Brest is a city in the Finistère département in Brittany in northwestern France. Located in a sheltered position not far from the western tip of the Breton peninsula, and the western extremity of metropolitan France, Brest is an important harbour and the second French military port after Toulon. The city is located at one of the occidental edges of continental Europe, hence the expression « Europe from Brest to Brest ».
Counting 142,722 inhabitants, Brestois and Brestoises (2007 sensur), Brest is the main metropolitan area (reaching 300,300 inhabitants) of Western Brittany, only third behind Nantes and Rennes in the whole Brittany, and the 22nd populous city of France; moreover, Brest provides services to the one million inhabitants of Western Brittany. Although Brest is by far the largest city in Finistère, the préfecture (regional capital) of the department is the much smaller Quimper.