The Tour Tanguy is a medieval tower on a rocky motte beside the Penfeld river in Brest. Probably built during the Breton War of Succession, it faces the château de Brest and is now accessed by a road off the square Pierre Péron, at one end of the pont de Recouvrance. It now houses the Museum of Old Brest, a museum with a collection of dioramas that depict the city of Brest on the eve of World War II.

Probably built to protect or block crossings between the two banks of the river, the tower's origins cannot be precisely determined. It may have been built by the English during their occupation of the city in the 14th century, or earlier by lord Tanguy du Chastel, of the line of lords of Quilbignon which distinguished itself in battles against the English in Brittany and contributed to the development of the right bank. The name bastille de Quilbignon gives places to that of tour Tanguy, a forename held by members of this line. Their arms are engraved below the tower's gate. The family's powerbase was at the château de Trémazan at Landunvez.

Jean de Montfort handed it over to the English in 1341, but it was restored to his son John V, Duke of Brittany in 1397. Until about 1580, the tower was the seat of justice for the lords of Le Châtel, and it was neglected after that date, becoming the property of the Rohan-Guéméné family in 1786 before becoming a French royal possession and finally being sold to a Mr Gabon on the French Revolution.

In 1862, it was bought by the architect Barillé who turned it into his house, cutting windows and building on its top a sort of Chinese-style roof over a kiosk or pavilion. Its last occupant and private owner, doctor Joseph Thielmans, left it after it caught fire during the bombardment of 1944 (the bombing also destroyed the pavilion). It was acquired by the town of Brest on 15 July 1954 and summarily repaired, but its state worsened once more and its future was compromised by the redevelopment of the Recouvrance quarter. In 1959 the town finally charged the painter Jim_Sévellec with evoking the town's past, of which few remains were left. The tower was restored and opened as the Museum of Old Brest on 25 July 1962. In 1971, a turret was added and the Neo Gothic cornice along the battlements replaced to restore the tower to its medieval shape.

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Rue de la Tour 2, Brest, France
See all sites in Brest

Details

Founded: 14th century
Category: Castles and fortifications in France

More Information

en.wikipedia.org

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Adam Ruskin (5 months ago)
Cool area to walk around. Nothing super exciting but nice place. The dry dock was cool.
Nancy Olsson (2 years ago)
Interesting place, with dioramas showing scenes of Brest before WWII changed its character. The old photos were the best part for me. Sadly, no photography allowed inside.
Alan Lee (2 years ago)
Fascinating history told through intricate dioramas - very much enjoyed my visit
DAVID BURNS (2 years ago)
Very informative but mostly in French not allowed to take photos inside
Vincent THONG (3 years ago)
Beautiful place
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