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Finistère (French pronunciation: ​[fi.nis.tɛʁ]; Breton: Penn-ar-Bed Breton pronunciation: [ˌpɛnarˈbeːt]) is a department of France in the extreme west of Brittany.

History

Historical regions of Brittany

The present department consists of the historical region of Léon and parts of Cornouaille and Trégor, both parts of pre-revolutionary Brittany.

The name Finistère derives from the Latin Finis Terræ, meaning end of the earth. In England, a similar area is called Land's End. The Breton name for Finistère, Penn ar Bed, translates as "Head/End of the World" and is similar to the Cornish name for Land's End, Pedn-an-Wlas (Head/End of the country). Finistère is not to be confused with Finisterre in Galicia, Spain, which shares the same etymology.

Geography

The largest population center in Finistère is Brest. Other large towns in the department include Quimper (the capital), Concarneau, Morlaix, Carhaix, Quimperlé and Douarnenez. Finistère includes the island of Ushant (Eusa in Breton, Ouessant in French).

Finistère is the westernmost department of Metropolitan France and can also claim to be the "most coastal" department in Metropolitan France. Of its 279 communes, 118 are located on the coast. Its total coastline of approximately 1,250 km (776.71 mi) accounts for almost a quarter of the entire Brittany coast-line.

Map of Finistère

The abers, rugged fjord-like inlets on the north coast, are a notable feature of the landscape.

The westernmost point of continental France, known as the Pointe de Corsen, extends from the northwestern tip of Finistère. A few miles to the south is the slightly less westerly, but rugged and isolated, headland of Pointe du Raz.

Economy

Agriculture, food processing and various related industries occupy an important place in Finistère's economy.

The military presence in Finistère (Île Longue nuclear submarine base and the Naval Air base of Lanvéoc-Poulmic), as well as military-related industries, such as the Brest headquarters of DCNS, employ a significant number of the département's population.

The port of Roscoff links Brittany by ferry with Ireland and Great Britain.

Culture

Finistère is the area where Breton survives most strongly as a spoken language. Breton-speaking schools are called Diwan, Divyezh and Dihun.

The Festival de Cornouaille, which takes place in Quimper, is a celebration of Breton music and traditions. One of the highlights of summer in Finistère is the "Festival des Vieilles Charrues" held in Carhaix-Plouguer. Major international stars attract tens of thousands of spectators.[2]

The painter Raymond Wintz (1884–1956) featured many locations around Finistère.

Roland Doré was a sculptor who executed many of the calvaries in Finistère.

Tourism

See also

References

  1. ^ INSEE Finistere 2012. Retrieved 10 April 2009.
  2. ^ "Vieilles Charrues Festival", official website

External links