Brest, France

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Brest

Coordinates: 48°23′27″N 4°29′08″W / 48.390834°N 4.485556°W / 48.390834; -4.485556


Brest (French pronunciation: [bʁɛst]; Breton[brest]) is a city in the Finistère department in Brittany in north-western France. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula, Brest is an important harbour, second French military port after Toulon, at the western extremity of France. The city is located at the occidental edge of continental Europe, hence the expression « Europe from Brest to Brest[1] ». Counting 142,722 inhabitants, Brestois and Brestoises (2007 sensur), Brest is the main metropolitan area (reaching 300,300 inhabitants) of West Brittany, second behind only Rennes in the region of Brittany and the 22nd populous city of France. Although Brest is by far the largest city in Finistère, the préfecture (capital) of the department is the much smaller commune of Quimper.

During the Middle Age, the history of Brest was the history of its castle. Then Richelieu made it a military harbour. Brest grew around its arsenal, until the second part of the 20th century. Profoundly marked by the Allies bombing raids during World War II, the city centre was completely rebuilt after the war. At the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century, the deindustrialization of the city was followed by the development of the service sector. Nowadays, Brest is an important university town with 23,000 students[2]. Besides a multidisciplinary university, the University of Western Brittany, Brest and its surrounding area possess several prestigious French elite schools such as École Navale (the French Naval Academy), Télécom Bretagne and École nationale supérieure des ingénieurs des études et techniques d'armement (ENSIETA). Brest is also an important research centre, mainly focused on the sea, with among others the largest Ifremer (French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) center, le Cedre (Centre of Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution) and the French Polar Institute.

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