Rare building preserved from the bombardments of the Second World War, it is no exaggeration to qualify the National Museum of the Navy of Brest as one of the architectural jewels of North Finistère. Embark on a visit to a medieval fortress recounting Finistère’s maritime and military past, also including access to the ramparts overlooking the prefecture, the base and a panoramic view of the mythical harbour.
Rich collections in a place steeped in history
How not to be interested in the Navy when we talk about Brest? The port metropolis and this military fringe are as inseparable as starboard and port. This is why the National Maritime Museum of Brest retraces the history of the city sung by Christophe Miossec while insisting on the techniques of siege and armament. You don’t need to be a specialist to appreciate the collection of ships, life in the penal colony and the presentation of the arsenal. Starting from the Gallo-Roman and retracing the thread until today, passing through the seventeenth century – when Vauban began the fortification of the prefecture of Finistère – you will navigate through the heart of various eras in a medieval fortress that has become a military place of first order.
Storytelling tours day and night
In order not to be confined to the beach in summer or to visit a museum during the spring or even winter season, know that the National Maritime Museum is open throughout the year. Big advantage for lovers of medieval atmosphere offering chills from the castle built on a rocky outcrop: night visits are on the program. With a guide or in the form of tales, sometimes dramatized, there is bound to be a visit that will suit you. Note that the Museum offers (audio)guides in a foreign language, which is necessary to fully appreciate the La Pérouse exhibition.
Take the swell between models and paintings
It’s a safe bet that young audiences will flock to the models and the myriad of frigate models. A guide will introduce you to the steamboat designed by Jouffroy d’Abbans through a model of a machine dating from 1784. The imposing size of certain galleys will remain in your memory, like Napoleon I’s imperial boat, two years old centuries.
That said, browsing the National Maritime Museum in Brest without stopping in front of Julien Le Blant’s pictorial work (« The Crew’s Dinner ») would be like staying at the quay. It’s hard to sum up in a few words the unmissable marvels of the place, but the preparatory work for the decor of the grand salon of the first classes of the liner Normandy will amaze you. This ice wall panel supported on a gold and silver metal support, with a painting on the reverse, has not aged a bit since 1934.
Brest National Maritime Museum: Practical information and tips
To prevent the children from making you capsize with impatience in the waiting line, it is advisable to obtain your tickets in advance from the tourist office. In addition to earning a handful of euros, this skip the line is not negligible during the holiday period. Families with young children, and enthusiasts wanting to review a detail, will appreciate knowing that a ticket issued in the morning allows you to return in the afternoon. Children and teenagers aged 7 to 17 can win a place to visit the museum by drawing « the craziest of castles ». The « Camoufle le château » competition runs until December 31. More information on the official website of the Brest National Maritime Museum: http://www.musee-marine.fr/brest
Address: Brest Castle, Boulevard de la Marine, 29200 Brest
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Price: Full price entry: €7 audioguide included.
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