Brest Travel guide

1 / General


Population: 139 676 inhabitants

Area: 49,51 km²

Population Density:2821 inhab/ km² (miles square)

Name of the inhabitants: Brestois, Brestoises

Region: Brittany

Postcode: 29200

2 / Transport

By car

The highway doesn’t pass right by Brest because of its geographic location. Nevertheless, the city is well-serviced thanks to national and departmental roads that connect it to larger highways. First take the A11 and then the A81 to Rennes. This first bit takes around 03h20 and costs €30* (toll roads). From Rennes, about 243 km separate you from Brest (around 02h45 by car). We are happy to remind you that in Brittany, there are no toll roads like in the rest of France, but 4-lane roads, separated by a midway. It is free, but the speed is limited to 110 km/h.
Once in town, you will find about 6000 parking spots. However, those spots don’t have the same pricing policy:
Roadside parking areas
The city counts about 4100 spots divided into 2 zones. During controlled hours, charges apply for parking in Pay and Display Bays (Daily from 9am to 12:30pm and from 2pm to 6:30 pm). As for the pricing, the Orange Zone (maximum stay 2 hours) charges €1,50* per hour and the Green Zone (maximum stay 7 days) charges 1€* per hour.
Covered car parks
Located very close to the city center, you will find no less than 1910 spots scattered in four covered car parks. As for the pricing policy, they all have the same. Each hour costs €1,80*.

Brest train station SNCF

By train

There’s a train leaving Paris (Gare Montparnasse) every hour. If you hop on a direct train, the journey only lasts 04h30. However, if your train calls at Rennes, expect to tavel for about 5 hours. Should you want more information, please visit the SNCF website.

Brest airport

By plane

For those who want to fly to the Finistère, your plane will land at the Brest Bretagne Airport. Located only 10 km away from the city center, you can easily be there in 15 minutes. However, if you don’t have a car, please note that you can take a shuttle to and from the airport. To get on board, you just need a Bibus ticket. It costs €1,45* and you can use it on the entire Bibus network for just one hour.

Getting around town

To go from one end of the city to the other, the Bibus network has everything under control. With 16 bus lines and 1 tram line, you won’t miss any of Brest’s nooks and crannies. A single ticket costs €1,45* and allows you to travel on the entire network for one hour. If you plan to travel more than once a day, the 1 Jour Ticket is exactly what you need. It costs €3,95* and allows you to take the bus and tram as many times as you want for an entire day.

3 / When to go ?

January & February
Created in 2004, the photo festival Pluie d'images enchants many photography-lovers and professionals. Every single place that puts Culture to the foreground hosts exhibitions exploring different themes. Pluie D’Images is the perfect occasion to have a look at beautiful pieces of art and meet photography enthusiasts.

Even the little kiddies have their own festival. Every year, the Festival Petite Marée attracts 6-month-old babies as well as 4-year-old children. On this special occasion, storytellers come to Brest to give life to various and famous tales. Furthermore, the little ones can attend working groups to discover the different spheres of language and imagination.

Come out and see true Bagadoù! Those typicaly Breton troubadours and their bagpipes come to Brest to make the townies dance all day long. Le Printemps des Sonneurs, gathers 400 musicians, 35 dancers, 12 Bagadoù and 1 Bagadic. In April, the streets of Brest are crowded with music-lovers. Many concerts and parades will take place during the day, get ready for a joyful moment!

Astropolis If you like techno music, you will love Astropolis. Famous artists have already stepped on the scene, but this festival also invites new talents. Should you want to have fun and dance all night long, this music festival offers a myriad of musical events. Les Jeudis du Port From July to August, the city doesn’t rest. Music, art, conviviality and good humour are the best ingredients to spend a lively and memorable summer. Created in 1998, Les Jeudis du Port have been attracting more and more people ever since. Join the townies and artists to celebrate theatre arts!

After the music festivals, here is the film festival. Le Festival du Film Court [Short Films] stays in Brest for a week of intense viewing. Several short films coming from all over Europe compete with each other to be the jury’s favourite. There are several competitions, from the most serious to the craziest ones. Ready?

Christmas in Brest
If you’ve always wanted to see Santa’s village, go to the Place de la Liberté. The Christmas Market counts about 40 chalets that will surely enchant you. The aromas of cinnamon, waffles and mulled wine will transport you to this magical place. This market is much more than a journey to Christmas Land, it also takes you back to your childhood thanks to the old merry-go-rounds.

4 / Information and useful addresses

Office du tourisme :

Emergency: 112 (zone Euro, le 112 redirige sur les numéros 15, 17, 18, 115 et 119)

Fire station : 18

Medical emergency : 15

Police : 17

Missing kids: 116

Le Château de Brest :

Le Musée de la Marine :

La Recouvrance :

La Tour Tanguy :

Le Manoir de Keroual :

L’abri Sadi Carnot :

L’ Océanopolis :

5 / Budget in Brest


Average prices for one night in a double room. Prices may vary.

between €30 and €50*:
You will stay in comfortable and cosy hotels, some even having 2 or 3 stars. Cherry on the cake: some of them are very close to the city center.

between €50 and €100*:
You can stay at 2, 3 and even 4-star hotels. Most of them are located at the heart of the city.

Take a look at our website to find a hotel to stay in Brest


Average prices for a menu/ meal for one persone. Prices may vary.

From €2,5 to €5,5*:
The Bagel is the new Burger. The best samples can be found at the Bagel Breizh Whether you like the classic recipes or the fanciful ones, you will find what your palate wishes for. You can eat your bagel with a potato galette or a home-made soup, but whatever the combination is, you will immediately fall in love with what’s in your plate. As for dessert, you can choose between diiferent flavours of cupackes, macarons, crèmes brûlées and pies. Yummy! (Bagel Breizh, 3 rue Glasgow)

From €9 to €33*:
To recharge your batteries, go to Le Coup de Fourchette Expect to spend a good time in a cosy atmosphere and enjoy generous and colourful dishes prepared by talented chefs. This restaurant definitely is a “go to” place! But if you’d rather eat in a lounge restaurant, Le Kube is the perfect address. The subdued lights and generous treats will enchant you for sure! (Le Coup de Fourchette, 21 rue de Lyon) (Le Kube, 2 rue de la 2ème DB)

From €29 to €85*:
If you want to have an amazing time in a bucolic place, you can do so at Le M The menu of this gastronomic restaurant changes according to the various seasons so that you can always taste fresh and new products. Chef Le Bigot takes you on a culinary journey to the land of taste. (Le M, 22 rue Commandant Drogou)

Culinary Specialities: The Breton culinary heritage is very rich, especially when it comes to sweet treats. However, there are also many dishes typical from the Finistère department.

Le Kig Ha Farz It means “Meat and Far” (a Breton cake). This dish comes from the Léon, a region located in the North of Brest. Once considered as the poor man’s dish, this Breton pot-au-feu quickly appeared on everybody’s table. As for the recipe, just put several kinds of meat and vegetables together in the same pot and cook it for 4 hours.

Le Far Breton The recipe is similar to the clafoutis’ one and baking it is as easy as pie. Made of eggs, butter, sugar, flour and milk, you can add prunes or raisins, depending on what you like. There are as many recipes as gourmands. It’s up to you to choose your favourite one!

Le Kouign-Amann Here is the most famous Breton cake. Made of flour, butter and sugar, this treat perfectly combines bread, pastries and viennoiserie. This little piece of heaven first appeared in 1860 and comes from Douardennez. Fun fact : a baker created it by accident! The Kouign-Amann is melty in the inside and crispy and caramelized on the outside. Let’s have a bite, NOW!

6 / Unmissable visits!

Brest castle

  • Le Château de Brest
  • This fortified castle overlooks the city of Brest and its harbour. The first foundations date back to the Roman Empire. It was renovated many times, including by Vauban, but it never stopped being a military fortress. Registered as Historic Monument in 1923, the castle has been turned into the Musée de la Marine.

  • Le Musée de la Marine
  • This is one of the five national maritime museums, the other ones being in Port-Louis, Rochefort, Toulon and Paris. Your travel through time starts even before entering the museum thanks to the castle of Brest. No less than 15 rooms are open to the public: you can have a look at beautiful ship models and archive films.

  • La Recouvrance
  • Take off on board of the beautiful La Recouvrance! This magnificient two-masted schooner is 41 meters long. This ship is the ambassador and property of the town. Whether you get on board for one day or a cruise, you will discover Brest and the maritime world from a new point of view.

  • La Tour Tanguy
  • Its origins date back to the 14th century (around 1340), during the War of the Breton Succession, although we don’t know this for a fact. The tower has been turned into the Museum of the Old Town. You can see models and historical reenactments showing the state of the town back in 1939, meaning before the bombings of World War II.

  • Le Manoir de Keroual
  • Built during the 16th century, you can find this manor in the Keroual forest. If you love techno music, please note that Astropolis has been using this atypical place for its festival since 2002. During World War II, the Germans used the manor as a secret camp. It was set on fire in 1944 during the siege of Brest.

  • L’Abri Sadi Carnot
  • You may have guessed that Brest suffered a lot during World War II. The Sadi Carnot Shelter is the most representative place of all this sufferance. It was built between 1942 and 1943 and aimed at protecting the people of Brest. But on the night of September 9th 1944, a terrible explosion destructed the shelter and thus killed hundreds of people. You can visit the shelter twice a year, on the Anniversary of the Liberation of the city and on Heritage Day.

Brest oceanopolis

  • L’Océanopolis
  • This genuine discovery and research center opened its doors in 1990. Made of four different pavilions (the tropical pavilion, the polar pavilion, the temperate pavilion and the biodiversity pavilion), you can marvel at gigantic aquariums and exotic animals. The Oceanopolis is the perfect place to discover the ocean and have fun at the same time!

*This travel guide was published in July 2015, prices may then vary.

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