Concarneau is a small town in western Brittany famed for its beautiful old town located on a small island called the Ville Close. There are lots of fun things to do in Concarneau from exploring its ancient, cobbled streets to sipping coffee in one of the many streetside cafes, or enjoying a day out at one of the many beaches around the town.

History lovers will have plenty to do with lots of interesting museums, art galleries and chateaus. As well as making a great base for trips to the seaside, Concarneau is also perfectly situated for exploring some of Brittany’s most beautiful towns and cities like Vannes and Quimper.

Although Concarneau isn’t as big as other towns and cities in Brittany like Rennes, Vannes and Brest, it’s certainly worth at least a couple of days thanks to its coastal location, beaches and lots of fun things to do in and around the town. So, without further ado, let’s discover all there is to do in this fine town with this Concarneau 2 day itinerary.

Day 1

Exploring Ville Close and its ramparts

Start off your 2 day Concarneau itinerary at the Ville Close, or Walled City. This small island in the heart of Concarneau was Designed by the Marquis of Vauban, Sebastien Le Prestre in the 14th century and is connected to the mainland by a beautiful stone bridge.

Start with the Main Ravelin and make your way into the city through the large fortress gates and onto Ville Close’s main street, Rue Vauban. One of the best things to do here is to climb the Rampart Walls for fantastic views of the city and harbour.

Ville Close is packed with old stone buildings, many of which have been turned into shops and cafes, where you can grab a coffee, a crepe (Brittany’s classic snack) and just get lost in the winding alleyways. There are lots of historic landmarks to discover from the old clock tower to the Redan belfry, the Governor's Tower, Moor Tower, Dog Tower, and Horseshoe Tower to name a few.

Musee de la Peche

Ville Close is home to the Musee de la Pêche, or the Museum of Fishing. This is the first museum of its kind in France and was founded in 1961. As the name suggests, the Musee de la Peche is dedicated to the maritime heritage of not just Concarneau, but Brittany as a whole.

Here you’ll find a selection of exhibits detailing how the fishing industry has impacted the region culturally and acts as a driving force behind its economy. The exhibits showcase tools, traditional fishing boats, nets, and other maritime memorabilia. Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm.

La Poudriere

Continue exploring Ville Close and make your way to La Poudriere, a historic gunpowder magazine dating back to 1835 and located on Place du Petit-Chateau. This impressive 19th-century landmark was an important part of the city’s defences.

Place Saint Guenole

Next, make your way onto the picturesque Place St Guenole with its old stone and half-timbered houses, shops, cafes and restaurants. This quaint square is located in the centre of Villa Close and is the perfect place to soak up the atmosphere of the old town while browsing for gifts or relaxing with a coffee on the terrace.

Day 1 - Morning  Concarneau Tour Map

Afternoon: Concarneau Marinarium

Start your afternoon by visiting the Concarneau Marinarium. While the onsite biological station (which is the oldest operational marine station in the world) is devoted to conducting scientific research on marine life, the Marinarium is open to the public and is well worth a visit.

Here you’ll find a multitude of exhibits, photographs, interactive displays and of course, a selection of aquariums full of interesting sea life. The Marinarium also holds workshops throughout the year so check the website to see what’s on during your visit. Open daily from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm and closed for lunch between 12:00 and 2:00 pm.

Port de Plaisance

Concarneau has long earned its reputation as one of Brittany’s most renowned marinas. Only minutes away from the Marine Biological Station and Concarneau Marinarium is the Port de Plaisance marina. Lined with a wide array of cafes and eateries, it also doubles as one of the Concarneau’s vibrant social hubs. You can grab some seafood or delicious crepes while watching the boats bobbing gently on the waters.

Les Halles Market

If you fancy a little shopping, head to Les Halles market where you can taste regional Breton cuisine and local delicacies. While walking around the market, you’ll be able to have a chat with local farmers, fishermen and artisans as well as shop for gifts and souvenirs. The market is located on Place Jean Jaures in the heart of the town so makes the perfect pit stop for picking up picnic supplies for a day at the beach. Open daily from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm.

Pole Culturel

Next, make your way to Pole Culturel, Concarneau’s cultural hub housed in the stone Ville de Concarneau and which includes a library, a theatre and exhibition halls that host regular art exhibits, musical performances, and workshops among other events. Keep an eye on the website to see what’s happening during your visit.

Plage de Cornouaille and Plage des Sables Blancs

Concarneau is lined with beautiful beaches and the perfect place to unwind a day’s sightseeing around the city. If you’re looking for a little peace and quiet, then the secluded Plage de Cornouaille is a great option. However, if you’re looking for somewhere a little more lively then a walk to Plage des Sables Blancs is an excellent option.

Whichever beach you choose, you’ll be able to relax on golden sand, take a dip in the ocean, or have a go at numerous watersports on offer from paddle boarding to sea kayaking, snorkelling and more.

Day 1 - Afternoon  Concarneau Tour Map

Day 2

Morning: Place Duquesne

Start the second and final day of your Concarneau itinerary at Place Duquesne. Here you’ll find the statue of Admiral Abraham Duquesne, one of the French Navy’s most recognised admirals and with a staggering 8 ships named after him. Place Duquesne also offers stunning views across the water to Ville Close and the harbour.

L'Abri du Marin

A minute’s walk from Abraham Duquesne’s statue you’ll find the L'Abri du Marin. Historically it served as a sailor’s shelter and was built in 1901 by Jacques de Thezac, a local yachtsman, photographer and ethnologist. As conditions for sailors improved over the years, the building lost its significance as a shelter and was later purchased by the city’s municipality. In 1959, it was converted into a youth hostel and has since functioned as a community centre.

Moulin du Bois du Rouz

Make your way along Rue des Pins to one of the more interesting Concarneau landmarks, the Moulin du Bois du Rouz windmill which is located in a pleasant park of the same name. The Mill dates back to 1757 and sadly has seen better days, though it’s definitely worth a visit to see the contrast from the well-preserved old town. It’s also a great place to escape the bustling streets and take a moment to enjoy the lush greenery on display.

Day 2 - Morning  Concarneau Tour Map

Afternoon: Plage du Porzou

The beautiful small beach at Page du Porzou is just a couple of kilometres south of the town centre and offers a stretch of sand perfect for sunbathing, going for a dip and exploring rock pools for marine life.

Bois du Porzou

It’s a five-minute walk from the beach to the Bois du Porzou (Porzou Woods) which sits on a small headland overlooking a tranquil bay. You’ll find some of the best views in Concarneau here and there are myriad trails to take through the woods and along the cliffs. If you’re looking to take in the brisk sea air, this is an excellent place to blow away the cobwebs!

Chapelle Saint-Fiacre du Cabellou

Follow the headland around to the historic Chapelle Saint-Fiacre du Cabellou overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. This stone chapel is worth a look inside too as there are some interesting features such as the ornate stained glass windows, and the spooky Ankou statue of the Grim Reaper.

Plage De La Belle Etoile

The Plage De La Belle Etoile is a tranquil sandy cove along the Breton coastline and located on the Cabellou peninsula just south of the town centre. The beach is backed by sand dunes and surrounded by rocky outcrops, perfect for rock-pooling with the kids. This is a great place to sunbathe, swim, and just relax with stunning views along the headland. There is parking a short walk from the beach and a couple of cafes and restaurants nearby.

Le Fort du Cabellou

Make your way west on Avenue des Chaperons to Le Fort du Cabellou, an is an 18th-century fortress resting atop a headland overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The fort once boasted an armoury of 24 and 36-pound cannons protecting this important stretch of coastline and nearby towns and cities. There is also the small Plage du Fort beach and an incredibly scenic coastal footpath perfect for taking in the sea air.

Day 2 - Afternoon  Concarneau Tour Map

Best Day Trips from Concarneau

  • Quimper: The ancient capital of Cornouaille is just a 25-minute drive from Concarneau along the N165. Visit this beautiful town to experience Breton’s Celtic heritage firsthand. Devote a day's trip to see the Romanesque Church of Locmaria and admire the Gothic facade of the Cathedral of Saint-Corentin. Take a stroll in the rustic streets of Vieux Quimper and check out Musee Departemental Breton in the Episcopal Palace and the Musee des Beaux-arts de Quimper. Quimper is known for its signature tin-glazed pottery and there is a museum devoted to the craft. You can either purchase some pottery as keepsakes, or make your own by attending workshops in the area. If you are visiting in July, try not to miss the Festival de Cornouaille.

  • Brest: Brest is one of Brittany’s largest and most renowned port cities. It’s just over an hour’s drive along the N165. Start by a visit to the city’s oldest landmark, Chateau de Brest, to enjoy spectacular panoramas. The castle is also home to Musee National de la Marine and offers stunning views of the city. Take a walk over the Pont de Recouvrance to discover landmarks such as Tour Tanguy and Maison de la Fontaine. If you are a fan of art, do not skip the Brest Museum of Fine Arts and the many art galleries in the area.

  • Pont-Aven: The picturesque town that inspired an art movement bearing its name (Ecole de Pont-Aven) is a 30-minute drive from Concarneau and is well worth the trip. As soon as you set foot in Pont-Aven, you will understand the fascination that artists such as Paul Gauguin had with the place. The town itself is a stone’s throw from the enchanting Bois d'Amour woods, and is known for its many historic mills. Make sure you visit Moulin Poulguin, the only operational mill in Pont-Aven that doubles as a restaurant where you can sample the local cuisine. A detour to the alluring Chateau de Rustephan ruins is also a must, as is a visit to the Pont-Aven Museum where you can see works by the Pont-Aven School artists. If you have a sweet tooth, grab some Breton biscuits at the historic Maison Traou Mad or the La Chocolaterie de Pont-Aven.

  • Vannes: The ancient mediaeval city of Vannes is a 75-minute drive from Concarneau along the N165 and makes for an excellent day trip. Vannes is one of the oldest communes in north-western France where you can find traces of Celtic heritage. To get a full sense of this history, visit the Centre Historique de Vannes. Take your time by exploring the city’s ramparts that include Château de l'Hermine, Tour du Connetable, and various city gates. The ramparts are especially alluring at sunsets. Vannes is home to a wide array of landmarks such as the Place Henri-IV, the Gothic St. Peter Cathedral, the Church of St Patern, and the Chapel of Saint Yves. Much like other towns and cities in the region, Vannes also has its own fine arts museum, the Musee de la Cohue.

Other Things to Do in Concarneau

  • Chateau de Keriolet: Chateau de Keriolet is a 13th-century Gothic Revival castle nestled in a picturesque corner of Concarneau. It is mediaeval in origin and has had many an owner, each adding to its history and allure. Chateau de Keriolet is famed as a gift from Princess Zenaide Narischkine to her husband Count Charles de Chauveau. As you reach the castle, the ornate stonework on the walls and the many sculptures in the area guide you toward a glimpse of Concarneau history. One of the best ways to experience the castle is to take one of the guided tours on offer. Check the website for current opening times and to book a tour.

Top Things to Do With Kids in Concarneau

  • Visit Maison Georges Larnicole: It’s no secret that kids love chocolate (well, not just kids of course), so a trip to one of the region’s most famous chocolatiers is a treat for all those with a sweet tooth! Here you can sample local specialty chocolates and even have a go at making some yourself. It’s also a great place to pick up some tasty souvenirs. Open daily from 9:30 am to 7:30 pm.

  • Les Archi Kurieux: Les Archi Kurieux is an interactive scavenger hunt open to kids from four years and older. This fun activity will have you exploring the main sights of the town while learning some interesting facts along the way. There are lots of options to choose from ranging from an hour-long treasure hunt to whole-day activities. See the website for more info and to book.

  • Cineville Concarneau: If you’re looking for things to do with the family on a rainy day then pick up some popcorn and head to Cineville Concarneau. The cinema hosts everything from the newest blockbusters to local and arthouse films, so there’s something to appeal to all tastes.

  • Go on a Croisieres Bleues Cruise: Take your kids on an exciting maritime adventure by booking a cruise tour with Croisieres Bleues. This fun boat trip departs from the port of Concarneau and takes in the coastline and nearby islands, such as the Glenan. The tours include English-speaking guides so you can learn about the history of the places you pass.

  • Hop on the Celtic Train: All aboard the Celtic Train! This little train of curiosities departs every day between April and September from the Tourist Information Centre on Place Jean Jaures. Explore some of the top Concarneau attractions as you ride through the streets on a 45-minute journey which takes in Ville Close, the town’s beaches and a lot more besides.

Where to Eat and Drink in Concarneau

Concarneau offers a mix of both traditional and modern cuisine that you can taste in the town’s many restaurants. Local pubs are also there to cater to your taste in wine, brewery, and other spirits. Wherever you go, make sure you try the tuna. One of the last traditional canning factories in the region is located in Concarneau: Les Mouettes d'Arvor. Fresh tuna is everywhere!

Traditional Breton/French Restaurants

  • Le Jardin d'Angelina: This is one of the most well-known restaurants in Concarneau, located inside the Ville Close. Try to book a table outside if the weather permits, as it is known for its beautiful outdoor garden. The restaurant serves up classic French cuisine and is the perfect place to grab a bite to eat with stunning views of the old town.

  • Les Maraichers: France is the home of pastries and If you’re looking to grab some Breton pastry, then a visit to La Maison Du Kouign Amann is highly recommended. This restaurant is also located in the walled city and offers spectacular views of the ocean. It is near the Saint-Guenolé de la Ville-Close church.

  • Le Grande Hermine: Head along to Le Grande Hermine for a taste of French cooking using the plentiful ingredients to be found in and around the Breton region. Here you can indulge in classic dishes such as Boeuf Bourguignon as well as freshly caught seafood straight from the boat.

  • Les Sables Blancs: This excellent restaurant is located inside a beachfront hotel dating from 1930 and offers uninterrupted views of the Atlantic. Enjoy fresh seafood and seasonal dishes using locally sourced ingredients from across the Finistere region of Brittany.

  • Creperie Entre Amis: No trip to Brittany is complete without feasting on the local speciality, the humble crepe. Creperie Entre Amis is located on Avenue du Dr Pierre Nicolas a short walk from Ville Close and serves up a large selection of both sweet and savoury pancakes.

Fine Dining Experiences in Concarneau

  • Le Flaveur: A few minutes walk from the Port de Plaisance marina, this family-owned restaurant offers one of the best fine dining experiences in Concarneau. The top-quality ingredients, menu and service has earned Le Flaveur a coveted Bib Gourmand from the Michelin Guide, and you’ll be able to enjoy your dinner with fantastic views of the marina.

  • Le Belem Restaurant: This fine dining restaurant is also located near the marina and specialises in lobsters, oysters and other seafood (though there are plenty of alternatives on the menu too). All products are Brittany-sourced and are served in a rustic yet elegant setting.

Golfing in Concarneau

Your golfing experience in Concarneau is limited to four top-rated courses. The Golf De Cornouaille and L'Orangerie de Lanniron are both park courses. The first has 18 holes and the latter has 9. The Golf De Kerbernez course also has 9 holes and comes highly recommended. Last but not least, you have the Golf Bluegreen l’Odet which is located near the coastline and is a woodland course with stunning ocean views.

Where to Stay in Concarneau

Concarneau is home to a wide array of rental apartments, hotels, and B&Bs for to suit all budgets.

  • Thalasso Concarneau Spa Marin Resort:  With direct access to the Thalgo Thalassotherapy Institute, a sanctuary for spa services and relaxation, this contemporary 4-star hotel offers ocean views. The elegantly furnished rooms, most of which have balconies with breathtaking ocean views. The resort has a heated outdoor pool, a restaurant, and free parking.

  • Cit'Hotel Hôtel de France et d'Europe: This 3-star hotel is located in the heart of Concarneau and offers excellent service in a comfortable, rustic setting a short walk from the old town. There is onsite parking, rooms come with flatscreen TV and satellite channels, an en-suite bathroom with complimentary toiletries, and there is a relaxation room and library for guests to enjoy.

  • Maison de Kersalomon: Maison de Kersalomon is a charming 4-star bed and breakfast that is located a few kilometres from the town centre in beautiful settings. The hotel is located inside a historic building that dates back to 1905 and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. If you’re looking for peace and quiet, but still within easy reach of the town, this is an excellent option as there are just 5 rooms.

  • Les Sables Blancs: If you are looking for chic seaside accommodation, then the 4-star Les Sables Blanc is a great option. This high-end hotel is located on the beach of the same name, and guests have direct access to the beach. All rooms are equipped with modern furnishings and most have views toward the ocean. The hotel also has a separate restaurant (mentioned above) where you can enjoy fresh seafood while relaxing on the terrace.

  • Petit Manoir De Keriolet: It almost feels like this beautiful bed and breakfast is an organic part of Château de Keriolet. Here, you’ll find 5 charming rooms, each equipped with high-quality amenities. The hotel has a heated outdoor pool, and stunning garden views. A continental-style buffet breakfast of local produce is included in the price.

Best Time to Visit Concarneau

As it’s a coastal town, Concarneau is a big hit with tourists in the summer months from June to August. This is when the weather is at its best so you can enjoy al fresco dining and long days at the nearby beaches. This is also when you will find many events such as the Festival of Blue Nets (see below).

Spring and autumn are also great times to visit as there are fewer tourists and prices for hotels are cheaper. The weather will be warm enough for outdoor activities and sightseeing on foot.

Winters are off-season in Concarneau, but this can also be a great time to visit as you wrap up warm and watch the Atlantic at its most powerful, before retiring to a bistro for something warming. You’ll also largely have the place to yourself with very few tourists.

Festivals in Concarneau

  • Festival of Blue Nets: The annual Fete des Filets Bleus (Festival of the Blue Nets) is held each August in Concarneau and has been running since 1905. The festival celebrates the region’s maritime and fishing history through traditional Breton song and dance, historical reenactments, parades, food and drink and much more. One of the highlights of the festival is the Reine des Filets Bleus (Queen of the Blue Nets) when a new queen is voted in by locals. The next edition runs from 7th to 11th August 2024.

  • Festival Jazz’y Krampouezh: If you’re a fan of jazz music you’ll not want to miss the Jazz’y Krampouezh festival which celebrates France’s jazz greats with a healthy dose of Breton cuisine thrown in for good measure (think crepes, oysters and Breton cider). The festival takes place each July and the next gathering is from 14th to 18th July 2024.

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