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Place Wilson (Wilson Square) in Brest

In the city centre, the square only comes alive at the end of the school day, when children come to play.
It was once a very lively square, a witness to the history of Brest.

Planned by Vauban in 1694 and levelled in 1704 to serve as a manoeuvring ground for the navy guards, this square was first called "Champ de bataille" (battlefield).

During the Revolution, it was named "Place de la Liberté" (Liberty square) after the tree of the same name planted there, reflecting the central and busy location. A guillotine was also built there...

After the fall of Napoleon and during the Restauration, the tree was cut down in 1816. An altar of the Fatherland took its place and the square took back its original name.

In 1890, the simple wooden platform in the centre of the square was replaced by a bandstand:
the "Musique des équipages de la flotte" and other infantry regiments were played there every day.
It was a major leisure and entertainment venue, but also a place of music education for the children of the Third Republic.

During Christmas, the funfair was set up all around and one could admire the show from the balustrades overhanging a small wall built by convicts.

It was only after the First World War that the so-called "kiosk square" was named after the American president Thomas Woodrow Wilson. This was to pay tribute to the crucial contribution of the United States to the war and to honour his quick visit on December 13, 1918: he arrived in Brest on a boat and then took a train to Paris in a wagon covered with a huge star-spangled banner to sign the Treaty of Versailles.

Thirty years later, during the German occupation, a shelter replaced the bandstand.
After the bombings of 1944, only ruins were left behind.
Another bandstand with the strangest acoustics was built in the 1950s, in reinforced concrete.
But the one that the people of Brest nicknamed "the mushroom" or "the flying saucer" has never been as successful.
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