In the heart of Southern Brittany, Lorient is the "town of five ports": it is a military port, yachting marina, fishing port (the second largest in France), industrial port, and passenger port. Lorient is resolutely ruled by the Atlantic Ocean. In the 17th century the French East India Company based itself in Port-Louis (5 km from Lorient) and began to construct its first boat which was destined to trade with the countries of the Far East, China, Africa and the New World. It was named the Soleil d'Orient or "eastern sun" and thus the port town was named Lorient (l'orient being the east). Drop anchor in Lorient, martime town par excellence, and discover this land of celtic history and tradition.
To get to know Lorient, you'll need to explore its marine treasures first and formost. Dive into the deep at the Keroman Submarine base in Lorient. The largest fortress built in the 20th century, it was designed to accommodate around 20 submarines and their equipment. You won't find another museum quite like this in Europe: learn all about deep sea rescue techniques and all kinds of marine operations.
Lorient's history is tied up with the Compagnie des Indes or French East India Company. Inside the 16th century fortress you'll find the Compagnie des Indes Museum - Port-Louis Citadel which addresses a subject which has never before been studied in France : the commercial adventures of the great trading companies of the 17th and 18th centuries. Trading in far flung places such as Ouidah, Moka, Pondicherry, Chandannagar, Pegu, Guangzhou… these traders were conquering the world.
In the yachting marina, climb aboard the boat called La Thalassa, which sailed the seven seas for 35 years. Come and discover the study of the ocean which was undertaken from this vessel. Feel the roll of the ocean as you learn all about the people who dedicated their lives to oceanography and the improvement of fishing techniques.
The Eric Tabarly sailing village which pays tribute to Eric Tabarly, one of the greatest French sailors of all time who revolutionised the world of modern sailing. Imagine you're sailing a race with the champion, test, manouvre and push your boat to victory… you can win the Celtikup! This race and festival, the Celtikup takes place in early August, turning Lorient into the landing point for Celtic cultures from all over the globe: Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Isle of Man, Ireland, Galicia and Asturias… not forgetting the Bretons. Concerts in Lorient, dances, and all kinds of entertainment will be on the programme at this great event.
45 minutes by Batobus from Lorient, you can escape the crowds at the fine sandy beaches and unspoilt coves of the île de Groix. Hire a bicyle to get around the island easily. Pont-Aven is just 35 minutes from Lorient. This is the village in which the painters of the School of Pont-Aven (Paul Gauguin and friends) lived and worked. Le The Pont-Aven Museum of Fine Arts is a must see if you're visiting Brittany.
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