Yesterday and Tomorrow in Brest
Plan du Vieux Brest
    Map of old Brest

Kerinou brewery
Brewery of Lambezellec

Brest castel
The Brest castel

Brest railway station
The railway station


Views of Brest

Albert Louppe bridge
Plougastel bridge

     At the end of the 3rd century, a fortified camp was built. Then Count Morvan undertook the building of the 1rst fortress in order to protect himself from the Normans who devastated the region.

     Brest really became a military harbour under Richelieu's regency. In 1631, he built up the harbour and naval dockyards on both banks of the Penfeld river. Those buildings required an abundant manpower that needed to be housed. In 1683, Vauban decided the town to be fortified. At the end of Louis XIV's reign, the town was completely built and about 15000 people lived there.

     At the 18th century, a Brestian ingeneer named Choquet de Lindu oversaw the building works in the harbour; so, in 1750 a penal colony was built - it was not until the middle of the 19th century that jail had been closed down. Vidocq (1775-1857) - who was a son of a baker from Arras - succeeded escaping 2 times from that jail. When prisoners tried to escape, a cannonball was shot in order to warn people in town; a reward was actually given to the ones who succeeded catching prisoners. The expression "tonnerre de Brest" (almost means roar of Brest) is not due to that kind of cannon shooting, but to the one that announced the opening and closing of the naval dockyards doors every day at 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

     After one century of stagnation, the growth of Brest finally resumed under the 2nd Empire. In 1856, Napoleon III agreed to the building of a bridge on the Penfeld. The Emperor and Empress were lavishly thanked when they had stayed in Brest from the 9th to the 12th of August 1858. To reward that warm welcome, Napoleon III extended the naval dockyards, continued the 2 railways up to Brest and created the commercial and fishing port.

     At the end of World War 2, in september 1944, Brest was freed thanks to the 2nd, 8th and 29th divisions of American infantry after a siege of 43 days long. Old Brest had been completely destroyed. (Middleton's report)
                                                      2th Infantry Division         8th Infantry Division     29 Infantry Division John A. Higgins
"War is bullshit. What have you become under that ironed, fired and blooded rain of steel" (Barbara from Jacques Prévert)

Siam Street
Siam street

National bridge
The National bridge

The transporter bridge

Tourville door

vue du port
The trade harbour

Jean Jaures Sreet
September 1944