rest of year Wed &
Thurs 2-5pm, Sat & Sun 2-6pm; free). Dioramas convey a vivid impression of just how attractive the city
used to be.
Brest's most up-to-the-minute attraction is Océanopolis , a couple of kilometres east of the city centre
beside the Port de Plaisance du Moulin-Blanc (daily: June-Sept 9am-7pm; rest of year 9am-6pm).
This futuristic complex currently consists of three distinct aquariums and a 3-D cinema. The aquarium
in the main white dome, known as the Temperate Pavilion, focuses on the Breton littoral and Finistère's
fishing industry, holding all kinds of fish, seals, molluscs, seaweed and sea anemones.
The emphasis is very much on the edible, with the displays on the life-cycle of a scallop, for example,
culminating in a detailed recipe. To that has recently been added a Tropical Pavilion, with a tankful of
ferocious-looking sharks plus a myriad of rainbow-hued smaller fish that populate a highly convincing
coral reef, and a Polar Pavilion, complete with polar bears and penguins. Everything's very high-tech,
and perhaps a little too earnest for some visitors' tastes, but it's quite possible to spend an entertaining
day on site - especially if you take the assorted restaurants, snack bars and gift stores into consideration.
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