Located in Brittany in northwestern France, Brest is a port city nestled on the banks of Penfeld River. The city has a number of historic sites, including Tour Tanguy, a tower from medieval times. Brest also features Oceanopolis Aquarium and National Botanical Conservatory. The city is famous for its naval base and rich maritime history. However, one of its most iconic sites is the medieval Château de Brest (or Brest Castle), which houses National Navy Museum. Pop over to the official website for Brest to learn more or visit the official website for Château de Brest. Also, scroll below to read a guide to Château de Brest in France.
Things to do / Highlights
Château de Brest or Castle of Brest is the oldest monument in Brest, Finistère, France, that is still in continuous use. The monument can be found at the mouth of Penfeld River. The castle is unique in the city of Brest—during World War II, the area was destroyed by bombing, but the castle survived the onslaught. The structure stands tall on a rocky outcrop in the heart of the city and offers views of the surroundings. Brest Castle was classified as a Monument Historique on March 21, 1923. It stands across the river from Tour Tanguy, which was also built to defend the entrance to Penfeld River.
National Navy Museum
Brest Castle houses Musée National de la Marine or National Navy Museum. The building dates back to Gallo-Roman times in the 17th century.
It is possible to visit the eerie dungeon in the castle, which was used as a prison in the old days.
Explore the ramparts of the castle while enjoying views over the bay, the city of Brest, and the surrounding area.
The following towers can be seen in this site, dating from various eras: Azenor Tower (13th century), Duchesse Anne Tower (14th century), Sourdeac Bastian (16th century), and Donjon Tower (16th century).
The naval museum in Château de Brest features exhibits relating to both the history of Brest and its military history—the French Navy and the Brest Arsenal. Other exhibits relate to armament and military technology. More naval sights are captured in the works of art on the museum’s walls.
Among the models in the museum are a number of frigates, galleys, battleships, and liners. These include Jouffroy Abbans Steamer from 1784, an armored frigate from 1859, a model of a ship canon from 1720, and many more.
Outside the museum
Out in the fresh air, visitors can view various exhibits including a German WWII submarine and other mini-submarines.
Château de Brest and National Navy Museum are open to the public all year round except on certain holidays. It is always wise to check out the website before visiting for possible changes in schedules. Narrated and guided tours are available in English, French, German, Spanish, and Italian, which give more detail about the exhibits in the museum.
Regrettably, a visit to National Navy Museum is not suitable for those visitors in a wheelchair. This is mainly because of the ancient design of the place.
Due to its military nature, no photos are allowed inside National Navy Museum. Other areas, though, offer opportunities for picture-taking.
How to get there
To reach Château de Brest and National Navy Museum on foot from the center of the city, the quickest route is via Boulevard Jean Moulin, which takes approximately 12 minutes to cover the 950-meter (0.6 mi) distance. Other routes are via Boulevard Jean Moulin and Place du Général de Gaulle or Rue du Château, which spans a distance of 1 kilometer (0.62 mi) and takes approximately 13 minutes.
Driving from the center of Brest to Château de Brest and National Navy Museum is most convenient via Boulevard Jean Moulin, which takes only three minutes. Check out the directions on Google Maps for more information.
Convenient parking garages nearby include Parking Q-Park Brest Liberté in Place de la Liberté and a parking lot at 76 Boulevard des Français Libres Parking.
By public transport
To get to Château de Brest and National Navy Museum by public transport, catch the nos. 1 and 21 line bus from the city center.
Uber is available in the city of Brest—simply download the Uber app.
How to buy tickets
Tickets can be purchased at the box office of Château de Brest and National Navy Museum. While the normal ticket price is 7 EUR (7.60 USD), reduced admission is available for families and students. The ticket also includes a free audioguide in your preferred language. The various payment methods accepted here are bank cards, bank checks, traveler’s checks, and cash. The box office closes at 5:30pm. Find out more by heading to the museum’s practical information web page.
Château de Brest information
Château de Brest
Address: Château de Brest, Boulevard de la Marine, Brest, France
Opening hours: 1:30pm - 6pm (daily)
Price: 7 EUR (7.60 USD)
Official website: National Navy Museum
Department of tourism: Brest Metropolitan Tourist Office
The "Best of Brest" Guided Walking Tour Around The City
Duration: 90 to 120 minutes
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