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Concarneau (in Breton Konk-Kerne) is a commune in the department of Finistère in the Brittany region of France. It is a third municipality of Finistère by its population, capital of a canton and an agglomeration community, Concarneau, which includes the former municipalities of Beuzec-Conq and Lanriec, is a town located on the Cornish coast in the bay of The forest.

The city was formed in the Middle Ages from the walled city located in the Moros estuary. This natural shelter has enabled the development of the seventh largest French fishing port in landed tonnage and major shipyards.

Its location on the coast and its historical heritage make it today a leading Breton tourist destination.



The town of Concarneau is built around the Walled City. Suburbs have developed on the continent around this "island-city". It was only recently in the history of Concarneau that the city emerged from its ramparts.

Prehistory and Gallo-Roman period
The first traces of civilization in Concarneau were not found in the Walled City but around the bay. The density of the habitat and the profound alterations of the soil created by the various constructions can explain this absence of artefacts.

Around Concarneau, megaliths attest to the presence of civilization in the Neolithic period, such as the dolmen of Keristin-Beuzec (or Keristin-ar-Hoat-Milieu), a V-shaped burial site from the 4th millennium BC. This monument, representing the transition between the passage dolmens and the covered alleys, has retained all its pillars but no table. Its eastern part is overgrown with vegetation.

An Iron Age tunnel was discovered at Stang-Vihan (between Sables Blancs beach and Saint-Laurent cove) in 1966; it is made up of four rectangular rooms, the sides measure between 1.4 and 1.8 meters, only one of which has retained its vault. The height of the rooms is about 1.5 meters; one reached it by two wells, discovered entirely filled. Pottery, millstones and various objects, including many shards, have been discovered there.

A small Gallo-Roman thermal establishment was brought to light in the years 1964-1965, near the place called Questel.

City foundation
The oldest act, in which mention of Concarneau is the cartulary of the abbey of Landévennec. This act, written around 1050, does not directly quote Concarneau (or any other name designating Concarneau), it reads: Ego Gradlonus do sanclo Uuingualeo, locum sancli Uuingualet in Buduc, V villas Translated into Me, Gradhlon, I give to Saint -Guénolé, the place of Saint-Guénolé, in the parish of Beuzec, five houses.

Saint Guénolé (461-532) is the founder of the Landévennec abbey. At the time, the parish of Beuzec included the current district of Beuzec and the islet of Conq. The houses referred to were set up as a priory on the highest part of the island. Today we can locate this place on the place Saint-Guénolé. The monks of Landévennec will therefore build their priory, and help the development of the city.

According to other sources, Concarneau would have been founded by Concar son of Urbien and grandson of king Judicaël. He would have driven out the Picts present and would therefore have settled on the rocky islet of Concarneau. Concar baptized in 692 the city Concar-Keroneos or Conkerneos which would be translated by Concar, son of Urbien. Concar died in 725. Concarneau was taken by the Franks in 799, but taken over by the Bretons in 80928.

The rocky islet of Conq, now a Walled City, depended on the parish of Beuzec. It is possible that it was defended by deep ditches with earthen entrenchments surmounted by strong palisades in tree trunks surrounding a castle mound bearing the castle, but no archaeological traces were found during excavations carried out in 1997 The base of a 13th century tower and a 14th century wall found near the Fer à Cheval tower confirm the existence of a medieval wall.

The Middle Age
The Fouesnant - Concarneau region formed in the early Middle Ages the Konk pagus, a historic country, it was a pagus, that is to say an administrative subdivision of Cornouaille.

The 10th and 11th centuries
The population has grown a lot. A church was built, the priory chapel having become too small, this church still being in the parish of Beuzec. Conc is the capital of a ducal chatellenie.

From the 12th century to the 15th century
Duke John II had an auditorium built for the ducal court and it was probably he who would have had the first stone wall enclosure built around the islet, even if it is not possible to date it with precision, but the 13th century or early 14th century period is most likely. In the twelfth century, only five towns in Brittany (Rennes, Nantes, Vannes, Aleth and Dinan) were surrounded by a stone wall, most of the time it was Gallo-Roman fortifications. At that time there is a seneschal and the ordinary officers of a court, prosecutors, sergeants, notaries, etc. A community made up of bourgeois, merchants and fishermen lives in the city, protected it seems by a keep or a fortified tower.


The fortified islet (current Ville Close) was then classified as the fourth stronghold in Brittany. Bastion placed in vanguard for the defense of the duchy then of the kingdom, the city became the stake of many fights and rivalries between the English and the French, in particular during the War of Succession of Brittany during which the English, came to the aid of Jean de Montfort, invested the city. In 1373, after thirty years of English occupation, the Constable Du Guesclin, with the help of the troops of the Dukes of Rohan, Maury, Beaumanoir and the Sire de Vaucouleurs, took the city on behalf of the King of France Charles V , support of Jeanne de Penthièvre. All the English were passed to the edge of the sword, with the exception of the chief to whom "the constable granted mercy".

The Duke of Brittany Pierre II had the wall rebuilt and the work continued by his successors Arthur III and François II.

In 1488, the Walled City, after the defeat of Saint-Aubin-du-Cormier, passed into the hands of the King of France Charles VIII, before being taken over by the Bretons. “At this time, this fortified place was only a retreat for thieves and rope-people, as it is clear from experience that if someone had murdered his neighbor or made some theft, or ravished some girl or woman, Concarneau was his retreat, ”writes Canon Moreau. In 1489, the Viscount of Rohan, helped by Jean IV de Rieux, besieged the city, which soon succumbed, temporarily coming back under French control. The Duchess Anne, trying to prevent the subjugation of the Duchy of Brittany to the Kingdom of France appealed to the English who occupied the city until 1495.

Modern era
The wars of the League
During the wars of the League, January 17, 1576, thirty gentlemen of the country, commanded by Messrs de Kermassouet and Baud de Vigne-la-Houlle, who professed the Reformed religion, took the city by cunning. The garrison was put to death and Louis de Lézonnet, the governor of the city, had to flee. The Reformed then appealed to the Rochellois who dispatched a squadron commanded by Du Vigean. The inhabitants of the neighboring parishes, commanded by de Pratmaria and Jean de Tyvarlen, assemble at the sound of the tocsin and move towards Concarneau. It would be difficult to force them without Charles Le Bris, a merchant from Concarneau, who stabbed the Sieurs de Kermassouet and Baud de Vigne-la-Houlle in their beds, seized the keys he had around his arms, and left. open the city gates. The Calvinists were all slaughtered. Du Vigean's ships, arriving too late, fled on hearing of the fall of the place.

Louis de Lézonnet took over the government of Concarneau; like most of the Breton nobility, he first sided with the Ligueurs, and was one of the first Breton nobles to join the Duke of Mercœur who entrusted him with the defense of Concarneau, but later the conversion of King Henry IV to Catholicism in 1593, the latter left him the governorate of Concarneau. Louis de Lézonnet died in 1595 as a result of an injury received "during an enterprise against the city of Quimper (...) leaving for successor in the command of the place de Concarneau a minor son under the tutelage of Jean de Jegado his cousin ". Concarneau became a royal jurisdiction with the right of provost and was one of the 42 towns of Brittany which henceforth deputed to the States of the province.

On May 5, 1597, Jean Jegado, Lord of Kerollain, then governor of Concarneau on behalf of his nephew Lézonnet, an orphan in infancy, went to Quimper in the company of seven or eight armed soldiers, as he used to do, at the very moment when brigands led by La Fontenelle attack the city. He helped the Quimpérois to push them back.

The seventeenth century and eighteenth century
In July 1619, King Louis XIII, dissatisfied with the actions of the governor of Concarneau, the Sieur de Lézonnet, ordered the governor of Brittany, then César de Vendôme, to go and take control of the city, which necessitated the lifting of an army consisting “of three hundred horses from the companies of ordinance and three hundred Swiss and some cannons which descended along the Loire and were led by sea; in six twenty soldiers drawn from the companies of the guards that the King gave to lead to the Sieur de la Besne, one of the captains of the guards of HM [His Majesty] and in a few companies of the regiments of Picardy, Navarre and Beaumont ”, which embarked in Tours on July 29, 1619 to descend the Loire, then arrived by land as far as Quimperlé where César de Vendôme joined them to undertake the siege of the city, establishing his headquarters in Chef-du-Bois. The Sieur de Lézonnet eventually capitulated and surrendered, the governorate of the city was then assigned to the Sieur de l'Isle Rouhé.



The town of Concarneau is located in the south of the Finistère department in the west of the Brittany region. It is the third municipality of the department by its population and the main one of the urban area of ​​Concarneau which brings together two municipalities and 27,031 inhabitants in 2007. Its urban unit includes the municipalities of Concarneau and Trégunc. Concarneau is located 19 km from Quimper, 44 km from Lorient, 71 km from Brest, 169 km from Rennes and 475 km from Paris.

Bordering municipalities
The city was born in the old fortified island, attached to the mainland by a fortified bridge, called "Ville close" and located in the Moros estuary where the port developed, mainly on the right bank, even if urban extensions exist on the left bank (Le Passage-Lanriec, Le Cabellou). The seafront located further west, along the Atlantic Ocean, made up of several beaches (Plage des Dames, Plage des Sables blancs, etc.), is essentially seaside all along the corniche.