Concarneau has its charms!!!

Let me do this one on the black and white series as have many posts with pictures already. However, need to update the links and text on this introductory post on wonderful Concarneau!  This is a nice town with a gorgeous ville close or enclosed old town in a fortress about 40  minutes by car from me on the expressway N165. This is Concarneau and it has its charms.

It was 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.

We were at Quimper (see posts) , and on our way back home had some time so we decided to stop by again. We headed for downtown or city center and it was packed . Not only was market day in Place du Guesclin but also a sailing event and parking was hard to be found. We drove into the other side of the harbor and was able to get an on street parking for free!!! Got to love the road warrior!

We did took a quick ride to the Chateau de Keriolet  (see post) as it opened in the second week of June but , we were late for the guided tour alas!! The story here is of the Russian princess Zénaide Narischkine-Youssoupov and her husband the Count Charles de Chauveau in a wonderful castle of the 19C. The Castle itself foundations dates from the 13C,  and was finance by the princess to built the new renovated castle.  One of the castle owners was prince Félix Youssoupov who was the assassin of Raspoutin.  The castle is only 5 minutes by car from the downtown of Concarneau.

We took our usual walks in the city by the covered market and the square Guesclin ,the tourist office where this time we got a nice map of the city, and the harbor area. In town 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.

The ville close was gorgeous as usual and the pleasure boats lovely on a calm day just before the storm. Enclosed town or ville close by excellence, the maritime city established on l’ïle de Conq or the large shell island   was popular in the middle ages as it sits on the shortest itinerary between Quimper and Pont Aven.  Occupied many times by the English, she submits to Du Guesclin in 1373. Vauban made modernised the fortifications of the city between 1692 and 1699.  Facing the land, towers of artillery or Major (to t he North) and the Gouverneur or Governor (in the South) bordering the front entrance and the ravelin are reinforced by a liner of granite several meters thick in the 16C and 17C The defense in depth, Vauban adapts a new gate with drawbridge and ditch behind the halfpipe. The side of the sea Vauban endows the enclosure of ducking doorways to the places best facing the entry pass of the tower of the Iron Horse orTour du fer à cheval and facing the inner harbor the new tower or tour Neuve. In July 1695 Vauban himself as commander of upper and lower Brittany had delivered to Concarneau at the Château du Taureau of ammunition to put in a state of defense. The parapets are raised and drilled slots of shooting while a powder magazine and a new barrack were built in 1837. The ïle de Conq becomes at the end of the 19C a fueling station for the French mobile torpedo boats.

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.  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  on the main street of the ville close rue de Vauban.  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,  the wonderful chocolates and caramels of Georges Larnicol , the wonderful bargains at Marine & Co all made in Brittany, fashion a la Breton. 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.  The nice promenades at sea from the Vedettes de l’Odet boat cruises .

We had our lunch in the restaurant of the Hotel des Grands Voyageurs on the main square facing the ville close fortified city and wonderful as usual. We had our chorizo omelets, mussels in cream sauce, pizzas and salads all down with the local St Omer amber beer and good desserts of a sort of different ice creams mine the Breton favorite caramel sauce over ice cream caramel ! all for less than 22€ per person. And we have repeated here very good! And , also a wonderful location if visiting. webpage:

On way out we saw a new monument the lighthouse or Phare de Beuzec-Conq , this is literally in the home of someone’s property! It was built in 1848 at a height of 9,3 meters…The optic is white and fix until 1894 it will have optic red and white. In 1907 it was refitted with the new tower and electricity finally arrived in 1943 always working until 1964.

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, and the day was another success !!! webpage:

In all  a pleasant ending to a nice ride out with the family, just enjoying the bountiful of Bretagne land of the Bretons! Hope you enjoy Concarneau as we always do.

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

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