Best Things To Do In Lorient, France: 8 Historical Places To Visit

things to do in lorient france

Lorient is is a commune and a seaport located on the south coast of Brittany, where the Scorff River and the Blavet River join. The city is about 503 kilometres (312 mi) southwest of Paris, with 37 different neighbourhoods. Lorient has an oceanic climate with mild winters and cool to warm summers, making it one of the best places to sunbathe and go for a walk in the sun. Lorient is also commonly referred to as “the five port city” (military, fishing, commercial, passengers, and yachting), which contributes a lot to the local economy.

Lorient is accessible via air, sea, and land. There are plenty of direct flights to Lorient and commercial ships that stop by the many ports there. Another alternative is to take a train from Paris that goes straight to Lorient, with a journey that takes about 4 hours and 30 minutes. As Lorient is an old city full of history, you wouldn’t want to miss visiting these eight historical places:

1. The Church of Our Lady of Victory

Lorient - église Notre-Dame de Victoire
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user user:XIIIfromTOKYO used under CC BY 3.0

Standing 400 metres (1,312.34 ft) high, The Church of Our Lady of Victory features a striking bell-tower made of concrete. Inside, you’ll see a majestic dome, frescoes, and beautiful sculptures gracing the church. Considered to be a heritage site of Lorient, the grey coloured church also features artistic stained-glass windows and liturgical furniture made of teak.

The Church of Our Lady of Victory

Address: 1 Rue Turenne, 56100 Lorient, France

Website: The Church of Our Lady of Victory (in French)

2. Hotel Gabriel

Hotel Gabriel is a set of buildings located in Lorient’s port enclosure. Constructed by Jacques Gabriel, the king’s architect in 1733, the east wing of the 18th-century neoclassical palace regularly hosts heritage exhibitions. Here, you can also tour the galleries, archives, and participate in cultural shows.

Hotel Gabriel

Address: 25 Rue Paul Guieysse, 56100 Lorient, France

Website: Hotel Gabriel (in French)

3. Museum of the India Company (Musee de la Compagnie des Indes)

A visit to Lorient is incomplete without knowing its full history. Lorient used to be a thriving operative base for the Perpetual Company of the Indies formed by John Law, and there is plenty to learn at this French Navy museum. Besides learning more about the history of Lorient, you get to explore various exhibitions of model ships, antique maps, printed documents, textiles, porcelain, and art.

Musee de la Compagnie des Indes

Address: Citadelle, Avenue du Fort de l'Aigle, 56290 Port-Louis, France

Website: Musee de la Compagnie des Indes

4. Tour de la Découverte

Tour de la Découverte, The Discovery Tower in English, is a signal tower located in the port enclosure on Faouëdic Mountain. To reach the top of the 40-metre (131.2 ft) granite watchtower, you’ll have to climb up the 216 steps, where a supreme view of the nearby port and sea awaits. The tower used to be the perfect spot to monitor the ships of the company of Indies returning to Lorient’s harbour as well as to detect smuggling operations.

Tour de la Découverte

Website: Tour de la Découverte (in French)

5. Keroman Submarine Base

things to do in lorient france | keroman submarine base

Keroman Submarine Base was a German U-boat base located in Lorient during World War II. It is now a historical site where you can get a guided tour of the K3, which is the largest of the submarine blocks measuring 170 metres (557.7 ft) in length by 20 metres (65.6 ft) in height, and explore the entire base for some good photos.

Keroman Submarine Base

Website: Keroman Submarine Base

6. Festival Interceltique

Celebrated every year in August, Festival Interceltique is dedicated to the cultural traditions of the Celtic nations. The festival’s highlights include Celtic music and dance and other arts such as painting, photography, theatre, sculpture, traditional artisan exhibits as well as sports and gastronomy. Attracting over 800,000 people every year, the massive festival brings together artists from all the Celtic world (Brittany, Cornwall, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Galicia, Asturias, Australia, Acadia, and Isle of Man), with a Celtic nation chosen as the guest of honour each year.

Festival Interceltique

Website: Festival Interceltique

7. Scorff Valley

The Scorff river in the lovely Scorff valley

Posted by Sophie de Roumanie Photography on Sunday, 11 November 2012

For nature lovers, Scorff Valley is a historic site you wouldn’t want to miss. The fast flowing and well stocked rivers are also home to the shy European otter. Nearly 400 km (248.5 mi) of marked trails run through the woodland or along the river, which makes for a great walk. There are plenty of things to do around here, including canoe trips and visits to architectural interest and historical sites nearby such as the medieval hamlet of Pontkalleg, the Celtic village of Kerven Teignouse, manor-houses, windmills, and fisheries.

Scorff Valley

Website: Scorff Valley

8. Groix Island

things to do in lorient france | groix island
Source: annefbbb on Instagram

Groix Island lies a few kilometres off the coast of Lorient, and you can conveniently reach the island by the ferries that are available throughout the day from Lorient to Groix. Home to a wide variety of sea birds, Groix has plenty of sandy beaches in secluded coves on the south coast of the island. Over 60 types of minerals can also be found on the island.

Discover the historical wonders of Lorient

Learning about the history of a place doesn’t have to be boring. There are plenty of ways for you to discover the historical wonders of Lorient without feeling like you’re in history class. Enjoy exploring the German submarine base, marvelling at the large ships, immersing yourself in Celtic culture, visiting medieval villages, watching unique birds, walking in the lush Scorff Valley, and being on top of a watchtower to view the breathtaking scenery of Lorient.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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Dayana is a freelance writer based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She lives by the Rumi quote, "Let the beauty we love be what we do."

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