Brest (France)

Travel Guide Europe France Bretagne Brest



Totally lost

Totally lost

© Askalt

Brest is an important port city in the Finistère department in the French region of Bretagne. The city has around 150,000 inhabitants.

The military harbour was developped from the 17th century on the initiative of Colbert, minister of Louis XIV. Since then the city has always been a French speaking place in the middle of Breton speaking territories.

The town was almost complety destroyed by Allied bombing during the second World War and was rebuilt in a hurry after German defeat.



Sights and Activities

  • OCEANOPOLIS - Large aquarium composed of 3 parts: Polar, Tropical and Temperate pavillons Hours: according the season
  • Musée de la Marine - Navy Museum located in Brest castle
  • Le Vallon du Stang Alar - Large botanical garden with many preserved species
  • La Rade de Brest - One of the most beautiful natural harbour in Europe



Events and Festivals

Since 1992 and every 4 years, Brest hosts around July 14th a large gathering of old sailing ships coming from all over the world.




Oceanic temperate climate. Supposed to be one of the most rainy places in France with around 1,150 mm of rain a year on about half of the days (157). Average highs range from around 9 °C in January to 20-21 °C in July and August. Lows are between 4 °C and 13 °C respectively.

Avg Max9.1 °C9.4 °C11 °C12.5 °C15.6 °C18.1 °C20.4 °C20.6 °C18.7 °C15.3 °C11.9 °C10 °C
Avg Min4.2 °C4.2 °C5.1 °C5.8 °C8.5 °C10.8 °C12.8 °C13 °C11.4 °C9.3 °C6.5 °C5.2 °C
Rainfall138.4 mm115.8 mm97.5 mm81.8 mm72.6 mm56.4 mm50.9 mm60.4 mm89.2 mm119.1 mm121 mm141.6 mm
Rain Days17.614.614.611.911.



Getting There

By Plane

Brest Bretagne Airport (BES) offers flights to most major French cities and seasonal flights to Dublin, London, Birmingham, Manchester, Southampton, Barcelona, Porto and Dakar.

By Train

SNCF proposes TGV connections to Rennes and Paris and regular trains to Quimper and Nantes.

By Car

Easy access through 4-lanes roads from Rennes (245 kilometres east) and from Quimper (80 kilometres south).





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Keep Connected


France is one of the best connected countries in the world, with data speed for upload/download ranked among the top 5 in the world. Most hotels and hostels would have in-house facilities to provide free internet access. Many major cities also have initiatives put in place to provide free wi-fi connection in public spaces. Alternatively there are internet cafés available in most cities/towns at a reasonable rate. Some private businesses, such as local cafés (or even the Starbuck's chain), may also provide wi-fi connectivity - keep an eye out for the signs by the shop windows/doors. Also look for the @ symbol prominently displayed, which indicates internet availability. However, with most homes now wired for the internet, cyber cafés are increasingly hard to find, especially outside the major cities.


See also: International Telephone Calls

To dial an international number from France, the IDD is 00, followed by the country code that you wish to dial, the area code and the phone number.
To call France from abroad, start with the international direct dialing (IDD) code from the country you're in, followed by French country code 33, the area code (drop the first zero in front of the area code), and the phone number. French telephone numbers are rarely given without the area code. The telephone number, including the area code, is made up of 10 digits. They are written in a set of 5 pairs of digits (i.e. 01 xx xx xx xx xx).
In France, the area code designations are: 01 - Paris Area ("Région Ile-de-France"), 02 - northwest, 03 - northeast, 04 - southeast, 05 - southwest, 06 - mobile phone providers. From 2010 onwards, 07 will also be assigned to mobile phone providers in order to cater for the surging demands for mobile phones.

Emergency numbers are 15 (medical aid), 17 (police station) and 18 (fire/rescue). You can also use the European emergency number 112 (perhaps a better choice if you don't speak French). These calls are free and accessible from virtually any phone, including locked cellphones.

France uses the GSM standard of cellular phones (900 MHz and 1800 MHz bands) used in most of the world outside of the U.S. There are several companies (Orange, SFR, Free, Bouygues Télécom and some others MVNOs like Virgin Mobile) offering wireless service. The country is almost totally covered but you may have difficulties using your mobile phone in rural or mountainous areas. If you stay for some time, it may be advisable to buy a pre-paid cell phone card that you can use in any phone that supports the GSM standard on the 900/1800 MHz bands. Then incoming calls and SMSes are free.


La Poste in France is also referred to as the PTT (short for postes, télégraphes et téléphones). The mailboxes are painted bright yellow and often there is a slot for local city mail and another slot for "outside mail". Normally there is a queue in the post office, but most of the post offices have the self service machine installed which is quite easy to operate. Nowadays many of the tabac and even some of the souvenir shops also sell postage stamps. Normally an overseas postcard costs almost as much as sending a letter. Mails sent in France also have a zip code. The first two numbers represent the administrative department (e.g. in Paris' case that would be 75).

Post offices are generally open from 8:00am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday, and 8:00am to noon on Saturdays. Apart from the basic job of mailing letters, most of the post offices do some banking activities also and some even have photocopy machines and cyber cafes for internet access.

For international package services, you might also check options with companies like DHL, UPS or TNT, which have competitive services and prices and might be faster in most cases.


Accommodation in Brest (France)

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This is version 25. Last edited at 3:41 on Aug 2, 17 by sleepBot. 7 articles link to this page.

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