Crozet and Kerguelen Exhibition in Brest, France

Crozet and Kerguelen Exhibition in Brest, France


250 years ago, the Crozet and Kerguelen archipelagos in the southern Indian Ocean were discovered on 22 January 1772, and 12 February 1772, respectively, by two separate French explorers.  The island groups were given their names by James Cook in 1776, and are still known by them today.

An exhibition about the discovery of these islands, their subsequent history, and what is there today, is being held at the National Maritime Museum in Brest, France. 

The purpose of the expedition of Marc-Joseph Marion Dufresne (1724-1772) was to take home the Tahitian Aoutourou, who had been taken to Paris by Bougainville.  The purpose of that of Yves-Joseph de Kerguelen de Trémarec (1734-1797) was to find the Southern Continent.

The first part of the exhibition is dedicated to 18th century travel.  Visitors can walk through a ship’s cabin illustrated with charts and navigational instruments.  There is a portrait gallery of the major players in the exploration of the Southern seas who were present in Mauritius, from where the ships departed south.

In the second part, visitors embark with the French explorers Dufresne and Kerguelen on their voyages to these two archipelagos.  These discoveries are illustrated by an account of the expeditions up to Cook’s Third Voyage, and the “Map of the Southern Hemisphere” that appeared in the French translation of the official account of Cook’s Second Voyage.

The third part of the exhibition introduces visitors to these territories.  In the 19th century whalers and sealers sailed there, and various objects of life on board are displayed.  They are followed by informa­tion about scientific expeditions, the risks of ship­wreck, and the meetings that took place between the different people who came to these territories.

Visitors are guided to the fourth room of the exhibition by the sound of the wind, and the cries of animals typical of these islands.  Archives, photos, books, maps, etc., illustrate French sovereignty over these territories, resulting in the establishment of permanent bases.  Among the exhibits, are herbariums made during expeditions, meteoro­logical instruments and field equipment.

The Crozet Archipelago is composed of five main islands.  The Kerguelen archipelago is composed of a main island and more than 300 islets.  Together with the islands of Saint-Paul and Amsterdam, the Adelie Land in Antarctica, and several other islands, they make up what is known as the French Southern and Antarctic Territories (Les Terres Australes et Antarctiques Françaises-TAAF). 


The exhibition runs until 5 March, 2023.  It is open every day.  Entrance fee is €7. 

For more information visit the website