Brest is a lively port city set at the mouth of the Penfeld River. An excellent maritime museum charts the city’s seafaring past, while a world-class aquarium and botanic garden appeal to families. More than 20,000 students attend the University of Western Brittany and give the city a lively and youthful feel.
Things to do in Brest
Sharks, seals and turtles are just some of the marine animals you can see at the world-class Océanopolis aquarium. Watch playful penguins in the polar zone and marvel at colourful coral reefs in the tropical pavilion.
Overlooking the harbour, the National Maritime Museum charts the rich seafaring history of Brest. The museum occupies a centuries-old chateau and features exhibits on the proud narrative of the French navy. The ramparts command sweeping views over the harbour.
Across the river, Tour Tanguy is a medieval tower that’s been reimagined as a local history museum. Inside the 14th-century stronghold you can learn about everything from French royalty to the devastating World War II bombings.
The sprawling National Botanical Conservatory occupies more than 30 hectares and showcases trees, plants and flowers from around the world. Step inside the steamy greenhouses to admire prickly cacti from Mexico, fragrant orchids from Colombia and lush succulents from Madagascar.
From upscale chef-driven restaurants to casual bistros, Brest offers excellent places to drink and dine. Seafood is a local speciality, with many restaurants serving oysters, sardines and scallops caught off the Breton coast. For dessert, indulge in Kouign Amann, a traditional cake made with lashings of butter.
Getting around Brest
Brest is pedestrian-friendly and easy to get around on foot, while bicycles are an eco-friendly way to explore the city. Brest Bretagne Airport is a 15-minute drive from the city centre. Trains run between Brest and Paris in around 4.5 hours.