9173F Quai d’Aiguillon
Concarneau its history …
Concarneau, which at the end of the 19th century only measured around one hundred hectares, now has 40 times more and ranks third among the municipalities of Finistère for its population. In the meantime, it has had to expand considerably to include the two neighboring municipalities, Beuzec and Lanriec. An extension justified, in large part, by the need to find building surfaces both for new industries and to house the population linked to them.
A military past
Without going back to the few prehistoric and Gallo-Roman settlements unearthed in the surrounding area, it is certain that in the 14th century already a veritable agglomeration surrounded by stone walls occupied the island still called “the Closed City” today. They are at first simple fishermen’s cottages mixed with a few more important bourgeois buildings; But the location of this islet caught the attention of the military very early on: it is an ideal position to prohibit the possible landing of enemies. But they also covet this place which could be an ideal point of support for them. It is true that for centuries disturbing squadrons will cross off the coast. This Closed City will be the object of fights, of bargaining, of seizures by ruse and will pass successively into the hands of the troops of the Duchy, the King, the English, the Protestants, the Leaguers… The most famous feat of arms is without Doubt the siege of the city, in 1373, by Duguesclin who will succeed in driving out the English garrison.
Several times altered, completed, raised, the city walls will remain until the XIXth century, a refuge of release for the warships or of trade, on the road from Port-Louis to Brest.
A cramped city
But the small town, enclosed within its walls, needs space. It must “spill over” onto neighboring shores. Soon, the suburbs of Pénéroff, Aire-l’Evêque and the Route de Quimper saw their population densify: first of all the residences of notables, lawyers, wealthy traders, then fishermen, artisans. Fish-salting plants attract an influx of rural labor. New neighborhoods replace moors and meadows.
In the middle of the 19th century, the appearance of the first canning factories amplified this movement. All over the place and especially in the La Croix district, by the sea, factories are setting up and new artisans are opening up shop. Fishing and the related activities become the raison d’être of Concarneau.
At the same time, from the end of the 19th century, the first amateurs of “sea bathing” had villas of surprising shapes built along the beaches. Hotels and family pensions are multiplying.
From the thirties, will come the first campers, precursors of the amateurs of caravans then of camper vans or mobile homes. Even today, Concarneau retains this dual attraction of a city with multiple activities and a family resort.
Access to the fortifications is open during each school holiday period, free of charge. The Maison du Patrimoine provides access to the ramparts via the Governor’s Tower, which was completely renovated a few years ago.
Information on opening hours: 02 98 60 76 06.