9. Lorient

 Roscoff is located at marker 1 on the map of Brittany below.

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 Lorient (pop. 61,900) is a medium-sized port city that got its name from an abbreviation of Port de l’Orient. The port was once packed with French East India Company vessels and the bay was lined with numerous shipping trade warehouses. Such bustling sea trade activities eventually led to the formation of a naval harbour in the city’s shores. However, the presence of national militia also caused heavy bombing in Lorient during WWII. Like Brest, Lorient was also almost completely destroyed during the war. Nonetheless, quick and efficient rebuilding activities took place almost immediately after. Hence, much of the city’s architecture reflects the concrete, modern style of the fifties and the sixties.  

Layout
Lorient sits in Rade de Lorient at the mouth of the River Scorff. Its town centre is located at its east, close to the riverside- between Port de Plaisance (at its south) and the bus and train stations (at Gare Coiff, up north).

 

 

FRANCE brittany MORBIHAN lorient

Lorient has slowly been turning its sights to the tourism industry and the ace up its sleeves has always been the annual Lorient Festival Interceltique [www.festival-interceltique.com]- a 10 day long celebration , held in August in honour of the Celtic arts. It is a truly grand affair, as the festival involves over 45 000 musicians from various Celtic nations such as Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall. It also attracts close to 600 000 merrymakers each year! So, do plan ahead if you are intending to put up at Lorient during this festive season. 

An interesting sight that sits afloat on the bay of Port de Plaisance, is the permanently moored vessel- Thalasso [Quai de Rohan, www.la-thalassa.fr ad/ch €6.90/5.30 (opening hours prone to changes)]. It is a research vessel that has opened its doors to visitors, as it also acts as an oceanography museum. It provides many hand-on exhibits that give a feel on captaining a vessel as well as information regarding the surrounding waters. 

Located slightly off the city centre, at Port Louis, is a 16th century citadel which houses two of Lorient’s maritime-related museums. The first, is the Musée de la Compagnie des Indes [Citadelle de Port-Louis, +33 297825672       www.musee.lorient.fr/ ad/ch €6/Free (for both museums)], which documents the history of the French East India Company and its trade ties, dating all the way to 1660. Many ancient artefacts and maps are also on display.

The next one, is the Musée de la Marine [+33 297821612] which houses archaeological treasures from the world’s oceans.  Whilst at Lorient, many visitors also head on down to Île de Groix for daytrips. Located at the southwest side of the city, this tiny island was once a vital tuna-fishing port. However, today it offers travellers great beaches and long, coastal footpaths that give a quick getaway feel.

 

 


LORIENT MAP:   1.  Tourist office  2.  Train station  3. Port de Plaisance  4. Citadel (Musée de la Marine & Musée de la Compagnie des Indes.  Outside map limits so you need to scroll the map to the south.) 

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