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Sailing ahead: Why Brest is best

Updated 11:59 PM ET, Fri March 30, 2018
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Brest is located in the region of Brittany -- home to some of the most stunning vistas in France -- taking in more than 1000 kilometers of dramatic rocky coastline. AFP/Getty Images
The port city has been one of France's most important harbors since the medieval period. Every four years it hosts "Les Tonnerres de Brest," a spectacular maritime festival celebrating traditional sailing from around the world. JOHANN GUIAVARCH
More than 2,000 traditional boats sail from as far afield as Madagascar and Mexico to take part in the festival, which is attended by nearly 700,000 people. F.Betermin
2012 was the 20th anniversary of the festival. FRANCK SEUROT
With 8.5 kilometers of wharf, Brest is well equipped to host a large number of yachts and boats. Every Thursday during the summer months the wharf is transformed into a vibrant arts space packed with live street theater, concerts, comedy and markets. F.Betermin
With its proximity to the British Isles, this nautical area of France is steeped in Celtic heritage, it even has its own Celtic language, Breton, which is still spoken by nearly 200,000 people in the region. X.Dubois/XLC/OTBMO
Located in a stunning bay, the water surrounding Brest is always protected and makes for perfect sailing. There are also plenty of sandy beaches and picturesque fishing villages to explore in the area. X.Dubois/XLC/OTBMO
All across the city there are open-air markets selling fruit, vegetables and flowers. For those who like bargain-hunting there are also regular flea markets. X.Dubois/XLC/OTBMO
Brest was more or less destroyed in the "Battle of Brest" during World War II, but it has since been completely rebuilt. One of the few Medieval monuments still standing is "Tanguy Tower." Constructed on an enormous block of granite, it now houses the Brest Museum, guiding visitors through the city's origins and development. X.Dubois/XLC/OTBMO
For those who want to find out more about what species may be hiding under their boat, a trip to one of Europe's biggest marine pavilions is a must. Oceanopolis is much more than your average city aquarium; it is an ocean discovery park with 50 individual aquariums housing more than 1,000 animal species. Océanopolis
The aquariums at Oceanopolis are divided into different zones; tropical, polar, temperate, biodiversity and "the abyss". In each zone visitors can learn about the ecosystems of different marine climates. Océanopolis
The ocean discovery park covers nearly 10,000 square meters and is a vital part of Brest's thriving oceanography scene. Océanopolis