Brest, France

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Brest
Brest - Le Chateau - PA00089847 - 011.JPG
A view of the Tour Tanguy with the Château de Brest in the background.
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Flag
Blason ville fr Brest (Finistere).svg
Coat of arms
Location of Brest
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Brest
Bretagne region location map.svg
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Brest
Coordinates: 48°23′N4°29′W / 48.39°N 4.49°W / 48.39; -4.49 Coordinates: 48°23′N4°29′W / 48.39°N 4.49°W / 48.39; -4.49
Country France
Region Brittany
Department Finistère
Arrondissement Brest
Canton Brest-1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Intercommunality Brest Métropole
Government
  Mayor (20142020) François Cuillandre (PS)
Area
1
49.51 km2 (19.12 sq mi)
Population
 (2016-01-01) [1]
142,629
  Density2,900/km2 (7,500/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+01:00 (CET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code
29019 /29200
Elevation0–103 m (0–338 ft)
(avg. 34 m or 112 ft)
Website Official website
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km2 (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.

Brest (French pronunciation:  [bʁɛst] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); [2] Breton pronunciation:  [bʀest] [3] ) is a port city in the Finistère département in Brittany. Located in a sheltered bay not far from the western tip of the peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, [4] Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon. The city is located on the western edge of continental Europe. With 142,722 inhabitants in a 2007 census, Brest is at the centre of Western Brittany's largest metropolitan area (with a population of 300,300 in total), ranking third behind only Nantes and Rennes in the whole of historic Brittany, and the 19th most populous city in France; moreover, Brest provides services to the one million inhabitants of Western Brittany. [5] Although Brest is by far the largest city in Finistère, the préfecture (regional capital) of the department is the much smaller Quimper.

Finistère Department of France

Finistère is a department of France in the extreme west of Brittany.

Brittany Historical province in France

Brittany is a cultural region in the west of France, covering the western part of what was known as Armorica during the period of Roman occupation. It became an independent kingdom and then a duchy before being united with the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province governed as if it were a separate nation under the crown.

France Republic in Europe with several non-European regions

France, officially the French Republic, is a country whose territory consists of metropolitan France in Western Europe and several overseas regions and territories. The metropolitan area of France extends from the Mediterranean Sea to the English Channel and the North Sea, and from the Rhine to the Atlantic Ocean. It is bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg and (Germany) to the northeast, Switzerland and Italy to the east, and Andorra and Spain to the south. The overseas territories include French Guiana in South America and several islands in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans. The country's 18 integral regions span a combined area of 643,801 square kilometres (248,573 sq mi) and a total population of 67.02 million. France is a unitary semi-presidential republic with its capital in Paris, the country's largest city and main cultural and commercial centre. Other major urban areas include Lyon, Marseille, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Lille and Nice.

Contents

During the Middle Ages, the history of Brest was the history of its castle. Then Richelieu made it a military harbour in 1631. [6] Brest grew around its arsenal until the second part of the 20th century. Heavily damaged by the Allies' bombing raids during World War II, the city centre was completely rebuilt after the war. [7] At the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, the deindustrialization of the city was followed by the development of the service sector. Nowadays, Brest is an important university town with 23,000 students. [8] Besides a multidisciplinary university, the University of Western Brittany, Brest and its surrounding area possess several prestigious French elite schools such as École Navale (the French Naval Academy), Télécom Bretagne and the Superior National School of Advanced Techniques of Brittany (ENSTA Bretagne, formerly ENSIETA). Brest is also an important research centre, mainly focused on the sea, with among others the largest Ifremer (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) centre, le Cedre (Centre of Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution) and the French Polar Institute.

Middle Ages Period of European history from the 5th to the 15th century

In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages lasted from the 5th to the 15th century. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire and merged into the Renaissance and the Age of Discovery. The Middle Ages is the middle period of the three traditional divisions of Western history: classical antiquity, the medieval period, and the modern period. The medieval period is itself subdivided into the Early, High, and Late Middle Ages.

Château de Brest Brest castle

The Château de Brest is a castle in Brest, Finistère, France. The oldest monument in the town, it is located at the mouth of the river Penfeld at the heart of the roadstead of Brest, one of the largest roadsteads in the world. From the Roman castellum to Vauban's citadel, the site has over 1700 years of history, holding right up to the present day its original role as a military fortress and a strategic location of the highest importance. It is thus the oldest castle in the world still in use, and was classified as a monument historique on 21 March 1923.

Cardinal Richelieu French clergyman, noble and statesman

Cardinal Armand Jean du Plessis, Duke of Richelieu, commonly referred to as Cardinal Richelieu, was a French clergyman and statesman. He was consecrated as a bishop in 1607 and was appointed Foreign Secretary in 1616. Richelieu soon rose in both the Catholic Church and the French government, becoming a cardinal in 1622, and King Louis XIII's chief minister in 1624. He remained in office until his death in 1642; he was succeeded by Cardinal Mazarin, whose career he had fostered.

Brest's history has always been linked to the sea: the Académie de Marine (Naval Academy) was founded in 1752 in this city. The aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle was built there. Every four years, Brest hosts the international festival of the sea, boats and sailors: it is a meeting of old riggings from around the world ( Les Tonnerres de Brest ).

Académie de Marine organization

The Royal Naval Academy of France was founded at Brest by a ruling of 31 July 1752 by Antoine Louis de Rouillé, comte de Jouy, Secretary of State for the Navy. This institutionalised an earlier initiative by a group of officers from the Brest fleet headed by the artillery captain Sébastien Bigot de Morogues who all wanted to contribute to the modernisation of the French Navy, a group which had very quickly received the approbation of Louis XV.

French aircraft carrier <i>Charles de Gaulle</i> French aircraft carrier

Charles de Gaulle is the flagship of the French Navy. The ship is the tenth French aircraft carrier, the first French nuclear-powered surface vessel, and the only nuclear-powered carrier completed outside of the United States Navy. She is named after French statesman and general Charles de Gaulle.

Rigging Ropes, cables and chains which support masts of sailing ships

Rigging comprises the system of ropes, cables and chains, which support a sailing ship or sail boat's masts—standing rigging, including shrouds and stays—and which adjust the position of the vessel's sails and spars to which they are attached—the running rigging, including halyards, braces, sheets and vangs.

History

Brest in c. 1700 Carte de Brest - ca 1700 - Bibliotheque Nationale de France - Btv1b8439976x.jpg
Brest in c. 1700
The Maison de la Fontaine in Recouvrance, one of the oldest houses of Brest (end of the 17th century, beginning of the 18th century). Maison de la Fontaine-Brest.jpg
The Maison de la Fontaine in Recouvrance, one of the oldest houses of Brest (end of the 17th century, beginning of the 18th century).

The name of the town is first recorded as Bresta; it may derive from *brigs, a Celtic word for "hill." [9] [7]

Celtic languages Language family

The Celtic languages are a group of related languages descended from Proto-Celtic. They form a branch of the Indo-European language family. The term "Celtic" was first used to describe this language group by Edward Lhuyd in 1707, following Paul-Yves Pezron, who made the explicit link between the Celts described by classical writers and the Welsh and Breton languages.

Nothing definite is known of Brest before about 1240 [ dubious ], when Harvey V, Lord of Léon ceded it to John I, Duke of Brittany. In 1342 John IV, Duke of Brittany surrendered Brest to the English, in whose possession it was to remain until 1397. [6] The importance of Brest in medieval times was great enough to give rise to the saying, "He is not the Duke of Brittany who is not the Lord of Brest." With the marriage of Francis I of France to Claude, the daughter of Anne of Brittany, the definitive overlordship of Brest – together with the rest of the duchy – passed to the French crown in 1491. [6]

Harvey V of Léon was the eldest son of Harvey IV of Léon and his wife Maud of Poissy.

John I, Duke of Brittany French duke

John I, known as John the Red due to the colour of his beard, was Duke of Brittany from 1221 to his death and 2nd Earl of Richmond in 1268.

John IV, Duke of Brittany Duke of brittany

John IV the Conqueror KG was Duke of Brittany and Count of Montfort from 1345 until his death and 7th Earl of Richmond from 1372 until his death.

The advantages of Brest's situation as a seaport town were first recognized by Cardinal Richelieu, who in 1631 constructed a harbour with wooden wharves. This soon became a base for the French Navy. Jean-Baptiste Colbert, finance minister under Louis XIV, rebuilt the wharves in masonry and otherwise improved the harbour. Fortifications by Vauban (1633–1707) followed in 1680–1688. These fortifications, and with them the naval importance of the town, were to continue to develop throughout the 18th century.

Wharf A structure on the shore of a harbor or on the bank of a river or canal where ships dock

A wharf, quay, or staith(e) is a structure on the shore of a harbour or on the bank of a river or canal where ships may dock to load and unload cargo or passengers. Such a structure includes one or more berths, and may also include piers, warehouses, or other facilities necessary for handling the ships. Wharfs are often considered to be a series of docks in which boats are stationed.

French Navy Maritime arm of the French Armed Forces

The French Navy, informally "La Royale", is the maritime arm of the French Armed Forces. Dating back to 1624, the French Navy is one of the world's oldest naval forces. It has participated in conflicts around the globe and played a key part in establishing the French colonial empire.

Jean-Baptiste Colbert French politician

Jean-Baptiste Colbert was a French politician who served as the Minister of Finances of France from 1661 to 1683 under the rule of King Louis XIV.

In 1694, an English squadron under Lord Berkeley was soundly defeated in its attack on Brest.

Gustave Le Gray: la batterie Royale a Brest, 1858 1858 Gustave Le Gray la batterie Royale a Brest.jpg
Gustave Le Gray: la batterie Royale à Brest, 1858

In 1917, during the First World War, Brest was used as the disembarking port for many of the troops coming from the United States. Thousands of such men came through the port on their way to the front lines. The United States Navy established a naval air station on 13 February 1918 to operate seaplanes. The base closed shortly after the Armistice of 11 November 1918. [10]

In the Second World War, the Germans maintained a large U-boat submarine base at Brest. Despite being within range of RAF bombers, it was also a base for some of the German surface fleet, giving repair facilities and direct access to the Atlantic Ocean. For much of 1941, Scharnhorst, Gneisenau and Prinz Eugen were under repair in the dockyards. The repair yard facilities for both submarines and surface vessels were staffed by both German and French workers, with the latter forming the major part of the workforce; huge reliance was made on this French component. [lower-alpha 1] [11] In 1944, after the Allied invasion of Normandy, the city was almost totally destroyed during the Battle for Brest, with only a tiny number of buildings left standing. After the war, the West German government paid several billion Deutschmarks in reparations to the homeless and destitute civilians of Brest in compensation for the destruction of their city. Large parts of today's rebuilt city consist of utilitarian granite and concrete buildings. The French naval base now houses the Brest Naval Training Centre. A wartime German navy memorandum suggested that the town should perhaps serve as a German enclave after the war. [12]

In 1972, the French Navy opened its nuclear weapon-submarine (deterrence) base at Île Longue in the Rade de Brest (Brest roadstead). This continues to be an important base for the French nuclear-armed ballistic missile submarines.

Coat of arms

The meaning of the coat of arms of Brest is half France (the three fleurs-de-lis of the former kingdom of France), half Brittany (semé d'hermine of Brittany). These arms were used for the first time in a register of deliberations of the city council dated the 15 July 1683. [13]

Sights

Rue de Siam (Siam Street) in 2006. Rue de Siam.jpg
Rue de Siam (Siam Street) in 2006.

Brest is best known for its Pont de Recouvrance (Recouvrance Bridge, a massive drawbridge 64 m/210 ft high), the military arsenal and the rue de Siam (Siam Street). The castle and the Tanguy tower are the oldest monuments of Brest.

The Musée de la Tour Tanguy, in the Tanguy tower, houses a collection of dioramas that depict the city of Brest on the eve of World War II. The Musée national de la Marine de Brest, housed in the ancient castle, contains exhibits which outline Brest's maritime tradition, as well as an aquarium, the Océanopolis marine centre. The city also has a notable botanical garden specializing in endangered species, the Conservatoire botanique national de Brest , as well as the Jardin botanique de l'Hôpital d'Instruction des Armées Clermont-Tonnerre .

The city of Brest does not have much remaining historical architecture, apart from a few select monuments such as the castle and the Tanguy tower. This is due to heavy bombing by the Allies during World War II, in an attempt to destroy the submarine base the Germans had built in the harbour. In the 1950s, the town was hastily rebuilt using a large amount of concrete. In Recouvrance, the west bank of the town, there remains an authentic street of the 17th century, Saint-Malo Street.

A few kilometres out of town, there are more impressive landscapes, from sandy beaches to grottos to tall granite cliffs. Sunbathing, windsurfing, yachting and fishing are enjoyed in the area. Brest was an important warship-producing port during the Napoleonic wars. The naval port, which is in great part excavated in the rock, extends along both banks of the Penfeld river.

Geography

Topography of Brest Topographie de brest.jpg
Topography of Brest
Brest and its surrounding area Brest.png
Brest and its surrounding area

Brest is located amidst a dramatic landscape near the entrance of the natural rade de Brest (Brest roadstead), at the west end of Brittany.

It is situated to the north of a magnificent landlocked bay, and occupies the slopes of two hills divided by the river Penfeld. The part of the town on the left bank is regarded as Brest proper, while the part on the right is known as Recouvrance. There are also extensive suburbs to the east of the town. The hillsides are in some places so steep that the ascent from the lower to the upper town has to be effected by flights of steps and the second or third storey of one house is often on a level with the ground storey of the next.

Climate

Brest experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb) in its classic version (due to its location in the Atlantic Ocean and the sea intrusion [15] ) where it shares a considerable moderation shared with other places of the Finistère and islands of Great Britain. Its climatic conditions also resemble Neah Bay, Washington but with summers a little warmer and drier in general than this. [16] [17]

Climate data for Brest (Bretagne Airport), elevation: 103 m, 1981-2010 normals, extremes 1855-present
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)16.8
(62.2)
20.7
(69.3)
25.0
(77.0)
28.2
(82.8)
30.6
(87.1)
34.3
(93.7)
35.2
(95.4)
35.1
(95.2)
35.0
(95.0)
28.2
(82.8)
22.4
(72.3)
19.0
(66.2)
35.2
(95.4)
Average high °C (°F)9.3
(48.7)
9.5
(49.1)
11.5
(52.7)
13.2
(55.8)
16.2
(61.2)
18.7
(65.7)
20.7
(69.3)
20.8
(69.4)
19.1
(66.4)
15.7
(60.3)
12.2
(54.0)
9.9
(49.8)
14.8
(58.6)
Daily mean °C (°F)6.9
(44.4)
6.8
(44.2)
8.4
(47.1)
9.6
(49.3)
12.6
(54.7)
15.0
(59.0)
16.9
(62.4)
17.0
(62.6)
15.4
(59.7)
12.7
(54.9)
9.5
(49.1)
7.3
(45.1)
11.5
(52.7)
Average low °C (°F)4.4
(39.9)
4.1
(39.4)
5.4
(41.7)
6.1
(43.0)
8.9
(48.0)
11.2
(52.2)
13.2
(55.8)
13.2
(55.8)
11.6
(52.9)
9.6
(49.3)
6.7
(44.1)
4.8
(40.6)
8.3
(46.9)
Record low °C (°F)−14.0
(6.8)
−13.4
(7.9)
−4.9
(23.2)
−3.0
(26.6)
−0.2
(31.6)
3.8
(38.8)
6.0
(42.8)
6.0
(42.8)
3.3
(37.9)
−1.5
(29.3)
−6.6
(20.1)
−10.1
(13.8)
−14.0
(6.8)
Average precipitation mm (inches)143.8
(5.66)
111.7
(4.40)
95.8
(3.77)
92.1
(3.63)
79.0
(3.11)
59.8
(2.35)
66.8
(2.63)
66.8
(2.63)
83.3
(3.28)
129.0
(5.08)
134.1
(5.28)
147.8
(5.82)
1,210
(47.64)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm)17.714.014.513.011.38.610.49.610.115.716.917.2159.0
Average snowy days1.72.80.70.30.00.00.00.00.00.00.51.37.3
Mean monthly sunshine hours 61.477.4118.7156.3179.8190.6169.4172.9160.2107.770.764.81,529.8
Source: Meteo France [18] [19] [20]

Transport

Brest Bretagne Airport, main airport of the region of Brittany Aerogare Brest.jpg
Brest Bretagne Airport, main airport of the region of Brittany
The harbour of Brest Brest Harbour.jpg
The harbour of Brest

The railway station of Brest, Gare de Brest, is linked to Rennes and Paris and provides services to other stations in Brittany as well. TGV trains to Paris take approximately three hours and forty minutes to reach the capital.

A new 28 stop, 14.3 km (9 mi) tram line connecting Porte de Plouzané in the west with Porte de Gouesnou and Porte de Guipavas northeast of the city centre opened in June 2012. [23]

Brest international airport, Brest Bretagne Airport, is mainly linked to Paris, London, Nice, Lyon, Dublin. The primarily operator is Air France (via its subsidiary HOP!). Brest international airport is the main airport of the region of Brittany in terms passager traffic with 45% of this traffic of the region, representing 919,404 passengers in 2010. [24] A new terminal has been in service since 12 December 2007 and can accommodate up to 1.8 million passengers annually. [25]

The harbour of Brest is mainly dedicated to bulk, hydrocarbon and freight containers. The harbour's facilities can accommodate the largest modern ships. A cruise ship port is also located in Brest, near the city centre. [26]

Economy

The Penfeld river, historic centre of the arsenal of Brest Jeanne D Arc 4.jpg
The Penfeld river, historic centre of the arsenal of Brest

Due to its location, Brest is regarded as the first French port that can be accessed from the Americas. Shipping is big business, although Nantes and Saint-Nazaire offer much larger docks and attract more of the larger vessels. Brest has the ninth French commercial harbour including ship repairs and maintenance. The protected location of Brest means that its harbour is ideal to receive any type of ship, from the smallest dinghy to the biggest aircraft carrier (USS Nimitz has visited a few times). Naval construction is also an important activity: for example, the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle was built by Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) in Brest.

Despite its image of an industrialised city whose activity depends mainly on military order, the service sector represents 75% of the economic activity. The importance of the service sector is still increasing while industrialised activity is decaying, explaining the unchanged rate of working-class in Brest. Brest also hosts headquarters for many subsidiaries like the banking group Arkéa. Research and conception is taking an increasing importance. Brest claims to be the largest European centre for sciences and techniques linked to the sea: 60% of the French research in the maritime field is based in Brest. [27]

Administration

The city hall, place de la Liberte Hotel de ville brest.JPG
The city hall, place de la Liberté

Breton language

Breton is not commonly spoken in the city of Brest, which was the only French-speaking city in western Brittany before the 1789 French Revolution, despite the surrounding countryside being fully Breton-speaking at that time. Like other French minority languages, Breton does not have any official language status in France.

The municipality launched a linguistic plan to revive Breton as a language through Ya d'ar brezhoneg on 16 June 2006. In 2008, 1.94% of primary-school children attended French-Breton bilingual Diwan schools. [28] Besides bilingual schools, the Breton language is also taught in some schools and universities.

The association Sked federates all Breton cultural activities. [29]

Culture

Sailing boats during "Brest 2004". Bateaux-Brest2004.jpg
Sailing boats during "Brest 2004".

The city is host to several events to celebrate its long maritime history. The largest is held every four years, when the town organises a tall ship meeting. The last such tall ship event is "Les Tonnerres de Brest 2012" .

Brest also hosts an annual short film festival called "Brest European Short Film Festival". The city was the setting for the 1982 art film Querelle , directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Cuisine

Brittany's most famous local delicacy, the Breton crêpe, is the main culinary feature apart from seafood. There are many crêpe restaurants (called crêperies). Breton apple cider is often featured.

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

Sport

Since 1901 Brest has served as the midpoint for the 1,200 km (750 mi) bicycle endurance event, Paris–Brest–Paris. Brest is home to Stade Brestois 29, a football team in Ligue 1.

In 2002 the Brest throwball team Brest LC reached the 1st division of French throwball but were subsequently relegated due to financial difficulty. The club has recently adopted an Irish influenced infrastructure.

The 2008 Tour de France started in Brest. Stage 6 of the 2018 Tour de France will depart in Brest.

Brest is also home to Les Albatros, an ice hockey team in Ligue Magnus, and 2 league titles in the 90's.

Research and education

Universite de Bretagne Occidentale (University of Western Brittany) Universite de Bretagne Occidentale.jpg
Université de Bretagne Occidentale (University of Western Brittany)

Primarily research centre of western Brittany, Brest and its surrounding area is the home of several research and elite educational establishments:

Personalities

Brest was the birthplace of:

International relations

The entrance of the harbour of Brest Brest - Entree du port.jpg
The entrance of the harbour of Brest

Twin towns – Sister cities

Brest is twinned with: [32]

Friendly relationship

Brest has an official friendly relationship (protocole d'amitié) with: [32]


Panorama from the Recouvrance bridge of the castle and the Tanguy tower. 26-04-2005-015.jpg
Panorama from the Recouvrance bridge of the castle and the Tanguy tower.

See also

Notes

  1. For example, by Feb 1941 only 470 German shipyard workers had arrived at Brest, whilst the Naval Arsenal had 6,349 French workers. Though work on capital ships was generally done by Germans, French employees worked extensively on submarines and the smaller military vessels in the surface fleet. German Navy reports indicate that this was a willing workforce and that there were no incidences of sabotage. As well as working on ship repairs, the French provided a significant fire-fighting force to help negate the effect of Allied air raids. This story is balanced by Resistance activity, such as that of Jean Philippon, a French Naval Lieutenant Commander who provided important ship movement intelligence to the Allies for more than a year. This espionage was a key component in the effectiveness of Allied air raids which ultimately led to the removal of German capital ships to safer bases.

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Brest tramway tramway in Brest, France

The Brest tramway located in Brest, Brittany, France consists of a 28-stop, two-branch, 14.3-kilometre (8.9 mi) line connecting Porte de Plouzané in the west with Porte de Gouesnou and Porte de Guipavas northeast of the city centre. The end-to-end journey takes 38 minutes. The system began service on 23 June 2012. It is expected to serve 50,000 passengers per day.

The following is a timeline of the history of the city of Brest, France.

IMT Atlantique leading general engineering school and is internationally recognized for its research, it is part of the Institut Mines-Télécom

IMT Atlantique Bretagne Pays de la Loire is a leading french engineering school which was created on January 1, 2017 through the merger of the École nationale supérieure des mines de Nantes and Telecom Bretagne. It is one of the 210 French engineering schools authorized to award engineering diplomas.

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General

Bibliography