June 11, 2014- I left Vannes fairly late in the morning, on that Wednesday. One last run down to Daily Gourmand, and I was set, nutrition-wise. Arriving at the train station, I learned that there was no train to Brest, the port in western Brittany which was my destination for the day. There was a bus, but I “probably missed it”. I went over to Gare Routiere, anyway, and lo and behold, the bus was still there.
We passed through some lovely places, en route to Finisterre (“Land’s End”, in French). The first was Landevert.
I was able to catch a few glimpses of Lorient, which happens to be the site of an International Celtic Festival, the very week that I am writing this.
A few kilometers later, came the lovely channel port of Hennebont.
should certainly not be confused with its larger cousin,
The latter is the home of a large museum of Breton culture, and is one of the more traditional centers of all things Bretagne, being the administrative center of Finisterre.
After more meanders through this exquisite region, I came to Le Rade, and Brest.
I was lucky in my choice of hotels. Bellevue is run by a very sweet family, who prepared breakfast for me, emportee, as I had to leave for the train to Rennes at 5 AM.
They close the doors at 9 PM, though, so I made a relatively brief visit to Jardin de Port and to the Chateau de Brest. The head of the Brest peninsular area, the mouth of Riviere Penfield, hosts a large French naval base, and the National Maritime Museum, in the same complex. Nearby, there is also Tour Americain- built to commemorate the U.S. effort in World War I, for which Brest was of high significance.
Here are views of Le Jardin de Port and of the port itself.
As I came to the ramparts of the chateau, I spotted Tour Americain.
The steps nearby take the visitor down to the bottom terrace of Jardin de Port.
The Breton composer, Jean Cras, was born, and lived most of his life, in Brest. His naval heritage, as well as his culture, framed the intensity of his music. His memorial is here, at the west end of Jardin de Port.
Now, for a few views of Chateau de Brest.
Parts of this structure were built by the Romans. The last section was the work of the great military strategist, Sebastian de Vauban, who tore down the Roman castellum and built a more solid tower, in 1690.
The French have put up a cenotaph, in commemoration of the survival of the people of Brest, in two World Wars.
I would focus more fully on the Chateau, if I ever get back to Brest. I would also get over to Distrite Saint Marc- an isolated, but distinctive preserved neighbourhood. This is as close as I got to St. Marc,on the late evening of June 11.
The next day would be all Real World- courtesy of the still roiling French rail strike. Brest, though, would carry on like clock work.