Brest (pop. 156,000) was transformed into a somber wasteland in 1944 by Allied bombers driving out the occupying German flotilla However, the city has begun to show signs of life; Brest features a number of pleasant daytime cafes and a new summer concert series, as well as one of the largest aquariums around. Brest’s chateau was the only building in the town to survive WWII, and is now the world’s oldest active military institution, as well as home to the Musee de la Marine, off r. de Chateau, which highlights the local maritime history. (Open Apr.-Sept. daily 10am-6:30pm; Oct.-Mar. M and W-Su lOam-noon and 2-6pm. ‚4.60, students ‚3.) The newly renovated Oceanopolis, at port de Plaisance, has tropical, temperate, and polar pavilions and a coral reef accessible by a glass elevator. From the Liberty terminal, take bus #7 (dir.: Port de Plaisance; M-Sa every 30min. until 7:30pm; ‚1) to Oceanopolis. ( 02 98 34 40 40. Open Apr.-Aug. daily 9am-6pm; Sept.-Mar. Su 10am-6pm, Tu-Sa 10am-5pm. ‚15.)
Trains (02 98 31 51 72) leave pi. du 19eme Regiment d’Infanterie for Nantes (4hr. 6 per day, ‚35); Quimper (30min. 5 per day, ‚14); and Rennes (lMhr. 15 per day, ‚27). From the station, av. Georges Clemenceau leads to the intersection of r. de Siam and r. Jean Jaures, and the tourist office, at pi. de la Liberte. ( 02 98 44 24 96. Open July-Aug. M-Sa 9:30am-7pm, Su lOam-noon; Sept.-June M-Sa 10am-12:30pm and 2-6pm.) Access the Internet at @cces.cibles, 31 av. Clemenceau. (02 98 33 73 07. ‚3 per hr. Open M-Sa llam-lam, Su 2-llpm.) For the luxurious CSAub-erge de Jeunesse (HI) , 5 r. de Kerbriant, 4km away near Oceanopolis, take bus #7 (dir.: Port de Plaisance) from opposite the station to its final stop (M-Sa until 7:30pm, Su until 6pm; ‚1); with your back to the bus stop, go left toward the beach, take an immediate left, and follow the signs to the hostel. (02 98 41 90 41. Reception M-F 7-9am and 5-8pm, Sa-Su 7-10am and 6-8pm. Curfew July-Aug. midnight; Sept.-June 1 lpm; ask for a key. Dorms ‚ 12.) Kelig Hotel , 12 r. de Lyon, has clean, relatively spacious rooms. ( 02 98 80 47 21. Breakfast ‚6. Singles ‚24-37; doubles ‚27-40; triples ‚44-47. AmExMCV.) The area at the end of rue de Siam, near the port, has a variety of restaurants. Postal Code: 29200.