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Lorient

Le Quai des Indes à Lorient

From "Soleil d'Orient", the 1st ship built in 1667 by the French East India Company. Became Lorient under the Revolution.

Lorient is known above all for the Festival Interceltique, a world renowned festival of Celtic music.
Lorient is a town with six ports: military, fishing (the 1st in France), commercial, leisure, passengers, offshore racing.

Rebuilt after the war, Lorient today has all the facilities of a large city. Among them are the university, the Moustoir stadium, the Grand Théâtre, the Scorff hospital, etc. Today, Lorient is continuing to grow, especially by reconverting former military sites: the Péristyle which houses the Town Hall and is an upcoming quarter, Lorient La Base developing around nautical activities.
Le Triskell (public transport) is changing the urban landscape and enhancing mobility in the town that lies at the centre of the conglomeration.

Some History…

L'Orient was born in 1666, when the French East India Company was set up by Colbert in 1664 in Port-Louis.

In the years 1730 to 1750, the port was remodelled by Gabriel (shops and auction houses) and a new, modern town grew up. Commerce was predominant until 1794.

Since 1770 the port belonged to the French Navy who became its sole user in 1820. Civilian activities took over from 1880-1920: trade in coal and wood, the Keroman fishing port in 1927 and the new Chamber of Commerce in 1931.

The 20th century saw a surge in military ship building in the arsenal. Everything came to a halt in 1940 to 1945. The town which had become the main operating base for German submarines, was bombarded by the Allies, evacuated and destroyed in 1943. Almost 20 years of reconstruction followed the liberation of 10th May 1945.

Maritime activities developed around the arsenal with the French Navy, the fishing port, the commercial port of Kergroise, the marina and passenger terminal. In 1997, the submarine base closed.

Source: le patrimoine des communes du Morbihan, Flohic éditions, 1996. 

 

To See:

  • Le Grand Théâtre: 60 years after the destruction of the former Théâtre, the Grand Théâtre opened its doors in 2003 (architect: Henri Gaudin)
  • La Base de sous-marins de Keroman (1942-1943). This is the largest 20th century fortress, designed to hold around twenty submarines and their crews. Guided tours only.
  • Le sous-marin Flore S645 and its museum.
  • Le Musée sous-marin The Lorient Submariners' museum: guided by specialists in diving and history, there is an impressive simulator built in 1942 to train submariners.
  • La Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarlyan interactive museum to learn everything about sailing and offshore racing.
  • L'Enclos du Port: the first installations of the Compagnie des Indes at the Faouëdic site, the tour de la Découverte, the Hotel Gabriel (former sales office of the Compagnie des Indes – exhibitions all year round),
  • The bomb shelter. A memorial to the destroyed town at the place Alsace Lorraine. Guided tours only.
  • The private houses on the quai des Indes symbolise the power and prosperity of the town at the end of the 18th century.
  • Houses of the 1930s: influenced by “Italian masons” fleeing Mussolini's regime, many 1930's buildings, highly original for their time, remain in Lorient.
  • Galerie du Faouëdic (arts)
  • Port tours around the ports of Lorient to discover the maritime know-how in Lorient. Guided tours only.

Events:

  • Carnaval de Lorient, in March
  • Lorient Festival Interceltique, from 1st Friday to 2nd Sunday in August, a world renowned festival of contemporary Celtic music with almost 4500 artists and 650,000 spectators. 
  • La Lorientaise, a women’s road race to raise money for breast cancer. 1st Sunday in October.
  • Nautical races, regattas and events.

All festivities and events in Lorient on www.lorient.fr

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