The Musée National de la Marine: 400 years of naval history
A must for your visit to Brest! The Musée National de la Marine retraces the history of the navy and the Brest Arsenal, on the remarkable site of the Château de Brest. Through its collections and its viewpoints over the ports, creating a veritable open-air museum, plunge into the incredible adventure of 17 centuries of maritime history.
A unique setting
The 3rd-century Roman Castellum, built in a strategic location on a rocky spur, is one of the cornerstones of Brest's maritime and military history. Its distinctive architecture is the result of several alterations designed to reinforce its defensive role.lassed a Historic Monument in 1923..
With its 17 centuries of history, the Château is part of Brest's remarkable heritage of the city of Brest. Elements of the Roman walls can still be seen, and its towers bear witness to its passage through the medieval period. The Château was also temporarily occupied by the German army, which moved in in 1940.
Did you know?
During the occupation, the German army dug underground passages beneath the Château. These now house the COFOST (Centre opérationnel de la Force océanique stratégique) and the COM (Commandement opérationnel de la Marine pour l'Atlantique).
The History of the Brest Arsenal and the French Navy
The entire tour covers shipbuilding, the Brest penal colony, the Lapérouse expedition, the port's heyday during the American War of Independence, masterpieces of naval decoration, the industrial revolution, emblematic post-war ships, submarines and ocean racing.
Two new rooms, dedicated to the Marine des Lumières, feature restored works illustrating Brest's central role in 18th-century voyages of exploration and scientific research, and in particular the Lapérouse expedition. Objects relating to preparations, stopovers, life on board and the missions of the mission's scientists bear witness to this great maritime adventure launched by Louis XVI, which had a profound impact on the history of the world and civilizations!
What a great idea!
Take advantage of the Museum's theatrical tours to immerse yourself even further in Brest's maritime history.
15 permanent and temporary exhibition rooms
Through its permanent and temporary exhibitions, the Musée National de la Marine houses impressive collections of ship models, furniture, navigation instruments, paintings and objets d'art. An entire room, undoubtedly the most impressive in the museum, is dedicated to figureheads.
They've sailed the oceans, battled waves and storms, always on the front line, and now stand there before your very eyes.
Enough to give you the shivers!
Not 1 museum but 5!
In France, there are other national naval museums in Port-Louis, Paris, Rochefort and Toulon.
An open-air museum
The visit doesn't stop at the collections and interior rooms. Stroll around the exterior of the Château and admire the splendid panoramic views from the panoramas of the harbor, Penfeld and Arsenal, the city and Brest's 5 ports. of Brest.
Stay until the end of the day! Here are a few ideas for spending the evening around the Château.
Did you know?
Every 4 years, Brest's 5 ports come alive to the rhythm of the Tonnerres de Brest maritime festival. Frigates, night parades, boat launches, visits to old rigs, harbor cruises and sculling demonstrations are on the program for these 5 days of festivities.
To be experienced at least once!
Not far from the Musée de la Marine, in the Ateliers des Capucins, is the Emperor's Canoe. It was aboard this boat that Napoleon I and his wife Marie-Louise made their grand entrance into the port of Antwerp to visit the Arsenal.
In addition to the richness of its carvings and details, you'll discover the incredible history of this canoe, which was almost forgotten!