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The Best of Brest France

Updated: Sep 10, 2023

Brest, a city in Brittany, France that offers a range of attractions and activities for visitors. My visit to this city was brief but wonderful. You can notice in the pictures that the streets were pretty empty and that was because it was not a normal day in France, it was May Day (May 1st). So many places were closed due to the holiday, but it was great to wander the streets and explore. Here is a list of the best places to check out, best accommodations for any price range, and best food options also. And of course, there will be a little bit of history included.

Wall near cruise port harbor
Wall near cruise port harbor

Brest is also a cruise port for some cruise ships offering European Ports, or Transatlantic Cruises. Brest is a walkable city, but there are many hills. Walking up from the cruise port area to the main city will be rough because the city is above the harbor area (but the wall there is so cool to see) You don't have to walk, there are other ways to get around the city. Brest is also the best place to start a tour of the Brittany area to all the little villages nearby, that show off their medieval charm. Driving through Brittany is amazing, visit the Abers area which is coastal with cliffs and cute villages. If you are in the area for a while, I highly recommend a 2.5-hour drive to Mont Saint Michel which is breathtaking.


Chateau de Brest
Chateau de Brest

Brest,France has a rich history that is closely tied to its castle and the sea. It has been a significant location since the Middle Ages when the history of Brest was primarily the history of its castle. In 1631, Richelieu transformed Brest into a military harbor, leading to considerable growth around its arsenal.

One of the city's most notable historic structures is Château de Brest, a massive fortress that has protected the harbor for approximately 1700 years. Interestingly, this impressive medieval fortress was once owned by King Richard II of England. Nearby are the ruins of a tower that was built during the time of the Romans occupied this area.

Me at the castle
Me at the castle (Chateau de Brest)

In the 20th century, during World War I, Brest held strategic importance. The U.S. Navy, along with the French Navy, established a Naval Operating Base in Brest in June 1917 to engage German submarines, making it a pivotal location during the war.

Since the 17th century, Brest's history has been linked to the sea. The Académie de Marine (Naval Academy) was established here in 1752, further cementing the city's maritime significance.

Today, Brest France is known for being a blend of ancient and modern, with its beautiful natural harbors and a successful blend of historical landmarks and contemporary lifestyle. It is a testament to the city's resilience and rich history.


Walking the streets of Brest
Walking the streets of Brest
  • National Maritime Museum: This museum houses a the best collection of artifacts showcasing Brest's long naval history. This is inside the Brest Castle.

  • Tanguy Tower, located just across the river from Brest Castle. Built at some point in the 1300's now houses the Museum of History for Brest, which I recommend.

  • Les Ateliers des Capucins: An old industrial cathedral turned cultural hub, it's a great place to explore art, food, and culture. It is the best place to people watch.

  • Jardin du Conservatoire Botanique National de Brest: A beautiful botanical garden with an extensive collection of endangered plants from around the world.

  • Stroll down rue de Saint-Malo: This historic street is perfect for a leisurely walk, with its quaint shops and cafes. There are also walking tours I highly recommend, and at around 16 Euro's that is the best deal, so you can learn some history too.

  • Océanopolis: A large ocean discovery park, where you can learn about marine life through interactive exhibits.

View to the Harbor
View to the Harbor
  • Take a Boat to the Islands: Explore the nearby islands with a boat tour from Brest France. If boats are not your thing try driving the Crozon's Peninsula Drive. Driving the coast is the best.

  • 360° views of Brest France: Get a panoramic view of the city from a high vantage point. Best view of the city.

  • Walk along the Quayside: Enjoy a scenic walk along the harbor, dotted with restaurants and shops.

  • Musée de la Marine: Another museum dedicated to naval history, with a focus on the World War II era.

  • Pointe de Pen-Hir: A stunning cliffside spot offering breathtaking views of the sea. It is the best.

Budget-Friendly Restaurants:

Flowers at a park in Brest
Flowers at a park in Brest
  • My Fish: Has the best fish and chips. Cheap plates and great eats. If on a budget come here.

  • Yokota Ramen: A favorite among locals and tourists, this restaurant serves authentic Japanese ramen at a reasonable price.

  • Le Bistrot Breton: A place where you can enjoy traditional Breton cuisine, including savory crepes and seafood dishes, at affordable prices. The Breton Crepes are a must in this area, they are known for. The "La Complete" is a regional favorite with ham and eggs their famous buckwheat crepe. They are the best. The rest of France makes theirs different.

  • The Med's Cuisine Anatolienne: Offers Turkish and Middle Eastern dishes at a reasonable cost. Get the Baklava Parfait when you visit.

Upscale Restaurants:

Pont de Recouvrance (bridge)
Pont de Recouvrance (bridge)
  • La Maison de L'Océan: This seafood restaurant prides itself on using fresh, local ingredients. It's a bit more expensive but worth it for the quality. This is one of the best restaurants in France in my opinion.

  • Hinoki: This is a sushi restaurant that is absolutely amazing. So fancy, and the best quality sushi you can find in Brest France.

  • Les Maraichers: This restaurant is known for its high-quality French cuisine using fresh, local produce. This is the best Vegan restaurant in Brest.

  • Le M: This place is known for its modern interpretation of classic dishes and its insistence on only using high-quality fresh ingredients.

Accommodations: In case you are visiting not from a cruise ship.

A Magpie! The first European Magpie I seen.
A Magpie! The first European Magpie I seen.
  • Logis Hotel Center: Rated 8.2, this hotel has received very good reviews from 2,279 guests. The price per night starts from $103.

  • Kyriad Hotel Brest: With a rating of 7.9, this hotel is considered good by 1,452 reviewers.

  • B&B Hotel Brest Port du Moulin Blanc: This hotel offers great views and proximity to the port.

  • Hôtel Barracuda & Spa, Centre Port: Located right by the water, this hotel offers sea views and a relaxing spa. This place is the best, absolutely beautiful view.

Tanguy Tower
  • Best Western Plus Europe Hotel: Part of a well-known chain, this hotel offers reliable service and comfortable accommodations.

  • Ibis Budget Brest Centre Port: A more budget-friendly option, this hotel is part of the internationally recognized Ibis chain.

  • Formule 1 Brest Sud Plougastel: This budget-friendly hotel offers basic amenities at an affordable price, starting from $44 per night.

  • Terres de France - Appart-Hotel - Brest: If you prefer self-catering accommodations, this aparthotel could be a good choice.

looking out into the bay
Looking out into the bay

Remember, prices can vary based on the season, availability, and any ongoing promotions. It's always a good idea to check recent reviews and book in advance for the best rates. There are also hostels in the area if you are interested in the cheapest stay. France has some of the best. There are some nice one's. Check out Hostelworld, it is the best for checking out hostels anywhere in the world. Click on the picture at the bottom of the page, or the link on the name, and I can get you deals.

I hope you have enjoyed my little blog about the best that this great city has to offer. As you can tell there is plenty to do and see here in Brest, France. So, take a trip and have an adventure. Also, be sure to say Bonjour! It is always best to start a conversation with the French in their language. I never had a problem talking to anyone in France, as long as I started with Bonjour, never start just speaking English, start with some French. Enjoy your stay in Brest!

Cruise Critic
Crystal Travel

This post contains affiliate links, if you click on them and purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

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