Closer to home ,Lorient!

Yes indeed ,let’s come home shall we! This is just around my alley in the beautiful Morbihan 56 of Brittany. For those new to my blog, Morbihan is the only French department adminstrative division that is not in French ,but rather in native Breton language. Mor=sea bihan=small or small sea or petite mer in French. Lorient is from the Orient for a history. Lorient in the Morbihan 56 of Brittany/Bretagne/Breizh . Still an active port city and maritime arsenal at the bottom of the Bay of Lorient.  It is located at the mouth of the Blavet and Scorff rivers , which flows into the Bay of Lorient, then into the Atlantic Ocean. The town is located 503 km from Paris, 153 km from Rennes and 158 km from Nantes. The capital of the Morbihan, Vannes is only 57 km.

This year will be the stage 5 of the Tour de France bicycle race starting point to Quimper finish point. All about the race already mentioned in a previous post, this is all you need for the stage around Lorient. Tour de France at Lorient

Brief history of the tour de France passing by Lorient with year , stage, and route:

1956 6 Saint-Malo Lorient 7 Lorient Angers ; 1960 6 Saint-Malo  Lorient 7 Lorient  Angers ;  1968 6 Dinard  Lorient ; 7 Lorient Nantes ; 1977 8 Angers Lorient ; 9 Lorient Rennes ;  1982 9  Lorient Plumelec ;  1985 2 Lorient  Vitré ; 1998 3 Roscoff  Lorient ; 2002 9 Lanester  Lorient ; 2006 8 St-Méen-le-Grand Lorient ; 2011 4 Lorient Mûr-de-Bretagne ;  and 2018 5 Lorient  Quimper.

How to get here is important as the car is still king for most parts except cities like Lorient. You can come on the N165 national road. Also, there are  departmental TIM bus lines such as line: 15 (Lorient-Plouay-Le Faouët-Gourin), Line 16 (Lorient-Étel) and Line 17 (Lorient-Baud-Pontivy) ,the later one my boys have tried it. There is a train station SNCF  with direct connection to Montparnasse in TGV . There is a local airport with summer and some flights to nearby places ,the airport  Lorient South Brittany  offers several daily domestic flights to Paris-Orly as well as seasonal flights (March to end of October) to London or annual to Porto (Portugal). You have sea cruise companies such as  Oceane offering crossings throughout the year to the island of Groix.  The main area transport network is CTRL  responsible for the Transrade, with Batobus to connect Lorient, Port-Louis, Gâvres and Locmiquélic. Finally, the boat-taxi ensures the Lorient-island of Groix and visits to the harbor.

Lorient was created in 1666 in a field called “the enclosure” and develops outside of it. The whole is closed by walls erected in 1744 the ramparts and the gates of Morbihan and Ploemeur were destroyed in 1906. The Royal Navy was here in 1690. At the same time in 1709, the parish of Lorient is created from that of Ploemeur.  John Law of Lauriston created the Perpetual India Company by acquiring several other commercial companies, and chose Lorient as the basis for its operations. In 1732, the company decided to transfer from Nantes to Lorient the seat of all its sales, and  build a new buildings in stones to accommodate its activities, and to beautify the space . Sales are made there from 1734, and are processed up to 25 million pounds. The monopoly of the company is however abolished at the same time as this in 1769 under the influence of the Physiocrats.

The American War of Independence led to an increase in activity from 1775, and several Corsairs used the city as their home port. At the end of the war, several transatlantic lines were opened to the United States, and from 1785, a new commercial company was created, the company of Callone, and settled in Lorient.

The French revolution and the ensuing wars against England put an end to the commercial activities in Lorient for nearly two decades. Thanks to its support for the  French revolution, the city acquired the title of  mayor of the Canton in 1790, the chief-place of borough and the Chief-place of Maritime borough in 1800.

The arrival of the steam engine in the second half of the 19C enabled the ports to revive their activities. A first ,locomotive crossed the Scorff in 1865 on a viaduct built for the Savenay line at Landerneau, the first railway line serving south Brittany. A second  opened in 1861. In the same year, the armored frigate the Crown came out of the Arsenal followed in 1876 and 1879 of the battleships the Devastation and the Redoutable.

The fishery business began to develop at that time following the creation of the municipal auction in 1889, and the arrival of the first steam trawler in 1900. From 1909, the Lorient traffic equals that of the three ports of Douarnenez, Pont Aven, and Concarneau combined. The fishing port developped after WWI (1914-1918) , the appearance of the engine on fishing boats makes Lorient as competitive as Groix and Étel. The fishing port of Kéroman is created from 1920.

During WWII,  It is decided to erect the largest of the Nazis submarine bases of the war, where the second and tenth fleets will be set up. Admiral Dönitz is setting up his staff at Kernevel Castle.  Lorient will be almost entirely demolished between 1943-1944 by Allied bombardments that fail with the objective of destroying the base of the submarines, despite the spill of 4 000 tons of bombs. The nazi  garrison will not surrended  the weapons until May 10, 1945, with the Bay of Lorient  . The city of Lorient, received condecoration from France as Died for France, the Legion of Honor in 1949 and the Croix de Guerre 1939-1945(War Cross).

Some of the things to see here are

Fishing port of Keroman; second fishing port of France in tonnage behind Boulogne-sur-Mer and first in value added. Port of Commerce of Kergroise (first port of the region Brittany) . Marina with numerous pontoon places spread over the ports of Lorient (370), Kernevel (1 000), Port-Louis (450), Gâvres (57) and Guidel (102). At these five sites are added the 880 meters of pontoons of the offshore racing pole recently arranged on the site of the former base of submarines of Kéroman, and reserved for racing boats, rental and passenger boats.  Passenger Port towards the islands of Groix and Belle-Ile-en-Mer.  Military Port between the Arsenal and Lann Bihoué.

Other places are the Saint-Christophe Chapel . The  Hotel Gabriel (former Maritime prefecture of Lorient) from the 18C. The base of the submarines of Keroman, built between 1941 and 1944 by the organization Todt, the Tower of the Discovery, watchtower to signal the approach of the ships and to monitor possible smuggling manoeuvres on the coasts of the island of Groix. Built for the first time in 1737, the discovery Tower was destroyed on two occasions by lightning in 1751 and 1784. In 1786, it was rebuilt on the hill of Faouëdic.  Les Moulins du Faouëdic, the Company of India built two windmills on the hill of Faouëdic; the first in 1677, the second in 1719. Constructed of rubble and slate-covered, they each measure 25 meters high and have an interior staircase serving the various levels.  Cité du Voile or the city of sailing Éric Tabarly which opened its doors in May 2008 (great place) ,The underwater Museum of the Pays de Lorient, presenting the underwater heritage of  WWII within the oldest rescue center for submariners built in 1942 by the Kriegsmarine, then reused for 42 years by the National Navy. The submarine “La Flore” S645, the former submarine of the French Army ,with an interactive museum ending with a visit of the submarine.  The Church of Notre-Dame-de-Victoire, known as St. Louis Church, in reference to the pre-war church, built in 1954-56 (place Alsace Lorraine) ,and  Notre-Dame-de-Bonne-Nouvelle Church (Kerentrech-Place de l’Yser).

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here in lovely Morbihan are

City of Lorient webpage :

Tourist office of Lorient:

Dept 56 Morbihan tourism on Lorient:

There you go a nice city with plenty of boats in city center/Downtown, and great ambiance good for a family day out.

And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

4 Comments to “Closer to home ,Lorient!”

  1. I am glad you’ll get to see The Tour de France so close to you: so exciting and iconic! Enjoy! And ‘Allez Les Bleus!’ We watched the match surrounded by French and Belgian campers last night: it was brilliant! 👍😃

    Liked by 1 person

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