Penn-ar-Bed  (Breton)
Prefecture building of the Finistère department, in Quimper
Prefecture building of the Finistère department, in Quimper
Flag of Finistère
Coat of arms of Finistère
Location of Finistère in France
Location of Finistère in France
Coordinates: 48°15′N 04°00′W / 48.250°N 4.000°W / 48.250; -4.000Coordinates: 48°15′N 04°00′W / 48.250°N 4.000°W / 48.250; -4.000
Country France
Region Brittany
Prefecture Quimper
Subprefectures Brest
 • President of the General Council Nathalie Sarrabezolles (PS)
 • Total 6,733 km2 (2,600 sq mi)
 • Total 908,249
 • Rank 24th
 • Density 130/km2 (350/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST) UTC+2 (CEST)
Department number 29
Largest city Brest
Arrondissements 4
Cantons 27
Communes 277
^1 French Land Register data, which exclude estuaries, and lakes, ponds, and glaciers larger than 1 km2

Finistère (/ˌfɪnɪˈstɛər/, French: [finistɛʁ] (About this soundlisten); Breton: Penn-ar-Bed [ˌpɛnarˈbeːt]) is a department of France in the extreme west of Brittany.


Historical regions of Brittany
Historical population
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1801 439,046 —    
1821 483,095 +0.48%
1831 524,396 +0.82%
1841 576,068 +0.94%
1851 617,710 +0.70%
1861 627,304 +0.15%
1876 666,106 +0.40%
1881 681,564 +0.46%
1891 727,012 +0.65%
1901 773,014 +0.62%
1921 752,514 −0.13%
1936 757,000 +0.04%
1946 724,735 −0.43%
1954 727,847 +0.05%
1962 749,558 +0.37%
1968 769,000 +0.43%
1975 804,088 +0.64%
1982 829,865 +0.45%
1990 838,366 +0.13%
1999 852,273 +0.18%
2006 879,497 +0.45%
2016 908,249 +0.32%

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), and also Penfro (English: Pembroke) in Wales (pen = end, bro = country). Finistère is not to be confused with Finisterre in Galicia, Spain, which shares the same etymology.


The largest population centre 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. About 40 kilometres to the south (as the crow flies) is the slightly less westerly, but rugged and isolated, headland of Pointe du Raz.


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.


Current National Assembly Representatives


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.[3]

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

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


See also


  1. ^ "Site sur la Population et les Limites Administratives de la France". Archived from the original on 2006-10-25. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2006-03-18. Retrieved 2018-12-13.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Vieilles Charrues Festival" Archived 2011-02-03 at the Wayback Machine, official website

External links