Brest and its bridges!

And now in my lovely Finistére dept 29 of my beautiful Bretagne and the nice city of Brest. A mariners’ dream and many visits many posts but always something left out. This time I like to tell you about the bridges of Brest we have crossed many times and even walked it!

The Pont de Recouvrance is a lifting bridge which crosses the Penfeld, in Brest. Dominating the arsenal and the military port, it connects the bottom of the rue de Siam to the district of Recouvrance, replacing the swing bridge or National bridge destroyed in 1944 by the Allied bombings. The new bridge was inaugurated on July 17, 1954, it was for a long time the largest lifting bridge in Europe. Each pylon, built in reinforced concrete, is 70 meters high. The current mobile steel span, installed in 2011, is 88 meters long, 15 meters wide, and weighs 625 tons.


A wonderful bridge that we have walked with careful attention of the tramways and taken the wonderful cable car just fun times at Brest!


The Imperial or National Bridge (depending on the period) known as the big bridge inaugurated on June 23, 1861, collapsed in the river in September 1944, during the Allied bombings for the liberation of Brest from the Nazi occupation. The piles of the swing bridge remain in the state of vestiges! Even before the signing of the Nazi capitulation on May 8, 1945, the national authorities had decided to rebuild two bridges, one fixed over which the national road N12 would pass, this will be the Pont de l’Harteloire, and the other, mobile , in the heart of the city, intended for local service, this will be the Recouvrance bridge. The bridge was started in February 1950, and the official inauguration on July 17, 1954.


The Recouvrance bridge was redeveloped as part of the work for the future Brest tramway: in July 2011, the current span was installed on August 22, 2011, as part of the work for the installation of the first tramway line. The night of March 21 to 22, 2012, a first tramway train crossed the new deck. Since 2016, an urban cable car has provided the connection in 3 minutes, offering a very beautiful view of the harbor and the city. Great ride indeed!

brest pont de recouvrance castle side nov13

You have great views from the Jardin des explorateurs or explorers’ gardens. From this point of view, you will be able to discover the Château de Brest, the entrance to the harbor and the military Arsenal port from another angle, as well as the bridge. This place also offers a magnificent collection of plants brought back from the four corners of the world by the famous navigator, Bougainville ( and name of a great flower tree!). Great views indeed.

We were impressed by the bridge going to Brest over the rade on the RN165, the pont de l’Iroise. Great masterpiece of architecture, and always wonderful to see it and know you have arrived just in Brest!


The Pont de l’Iroise bridge spans the Elorn river between Le Relecq-Kerhuon and Plougastel-Daoulas (see posts) on the highway (voie express) RN165 which links Brest to Quimper and further into Nantes. Among the cable-stayed bridges, it has the third largest main span in France, behind the Normandy bridge and the Saint-Nazaire bridge and before the Millau viaduct. Its architecture, its elegance and its insertion in a classified site earned it the National Gold Ribbon Award in 1995. To contemplate this 800 meters long construction, you just have to go to the pont Albert- Louppe, now reserved for pedestrians, two-wheelers and slow vehicles, after having parked your car in one of the car parks provided for this purpose.

Brest pont de l'iroise passing bridge car nov12

Built between 1991 and 1994, it replaced the old Albert-Louppe bridge, located nearby and in parallel, which is today reserved for the circulation of cycles and pedestrians. The pont de l’Iroise is a cable-stayed bridge, the deck of which is directly supported by a series of cables. It is 800 meters long, and 400 meters separate the two pylons. When it entered service in July 1994, the bridge held the world span record. The bridge was inaugurated on July 12, 1994.

To enjoy it on foot you go to either the Moulin Blanc or you leave from the old bridge(Louppe). From Moulin Blanc, walk along the beach to the old bridge. You will then be able to go underneath while going towards the greenery. Then head to Le Relecq Kerhuon. When you turn around, you will have a superb view of the bridge. The passage from the Moulin Blanc to the old bridge also reveals some well sheltered coves which allow you to enjoy the calm sunrise.

Brest port de moulin blanc nov12

The tourist office of Brest has a nice picture of the Pont de Recouvrance and the cable car in French here: Tourist office of Brest on les capucins site

The tourist office of Brest on the Moulin Blanc marina the start the walk on the Pont de l’Iroise in French: Tourist office of Brest on Moulin Blanc marina

And there you go now the wonderful bridges of Brest are better serve in my blog. Its always nice as said to drive into Brest over the Iroise and to walk over the Recouvrance! Hope you enjoy the post.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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