One of the advantanges of living in France is that no matter where you are there is always something wonderfully beautiful to visit. I am Lucky to have found Brittany, and my regular weekends with the family is to go into these wonderful places even just for a day trip. This Saturday, we went to Concarneau, recently name by France 3 television of the top preferred monuments to visit by the French people. It is about 89 kms from my house or about 55 miles in the neighbor department of Finistére no 29.
The tourist office is here ,http://www.tourismeconcarneau.fr/ and the mayor’s office tourist section is here http://www.concarneau.fr/ville/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=162&Itemid=979&lang=fr
the city has a huge amount of parking and a nice train station with regular bus services as well, even on a Saturday their passing was often and regular. We park by the tourist office to be central and there is additional parking in front of the entrance to the ville close. The train line to Paris Montparnasse is at nearby Rospoden with direct bus service to city center Concarneau.
In town you have the covered market or halles a site not to missed. Plenty of hôtels and restos all along the bay makes it nice for choices. But speaking of choices, the main attraction here is the ville close. This was built in the end of the middle ages and subsequent rénovations and additions throughtout to 1889.
Facing the land, towers of artillery or Major (to the North) and the Gouverneur or Governor (in the South) bordering the front entrance and the ravelin are reinforced by a liner granite several metres thick in the 16C and the 17C. To stagger the defense-in-depth, Vauban adapts a new gate with drawbridge and ditch behind the halfpipe. Side sea, Vauban endows the enclosure of ducking doorways to the places best facing the entry pass: the Tower of iron horse (tour du fer à cheval) and facing the inner harbour: the new Tower or Neuve. In July 1695, Vauban himself (he is still Commander of upper and lower Brittany!) was deliver to Concarneau at the Château du Taureau of ammunition to put it in a State of defence. The parapets are raised and drilled slot of shooting while a powder magazine and a new barracks are built (1837). The island of Conq becomes at the end of the 19C a fueling station for the French mobile torpedo boats.
Archaeological excavations undertaken these past 30 years helped to rediscover a typology of embrasures (slits, slits-gunships, gunships, ducking doorways, niches of shooting etc.), gates and posterns… that to better understand the history of this city. Some of the most interesting aspects of these fortifications are here:
Les Dames tronconic defensive walls impeding the access to the towers from outside. The corps de garde semi circular square to avoid getting to the bridge done in 1694, and the entry point to the ville close today too. The beffroi or belltower done in 1906 houses the clock visible from the city and its emblem. It has walls or courtines of granite with a thickness of 2,5 meters to 3 meters all along the city. The tour du Major, done in 1691 also called tour des munitions or ammunitations surrounded by figurines of breton origins and now shown totaly after excavations around the museum of fishing. The tour du gouverneur, the tour de la Fortune also call tour du masson, the origins remains a mystery, its one of the oldest part of the city. The tour Neuve or tour du moulin à poudré from the 19C, the Tour du Vin, or tour de la porte du vin, cylindrical form and not walled done around the 15C; Tour du passage also known as tour de Chambertin, Istim or Larrons dates from the 15C. The tour aux Chiens, also known as Tour du port or tour de l’essence, from the 16C. The tour le Fer à Cheval, also known as tour Eperon, it is from the 16C serve as battery canons in the 19C, it was found remains of an older tower from the 13C, it had three levels with the bottom one having a chimney and two Windows; The tour du Maure or moors, also known as tour du connétable done in 1753, still today not found why call like this.
You have a well protected harbor and a huge basin on the other side of the ville close with lovely quaints boats and ships. You can take the bac or taxi boat between the ville close and the passage district 90 cents for 2 minutes of traverse, the smallest boat tour on record. The site from the city in French is here, http://www.concarneau.fr/ville/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=161&Itemid=977&lang=fr . Not to missed the wonderul musée de la pêche or fishing museum with wonderful collection of boat models in scale and paintings sea fishing items, lovely and only 4,50€ on the main street of the ville close rue de Vauban, site here http://www.musee-peche.fr/
You have the colorful shopping of the area best fish, sardines especially a major port. Conserverie Courtin is lovely and well stock with delicious stuff, right on the ville close too, http://www.conserverie-courtin.com/ ; the wonderful chocolates and caramels of Georges Larnicol , http://www.chocolaterielarnicol.fr/content/12-nos-boutiques; the wonderful bargains at Marine & Co all made in Brittany, fashion a la Breton. http://www.pagesmode.com/boutique/sellier-concarneau great polos sweaters, rainjackets at good prices here and all locally made.
Come to see the yeararound festivities of the ville close, this time from Deizekilibre group, chants and performers all thru the town. http://www.antopya.com/deizekilibre/ see the photos on street performers. or the nice promenades at sea from the Vedettes de l’Odet, info here , http://www.vedettes-odet.com/index.php/en/overview-glenan-islands .
We did not stay at the hotel des Grand Voyageurs as we can do it easily in one day, however, it is a nice place to stay across from Ville Close main entrance and parking just in front at pl du 8 mai 1945. We did try their restaurant and the service was impeccably great, fast friendly ,and good. The price a menu du jour for 13,80€ including a galette la speciale with ham, goat cheese, kir breton for apero (cider and white wine), a cup of cider brut, coffee expresso, dessert of crêpe chocolate or caramel, and delicious, a find. http://www.hotel-concarneau.com/
Not to forget a delicious homemade ice cream at 4 rue Vauban ville close by FK. Four scoops 4,50€.
We took the road D783 to Quimperlé,Pont Aven, etc glorious trip back home passing the Britt brewery, lol!! at Trégunc , if you want to pick up some on way home, local beer Breton, http://www.britt.fr/ and the day was another success !!! Enjoy Brittany! Cheers