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
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
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.
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
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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
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.
Website: Festival Interceltique
7. Scorff Valley
The Scorff river in the lovely Scorff valleyPosted 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.
Website: Scorff Valley
8. Groix Island
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.
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