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Brest, France

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For the city in Belarus, see Brest, Belarus.

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Brest, at the tip of
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Brest, at the tip of Brittany

Brest (population of the city: 146,000 inhabitants as of 2004 estimates; population of the metropolitan area: 303,484 inhabitants as of 1999 census) is a city in the Bretagne rgion, north-west France, subprefecture of the Finistre dpartement. Located on the western tip of the Brittany peninsula, the city is an important port and naval base.

The military harbor was fortified by Vauban (1633-1707). During World War II, the Germans held a large submarine base in Brest. Destroyed at the end of the war, the city has been rebuilt.

Since 1901 Brest has served as the midpoint for the epic 1200km bicycle endurance event, Paris-Brest-Paris.

Due to its location, Brest is regarded as the first French port that can be accessed from the Americas, and hence shipping is big business, although Nantes and St. Nazaire offer much larger docks and attract more of the larger vessels.

Brest is located amidst dramatic landscape at the end of a natural bay, at the west end of the Britanny peninsula. Its protected location means that it is ideal to receive any type of ship, from the smallest dinghy to the biggest airplane carrier (the USS Nimitz has visited a few times). It is at the heart of Brittany, and the local people are extremely proud of this. Breton is spoken here, albeit not as an official language (in the same vein as other French minority languages). The city is host to several events to celebrate its long maritime history, the largest of which happens every four years, when the town organises a tall ship meeting.

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Tourist attractions

Le Musee de la Tour Tanguy houses a collection of dioramas that depict the city of Brest on the eve of World War II. The Muse de la Marine de Brest contains exhibits which outline Brest's maritime tradition. There is also an aquarium, the Ocanopolis marine centre.

The town of Brest itself is not very attractive, apart from a few select monuments such as the Castle and the Tour Tanguy. This is due to the British and American pilots who bombed the town during World War II, in an attempt to destroy the submarine base the Germans had built in the harbour. The town was hastily rebuilt in the 1950s using a large amount of concrete.

A few kilometres out of town, there are more impressive landscapes, from sandy beaches to tall granite cliffs. Sunbathing, windsurfing, yachting and fishing are practised in the area. However, even in the middle of summer, Brittany can be stormy, due to its location in the far northwest of France.

Mayors

  • 1959-1973 : Georges Lombard
  • 1973-1977 : Eugne Berest
  • 1977-1982 : Francis Le Bl
  • 1982-1983 : Pierre Maille
  • 1983-1985 : Jacques Berthelot
  • 1985-1989 : Georges Kerbrat
  • 1989-2001 : Pierre Maille again
  • 2001- : Franois Cuillandre

Food in Brest

Restaurants in Brest have a wide variety of seafood. Fresh fish is featured on practically every menu and you can even find a few fish only restaurants. Local markets and supermarkets also offer lots of seafood.

Brittany's most famous local delicacy, the Breton crpe, is another culinary feature. There are many crpe restaurants (called "crperies") and Breton cider may also be drunk.

Traditional biscuits include Traou Mad which is a full fat butter biscuit, somewhat similar to Scottish shortbreads.

External link

de:Brest (Frankreich) fr:Brest (France) it:Brest (Francia) ja:ブレスト nl:Brest (Frankrijk) pl:Brest ro:Brest, Franţa simple:Brest (France)

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