Visit Concarneau (Brittany, France)
Concarneau is situated in Brittany on the south-west coast of the Finistere department between Quimper and Lorient. Although Concarneau is the third largest fishing port in France tourism also now plays an increasing role in the economic life of the town, a listed 'town of art and history' with a historical centre that is among the most visited destinations in Brittany.
A good way to start a visit is with a glimpse of the past life of Concarneau - get up early and see the fish market in the town which starts 6 am. Then at the end of the day you can see the ramparts illuminated at night, perhaps their most attractive time. In between the two you will have plenty of time to explore...
It is the old town, Ville Close, that stands on a rocky island a few metres off the coast in the harbour and is reached by a drawbridge that is most interesting to visitors, with a main street lined by attractive buildings and many shops and restaurants.
The origins of the Ville Close date back to the 15th century and for the following centuries it was the centre of activity in Concarneau. This part of the old town is rather given over to tourism and as one of the most visited sites in Brittany can be a bit crowded in the height of summer - it is just 350 metres by 100 metres so there is not much space to squeeze everyone in!
It is well worth a visit all the same since it is very attractive, with picturesque paved streets and squares, and a mix of half-timbered and granite medieval houses.
The fortifications around the Ville Close were already in place before Vauban substantially added to them in the 17th century, and you can now walk around the ramparts, which have nice views across the ports and Concarneau bay.
There is also a fishing museum in the old town, where you can learn more of the importance of the industry to the town's history.
The town outside the ville Close is also interesting to explore, with the broad 18th century streets providing an interesting contrast to the narrow streets of the old town. The indoor market in Concarneau is a good source of fish, fruit and vegetables if you are staying in this part of Brittany.
In the town you can also walk along the sea front, the fishing port and the pleasure port, then if you would like to learn more about the life beneath the waves you can visit the Marinarium, a chance to discover the surprisingly diverse range of life forms that occupy the sea and coastline of Brittany.
If possible, visit Concarneau during the last but one Sunday in August, when a colourful festival - the Festival of the Blue Nets - takes place.
There are also a couple of small beaches at Concarneau itself, and several others on the coast within easy reach. The Plage des Dames and the Plage des Sables Blancs (with lifeguards in summer) are two popular beaches close to hand. If you follow the coast path from the Plage des Sables Blancs towards l'Anse-Saint-Jean you will also find quieter beaches.
The Chateau de Keriolet, on the hill above the Ville Close, is interesting to visit. The castle mostly dates from the 19th century, when it was designed and furnished by a Russian princess who married a French Count.
After stolling along the promenade along the corniche if you are feeling energetic there are several marked footpaths around Concarneau that will enable you to enjoy the surrounding region and coastline. Among others, the walk that passes through Kerlean to the Kerandon Valley is recommended, while the short walk called Le Rouz has lovely views across the town and harbour.
The town is a departure point for ferries to the nearby Glenan islands.
Photos taken within 10 km
Tourist classifications for Concarneau
Concarneau is classified as a listed town of Art and History
Address: Concarneau, Quimper, Finistere, Brittany, 29900 || GPS: latitude 47.87, longitude -3.91
Map of Concarneau & places nearby
Highlights close by
Ile Glenan 19km
Suggested tourist attractions to visit near Concarneau, France
- Marais de Mousterlin - site of natural beauty (9km)
- Archipel des Glénan - site of natural beauty (18km)
- Parc botanique de Cornouaille - remarkable garden (19km)
- Jardin du château de Lanniron - remarkable garden (20km)
- Jardin du prieuré de Locmaria - remarkable garden (20km)
- Quimper - town of art and history (20km)
- Parc du château de Trévarez - remarkable garden (32km)
- Locronan - most beautiful village (34km)
- Lorient - town of art and history (36km)
- Zoo de Pont-Scorff - zoo or wildlife park (38km)
Market days in Concarneau: Regular market(s) are held in Concarneau each Monday & Friday. (Markets are held in the morning unless stated.)
The French version of this page is at Concarneau (Francais)