Archive for April 1st, 2021

April 1, 2021

Church Saint Louis of Brest!!

And here here, this is a find indeed.In my wonderful time upating older posts I came into this topic that was briefly mentioned in older post but feel deserves a full post of its own. Therefore, here is my take on the Church Saint Louis of Brest!

You can’t missed even for sentimental reasons, the Church or église Saint Louis de Brest. It is now build in modern style as was reconstructed after WWII on the ruins of the old Church Saint Louis. It is very near the market St Louis (see post) ; hope you enjoy it as I and glad found it!


The old Church Saint Louis was built from 1686, consecrated in 1702; but was not completed until 1785. Name for king Louis IX or Saint Louis. The painting ;the Martyrdom of the Maccabees, from the high altar of the ancient Church of the Seven Saints was there. The presence of this painting in the old church of the Seven Saints illustrates the confusions which have occurred over time between several more or less legendary accounts of “Seven Saints”, the Seven Saints founders of Bretagne, the Seven Saints de la Rade de Brest, the Seven Saints children of Saint Félicité, the Seven Saints of Tibur children of Saint Symphorose and Saint Gétule. Severely damaged by bombings during WWII as well as by reprisals from the nazis, during the summer of 1944, the church was finally razed to the ground during Reconstruction.

The new Church Saint Louis was built between 1953 and 1958. It is 10 meters above the old one, some ruins of which are still visible in the basements of the current church. The Church of Saint-Louis is the largest French church rebuilt after WWII and its architecture was inspired by 20C Swiss churches. The building is 95 meters long, 27 meters wide and 24.5 meters high under the vault; flanked by an imposing reinforced concrete bell tower, the size of which was reduced compared to the first sketches with the momentum cut by a copper lantern on one side and its baptistery on the other, a bay pierced at the above the nave illuminates the high altar. Its Logonna stone facing contrasts with its concrete walls and the west wall, almost blind, responds to the east glass wall in a symbolism of Evil and Good; the west wall is also blind due to bad weather. The red doors recall the blood of Brest residents who died during WWII, the shape of the doors evokes that of submarine doors: it would be a reminder of the maritime history of Brest. The stained glass windows which constitute a strong point of the whole: representing four Breton saints ,Pol de Léon, Corentin, Guénolé, and Saint Yves   and seven other saints and prophets; respectively in the choir, the southern side of the nave and the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament.


The chalice has a very particular history which is linked to the most dramatic hours of recent history in Brest. The chalice was made with the gold and silver of the jewelry worn by the victims of the Sadi-Carnot shelter in WWII. After the tragedy, the gold and silver jewelry of the victims were collected. The families had expressed the wish that with solid silver a chalice decorated with precious stones recovered from the shelter would be made.The Stations of the Cross was delivered in April 2017. The latter explains that the film The Passion of Christ by Mel Gibson inspired it. This Stations of the Cross has the particularity of having an additional station: station number 15 on the theme of Mercy.

The Parish churches of Brest including Saint Louis

The City of Brest on heritage:

The Brest metropole tourist office on Brest

And voilà! credit is given to a nice monument in wonderful Brest, where we have lots of good memories with the family told in many other posts in my blog. You are good to visit Brest and see this nice Church Saint Louis!

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

Tags: ,
April 1, 2021

Océanopolis at Brest!!

And this is a very nice place worth the detour alone. Brest has many interesting sights but for the family this rank high, the Océanopolis at Brest! Its an aquarium pretty big and well managed. As in my several posts on Brest in my blog hope you enjoy it as I.

So let me bring you up north of my Bretagne and into the seafaring tradition of the Bretons. The sea is all around us and is part of the history and traditions of this region so no surprise that one of the best aquariums are here too.  I have written before about Brest of course, but believe showcasing this aquarium or Océanopolis of Brest is worth it. I say it is worth a detour, wonderful place indeed. It is impressive enough arriving on the point of the city next to the harbor and sea making a roundabout turn to get into it and there you have it , again , a wonderful place to visit, and good for the whole family.


Océanopolis is a center of scientific culture dedicated to the oceans, located in Brest, near the marina of the Moulin Blanc. Rue Cormorans. The shape of the first building, the temperate pavilion, is reminiscent of a crab. Océanopolis opened its doors in 1990. The first goal was to offer a showcase to the sea science through the temperate pavilion. In fact, Brest brings together 60% of European research on the sea. Fully refurbished in 2000 with the addition of the polar and tropical pavilions, Océanopolis proposes a scientific approach to the marine environment as a whole. For this, about 50 aquariums from 50 to 1 000 000 liters for the shark basin are offered to the public. In addition to the basins, different supports (video, interactive kiosks, panels…) provide additional information on the biology of species, the protection of the environment, the functioning of ecosystems. The center is cut into three pavilions, corresponding to three different environments: temperate, polar and tropical. 10 000 animals and marine plants of 1 000 species can thus be discovered in this complex. Océanopolis includes 8 700 m2 of visiting areas and 4 million liters of sea water including 1 million for the shark basin.

A bit of history I like

Éric Hussenot, marine biologist passionate about marine mammals and Jean-Paul Alayse, oceanographer and specialist of basins, have a joint project of Aquarium-Museum from the beginning of the 1980’s. These two researchers from the CNRS write the thesis “Project for the creation of an aquarium-museum in Brest” highlighting the potential of the ecosystems of the Sea of Iroise. In 1988, the work of Océanopolis, called “The House of the Sea”, began. It opens its doors to the public on June 21, 1990 with the label of center of Scientific and technical culture. By creating in 2000 two new pavilions (one showing the polar ecosystems, the other the tropical marine environment), the center passes from the simple aquarium stage to the ocean Discovery Park.

Océanopolis is divided into zones or basins such as:

Pavillon Bretagne : The first pavilion of Océanopolis, the temperate pavilion was designed to serve as a showcase for marine and scientific activities in the region. From the bottom of the Atlantic continental Shelf to the fine sand beach, we discover animals and plants of the Breton coast in reconstituted environments in the nearest reality. At the end of the pavilion, visitors have the opportunity to familiarize themselves even more with the fauna and the coastal flora thanks to the demonstration puddle where they can touch the inhabitants of the seaside: starfish, anemones, sea urchins… Among the animals that can be seen in the basins: bars, marine seals, bats and spotted local sharks.


Pavillon Polaire : Opened in 2000, this pavilion presents the fauna of the north and south poles. At first, it is the penguins and birds that inhabit the sub-antarctic islands that visitors may encounter.  A little further afield, a transitional space allows us to learn more about the food relations in the poles and the Inuit people living in the Arctic. In a second step, the Polar Pavilion proposes to discover the Arctic fauna.


Pavillon Tropicale :  Open at the same time as the Polar Pavilion, the tropical Pavilion is built as a four-step journey through the tropical seas. At the entrance of this tropical pavilion, the visit begins with the lagoon, a new aquarium that allows observing from the surface of the water the species of a tropical lagoon of shallow depth. Each stage of the visit then corresponds to a tropical zone and one or more basins as well as a theme. The Pacific Ocean and the Sharks, the Indo-Australian archipelago, the coral and the inhabitants of the reef, the Indian Ocean and the large tropical fish families, the endemism of the Caribbean regions. The visit of the pavilion ends with a walk in an equatorial forest, carried out in partnership with the National Botanical Conservatory of Brest.


Outside the Océanopolis building is a marquee that welcomes a new exhibition every two years. Océanopolis has expanded by creating a new outdoor space dedicated to otters and sea lions. This space of 300 m2 is specially designed to discover two new coastal ecosystems, one northeast Atlantic and the other Californian. Océanopolis also offers general public lectures available for free. Océanopolis also hosts annual cultural and scientific events, such as the Oceanographic Adventure Film Festival, the Science Festival or the night of the researchers.


The Marine Mammal Studies Laboratory of Océanopolis (LEMM) was established in 1989. Its mission is to study the coastal populations of marine mammals in Brittany. The species studied are mainly: the grey seal of the Mullein Archipelago and the Sept-Îles, the great dolphin of the island of Sein and the archipelago of Mullein. It is part of it and tours can be arranged with the Océanopolis.


Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are

The official Océanopolis webpage:

The Brest tourist office on Océanopolis

There you go, again , a wonderful trip with the whole family and fully educational with fantastic views of the basin in all pavillons. Hope you enjoy Océanopolis at Brest as we did. And looking forward to be back when possible.

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

April 1, 2021

Brest, sea and traditions!!!

And here I take you way north of me almost to the tip in the pretty naval city of Brest. One of the emblematic cities of my lovely Bretagne and seldom over look for its distance from the mainstream. However, it is worth a detour for its sea and Breton traditions. Let me tell you a brief introduction in black and white series to Brest on this post ,and do see my other many posts on Brest in my blog.

And we go way up Bretagne into the wonderful Finistére dept 29, and see wonderful sea and traditions at Brest. I have come here several times , however, I like to come back to these places where I can dwell on something I like history; Brest has plenty of it.  The city is an important port, the second military port in France after Toulon, at the western end of Bretagne. In the Middle Ages, the history of Brest is confused with the history of its castle , then Richelieu makes it a military port. It will develop around its arsenal, until the second half of the 20C. Heavily marked by bombardments during WWII, Brest saw its historic center almost entirely renewed during the Reconstruction.

Brest is today a university town . Important training of the officers of the national Navy. It is also an important research center focused on the sea, including the largest of the centers: The Naval Academy was founded here in 1752, the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle was built here.  A train station, a single railway (line Paris-Montparnasse-Brest), a bus terminal, and two expressways: the national Road N12 and the national Road N165, coming from Paris and Nantes-Quimper . If Brest is a port in metropolitan France ,the closest to the American continent, the attempt to create a transatlantic passenger port was only fleeting under the Second Empire; it does not even have a direct maritime connection by ferries with the British Isles nor with the Iberian Peninsula . The automobile remains the preferred means of transport by the Brestois. A third national road, the N 265, connects them to the east. A section of this route is part of the bypass that partially contours the city.

Brest is developed on a plateau located a hundred meters above sea level, a paradoxical situation for a port, “turning its back to the sea” a main urban axis (Place de Strasbourg-rue Jean-Jaurès-Place de la Liberté-Rue de Siam-Rue de la Porte-rue Anatole-France, Rue Victor-Eusen) parallel to the coast. The district of the Sept-Saints, built around the eponymous Church of the Seven Saints, was the historical nucleus of the city center of Brest, Brest itself (left bank), on the edge of the Penfeld before climbing on the plateau above. All the old Brest was belted in ramparts built by Vauban, and was organized left bank around two main streets that departed from the gate of Landerneau: The Grande Rue (renamed Rue Louis-Pasteur in 1907), the main artery of the city which went down to the Arsenal, and the rue de Siam. On the right bank, otherwise called Recouvrance, the main street was the rue de la Porte leading to the Porte de Conquet. Brest was little by little driven out of its historic heart, which is the Penfeld, by the military who will fully take ownership of it at the end of the 19C, which will result, among other things, in the destruction of the neighbourhoods bordering the Penfeld like that of the Seven Saints.

The city center of Brest has had its deepest redesign since the reconstruction of the city and the renovation of the Place de la Liberté, with the arrival of the tramway, put into service in June 2012, the rue de Siam has become pedestrian, which also benefits the adjacent streets. The lower part of the Rue de Siam saw its appearance completely transformed with the redevelopment of the Place des Français-Libres. Rue Jean-Jaurès has gone one-way, which has significantly reduced car traffic. The Recouvrance bridge (see post) received a new apron with more rounded shapes; Finally, the shopping rue de Recouvrance, the Rue de la Porte, has been completely renovated.

In 1914, troops made up of Breton soldiers fought on Belgian soil and in particular in the town of Maissin in the province of Luxembourg and since then two towns commemorate this link. It is called Rue de Brest and Rue du 19th Infantry regiment of Brest. At the Franco-German cemetery in Maissin is a 16C Breton Calvary transferred from the Tréhou.. From May to October 1918, hundreds of thousands of American soldiers landed in Brest. The world’s largest steamer, the Leviathan, served only Brest, and it brought 10 000 men to every voyage. Camps were established around Brest to house all these soldiers while waiting for their transfer to the front. Since the entry into War of the United States until the Armistice, the Brest Harbor received 105 troop transport ships and 784 110 men!

During WWII, Nazis troops entered Brest on June 19, 1940. The first bombardment of the Allies on the city began in 1941 and lasted until the occupation of the city on 18 September 1944 by the American troops, after a siege of Forty-three days, the Battle of Brest. The collateral damage was immense. At the end of WWII, Brest was besieged by the 2nd, 8th and 29th US 62 Infantry Divisions, members of the 8th Army Corps commanded by General Troy Middleton of the 3rd American army. The city is liberated after 45 days of siege.

Every four years, in July, Brest hosts the Great International Festival of the Sea, boats and sailors Festival. The highlight of the feast is the Great regatta during which the whole fleet sails from Brest to Douarnenez where the feast extends, along the rocky and carved coast of the Breton point, and passing for many between the Tas des Pois.

Things to see in Brest, me think are

The jardin des Explorateurs ( explorers), called thus because it commemorates the sailors of Brest, offers a breathtaking view of the port and the castle as well as on the harbour of Brest. The Jardin de l’Académie (academy), close to the castle, dominates the port of commerce.  The  Beaches such as Moulin-Blanc beach, Sainte-Anne-du-Porzic beach, and the marinas such as Port of Moulin-Blanc, Port of the Château. The arsenal of Brest.

The road of the Corniche and the Jardin des Explorateurs offer views on the arsenal of Brest. On the edge of the Moulin Blanc Marina, Océanopolis (see post)  is a large, giant crab-like building. Center for scientific and technical culture of the sea, showcase of all activities related to oceanography its 42 aquariums containing in addition some 3 700 m3 of sea water, 10 000 animals of 1 000 different species. Océanopolis has the largest jaws in Europe.

The Saint-Louis Church  (see post) is a modern-style monument erected during the reconstruction of Brest between 1953 and 1958, after WWII on the ruins of the ancient Church of St. Louis, built between 1686 and 1785.   The Church of St. Martin was built between 1865 and 1877 in a Neo-Romanesque and neo-Gothic style. The annexation district will take the name of Saint-Martin in the aftermath the Church of Saint-Sauveur de Recouvrance, is the oldest parish church in Brest, dating from 1750, the oldest religious building in Brest, unfortunately in ruins, is the Chapel of Saint-Guénolé on the banks of the Penfeld, ancient site of a cult of water and fertility.

The Brest Marine Museum, (see post) a decentralized establishment of the National Marine Museum, houses a collection of models of ships, paintings, sculptures. It is in the castle.  The Musée de la Tour Tanguy is a free municipal museum presenting various historical documents and models reconstituting the old Brest from before 1939.  The Museum of Fine Arts is a point of anchor in the new city: a place to find, through artistic expression, a memory elsewhere erased. This is why the acquisition of European painting has been preferred from the end of the 16C to the present day.  The Fort Montbarey Memorial Museum tells the history of the department of Finistère during WWII and its liberation.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

The city of Brest on arts and history:

The Finistére dept 29 tourist board on Brest

The Bretagne tourist board on Brest

It is a rebuilt city from WWII but still with very nice monuments and wide boulevards we like it, hope you enjoy the post on Brest. Looking forward to be back when possible.

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

Tags: ,
%d bloggers like this: