It all starts in 1631 as Richelieu, minister of king Louis 13th was deciding of a location where could be built and shelter the fleet of the Atlantic.

   Brest was chosen for its bay and prefered to major harbours like Le Havre or Brouage, which had no natural protection against the gales and the ennemy.

   The mouth of river Penfeld, the river of Brest, weighed heavy in Richelieu’s decision, its deep waters representing the ideal mooring for the fleet, right at the foot of the castle of Brest.


   And Brest’s castle had a reputation for being impregnable.

In the middle ages (100 year’s war), Du Guesclin had failed to take it back from the English invadors in spite of his artillery.



   Some time later, the Lords of Brittany bought the fortress from the English.

Then came the religious wars. The English besieged the castle of Brest, defended by lord Rieux de Sourdéac and failed.




   1594 : the ennemies of the kingdom decided to change tactics. They tried to take control of the sound of Brest and thus prevent every access to the port of Brest. The Spaniards failed in this military operation.


  1691 : King Louis 14th had been at war since 1688 when he was informed of a possible English invasion of the Roscanvel peninsula by his secret agents.   Vauban was immediately put in charge of protecting the peninsula. The huge works began in an emergency.

 Vauban laid the bases of the fortifications which were consolidated and improved in the following centuries.




  The invasion took place on June 18th 1694.

Some 150 English man-o’-wars reached the bay of Camaret . In spite of the bad weather conditions, the soldiers were disembarked. There, they were expected by the troops of the king of France, safe behind Vauban’s fortifications. The ennemies were violently repelled.

  They left some 500 dead soldiers on the beach of Trez-Rouz, named after the event (Trez-Rouz means « red sands » in the Breton language).