Located in Southwest Brittany, Concarneau is France’s third largest fishing port. The picturesque Ville Close, beautiful sandy beaches and the Glénan archipelago 10 miles off the coast are big draws, especially during the summer. Each year at the end of August the town holds the 3 day Festival des Filets Bleus. Concarneau is definitely worth a couple of days, if you are in the area.
Living here for the last 5 years I have grown to love the friendliness of the locals and the beauty of the surrounding area.
See + Do:
Ville Close (pictured above): Concarneau’s old walled town is in the middle of the port. Inside it is very quaint with granite houses. Along the cobbled main street lie many shops and restaurants, if the sun is shining stop for a drink in the main square. The Musée de la Pêchedetails the town’s fishing history including a look around an old tuna boat. Pass the Porte du Vin, where when the town was under siege they’d still be able to receive wine from Bordeaux by boat. Walk around the ramparts for views across the town, the harbour and out into the Baie de Cornouaille (Bay of Cornwall).
Marché de Concarneau: Every Friday, in the main square outside Les Halles, 8am – 1pm. Good, large market with both food and clothing. There is another market on Mondays, 8am-1pm and a small organic one on Wednesdays, 4pm-8pm.
Walking La Corniche: A popular pastime here is to stroll along the coastal road. Follow this road around and you reach Les Sables Blancs. A beautiful white sandy beach, where on a sunny day the clear water of the Atlantic encourages you to enter.
Archipel Les Glénans: 10 miles off the coast of Concarneau lie the Glénan Islands. A group of islands characterised by stunning white sandy beaches and turquoise waters. Take the ferry to the main island or rent a RIB and visit them all.
Festival des Filets Bleus: Set up in 1905 to help fishermen, this annual festival (of the blue nets) takes place on the penultimate weekend in August. Stores, information stands, cooking demos, games, Breton music and dance take place during the day. In the evening a line up of local and Gaelic bands play into the night whilst locals and tourists eat & drink from the food stands at central tables. Sunday is the main day with a huge procession in the morning lasting 3 hours and culminating with the arrival of the Queen of the Filets Bleus.
Valérie La Roux: Around town you will see the colourful, bold ceramic designs of Valérie La Roux. At her Atelier-Boutiqueyou can see Valérie at work and shop her tablewares and other décor items. If you are in town for a few days she will personalise items for you.
Sentier Côtier: 36 Rue Vauban. This friendly store sells table and bath linens plus other homewares and gifts that are made locally. Strong Breton and coastal influences. Absolutely charming.
Sardines: Tinned sardines from Concarneau, and Brittany, are a bit of a speciality. Find these and other canned goods at Conserverie Gonidec in the Ville Close.
Eat + Drink:
A wave of recent interior refurbs have left us with some stylish locales. Here are some of my favs:
€ rating reflects evening prices, most places offer set lunch at a good price.
La Verrière, 3 Rue des Halles: Funky interior design, bar in the front and casual bistro in the back. €€
Le Rendez-Vous, 3 Place Du Guesclin: Lively, little bar with lots of outdoor seating in summer. Buzzing at the weekend and often during the week. Friendly staff, basic sharing plates showcasing local products. €
La Coquille, 1 Rue du Moros: Striking contemporary design using natural materials. Classic French cuisine with a focus on seasonal fish and seafood. Located in the port with a terrace. €€
Hotel Les Sables Blancs, 45 Rue des Sables Blancs: Located on Sables Blancs beach with fabulous ocean views from the bar, terrace and restaurant. Contemporary French menu featuring seafood and fish. This is a treat whether for drinks or dining. Be warned the terrace can be extremely busy on sunny days. €€€
Le Vauban, 10 Rue Vauban: Just inside the Ville Close. As you enter the place looks tiny but keep going and a series of tiny rooms with a couple of tables in each appear. Again, classic French menu with focus on fish and seafood. Nautical design theme. €€
L’Ecume, 3 Place Saint-Guénolé: Of course Brittany’s main speciality is the crépe. There are many créperies in Concarneau but L’Ecume is one of the best. Located in the main square of the Ville Close. It has both classic and more imaginative crépes. Small terrace in summer and fireplace in winter. €
L’Amiral, 1 Avenue Pierre Gueguin: Traditional French cooking using fresh, quality ingredients. Discreet service in a smart dining room. Again, lots of fish and seafood but also French meat. Good wine list. Reservation essential on summer evenings. €€€
Café de l’Atlantic, 23 Avenue du Dr Pierre Nicolas. Friendly bar/brasserie at the end of the Port du Plaisance. Nice views, tables on street, wooden interior and simple bistro cooking. Good place to stop for a drink after a stroll on La Corniche. (See above) €€
Le Comptoir: 1 Avenue du Dr Pierre Nicolas. In the main square, facing the Ville Close. Le Comptoir has recently had a refit. The new rustic industrial vibe is enticing plus there is a large terrace. Good for drinks. Have not eaten there for a while so cannot comment on food.
Le Chantier, 20 Quai Carnot. Newly opened in a converted fish canning building. Prime location in front of the fishing port. Large bar with tiled art installation by local artist Valerie LaRoux (see above). Industrial lux interior with faux exposed bricks and velvet seats. Sunny outdoor terrace. Lovely place for a drink in the late afternoon when the light in the port takes on a special quality. I am yet to eat there but hear that the food is good but expensive and small portions.
Cap au Vin: 3 Quai E. Newest wine bar in town and bonus, it is a bar on a boat! In the fishing port which is behind the Ville Close, on the back quai. An Irish built 1973 traditional mackerel fishing boat. As keen sailors (well, Darren is – I am in training) we are especially excited about this one. A lovely place for a drink on deck in the sunshine. Also has some seats below. See you there!