Concarneau is now the third largest town in the Finistère department. However, this has not always been the case. The strong growth that the town and its commune have experienced is closely linked to the history of this island commonly known as the Ville Close.
A strategic military position
Tracing its past, we know that already in the 14th century, a population of occupants had formed a settlement on the island and built a first fortified wall around it. The first inhabitants were mainly fishermen.
However, the island's position as an outpost soon aroused the interest and desire of the military. Many conflicts took place around this rock. Throughout its history, the Ville Close has seen many battles, and even a siege in 1373 won by Duguesclin, allowing the French to retake the position from the English. The various occupations of the walled city are the reason for the many alterations to its wall.
The birth of Concarneau
Until the 19th century, the Walled Town saw the cohabitation of soldiers and merchants. But the area of the island soon became too small to contain all these people.
Buildings then multiplied on the neighbouring shores. At first, it was the wealthy (notables, judges, and wealthy merchants) who moved in. Then it was the turn of local craftsmen and fishermen's families to settle down, allowing at the same time the deployment of workshops and canneries in Concarneau.
A real fishing industry was established. With this local economic development, many jobs were created, initiating a new expansion of the town. Fields and meadows gave way to completely new districts.
A Closed City that leads to openness
Alongside this development, the town and its surrounding landscape retain a real appeal to travellers and holidaymakers who come to relax and enjoy the Breton coast.
From the end of the 19th century onwards, there were two notable effects which still characterise the city as it exists today.
On the one hand, there is the phenomenon of wealthy families building large residences along the beaches to enjoy the "sea baths". These villas still stand on the coast today, bearing witness to the history of the commune.
At the same time, the tourism sector is developing very strongly. Indeed, over the years, more and more travellers choose to stay in the area around Concarneau. The town, its landscapes and its history are very popular and are at the origin of the emergence of camping and later of caravanning in the area.
Today, the walled city is one of the most visited monuments in Brittany. During your visit, you can stroll along the ramparts and contemplate the fishing port, the marina and enjoy a superb view of the bay of Concarneau.
Don't hesitate to stop by the Admiral's after your walk!
Have a good walk and see you soon.
Access to the Ville Close is free for all and you can find out the exact opening times by calling this number: 02 98 60 76 06