Lorient > Pontivy
06/28/2021 - Stage 3 - 183 km - Flat
On the road
Department: Morbihan (56)
Population: 750 863 inhabitants
Surface area: 6,880 km²
Subprefectures: Lorient, Pontivy
Specialities: Oyster farming, Shellfish farming (Bouchot mussels from Pénestin), Scallops, Blue lobster, Andouille from Guémené-sur-Scorff, Royal Guillevic cider (Red label), Breizh Cola, Whisky (Belle-île-en-Mer), Confectionery (Caramel au Beurre Salé, Niniches, Carabreizh), spice (Kari Gosse), Lorient cabbage.
Sport: Lorient Football Club (Ligue 1), Rugby Club de Vannes (Pro D2), Garde du Vœu Hennebont (table tennis, Pro A), Lanester Handball (Nationale 1), Cep Lorient Basket, Lorient La Base - Skippers (Franck Cammas and Charles Caudrelier, Thomas Coville, Sam Davies)
Heritage: Megaliths (Carnac alignments, Gavrinis and Petit Mont cairns in Arzon, La Table des Marchand in Locmariaquer, Monteneuf megaliths...), Château de Suscinio (Sarzeau), Domaine de Kerguéhennec (Bignan), Josselin castle, Guéhenno calvary, Port-Louis Citadel, Musée de la Résistance (Saint-Marcel) wild dunes of Gâvres Quiberon, Atlantic islands (Belle-Ile-en-Mer, Houat, Hoëdic, Groix), Quiberon bay, Gulf of Morbihan (Arz island and Ile-aux-Moines, ...), the Lorient area, Brocéliande and its legends (Brocéliande forest, Comper castle, centre of Arthurian imagination, etc. ),
Economy: food industry, agriculture and fishing, nautical industry (sailing valley), tourism, mechanical industry, cosmetics, shipbuilding, plastics, information and communication technologies...
Culture: La Gacilly and Vannes photo festivals / La Semaine du Golfe (old sailing ships) / L'Art dans les chapelles (Pontivy, Blavet valley) / Festival au Pont du Rock (Malestroit) / Belle-Ile On Air / La Madone des Motards (Porcaro) / Le Mille Sabords (Arzon) / Festival Interceltique de Lorient / Les fêtes d'Arvor à Vannes / Salon du livre à Vannes...
Websites and social networks: www.morbihan.fr /www.morbihan.com / www.instagram.com/morbihantourism/ / www.facebook.com/morbihantourisme/ / twitter.com/MorbihanTourism / www.youtube.com/c/morbihantourisme
Nestled in the south of Brittany, the Morbihan "Little Sea" in Breton is as colourful as its landscapes. Treasures are hidden here and there at the turn of a road or a path. Everywhere, man has left his mark: megaliths, chapels and manor houses, Petites Cités de Caractères®, beaches as far as the eye can see or green countryside... A wide range of sensations and unforgettable moments await you on the roads of Morbihan.
Lanester (Pop: 22,800)
The town is surrounded by the Scorff and Blavet rivers. Gallo-Roman remains, discovered on the banks of the Blavet, bear witness to the presence of fisheries from the 2nd and 3rd centuries.
The takeover of the East India Company by the Royal Navy in 1790 led to the creation of the town. From 1827-1829, the construction workshops developed on the left bank of the Scorff, known as the "Caudan shipyards", which were the origin of the working-class district of Les Chantiers.
Lanester has twice hosted the Tour de France, the first in 1985, with a victory by Belgian Rudy Matthijs, then in 2002 for the start of a time trial to Lorient, won by Colombian Santiago Botero.
The Bonhomme bridge and its statues
282 m long, it links the towns of Kervignac and Lanester by crossing the Blavet. It was built between 1972 and 1974, replacing an old cable-stayed bridge of which only the pylons remain. Statues, made of polychrome oak by the sculptor Goanvic, were installed on the bridge. On the west side of the bridge is a female figure, presenting a snuffbox to the male figure on the east side. In 1905, these statues were placed at the top of the two piers. Stolen in 1977, they were found in front of the building of the newspaper La Liberté du Morbihan. To prevent this from happening again, copies were created in 1995 and fixed to the top of the two pillars of the bridge. The original statues belong to the Morbihan department.
Merlevenez (Pop: 3,200)
The name of the locality means "hill of joy", hence the name of its church: Notre-Dame-de-Joie. The origins of its construction remain unknown. The oldest parts of the building predate the time when the Templars settled in the region, around 1130. The Romanesque lantern tower supported by the crossing piers was rebuilt after it collapsed in 1533. The large flamboyant windows in the crosspieces are a 15th century addition. This church has one of the most beautiful sets of sculptures from the Romanesque period in Brittany.
Erdeven (Pop: 3,700)
Seaside resort in the Bay of Quiberon. A seaside commune with its Kerhilio beach, which extends over 8 km of fine sand. The Kerzérho alignments, the second most important Breton megalithic site after Carnac, are located on its territory. The site is composed of some 190 menhirs, over approximately 2 km. All the menhirs date from the Neolithic period (Polished Stone Age, from 5000 to 2000 BC). According to some researchers, the menhirs of Kerzérho, the highest of which are 6-m high and weigh 40 tons, were originally surrounded by an enclosure, thus forming a cromlech
Plouharnel (Pop: 2,160)
Seaside resort in Quiberon Bay On the megalithic coast, Plouharnel hides several Neolithic monuments: dolmens, tumuli, menhirs, including a circuit of dolmens in the forest, a marked out route. The old town is composed of buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries. Plouharnel also has the largest buried military complex of the Second World War with more than 30 buildings. A must-see spot for surfing enthusiasts.
Carnac (Pop: 4,300)
Carnac is one of the two sites in Brittany where the first human traces were found. The remains of the foundations of a Gallo-Roman villa at Bosséno and the baths discovered at Légenèse attest to the occupation of the area during Antiquity. Tourism appeared at the end of the 19th century thanks to the industrial revolution and the construction of railway lines in Southern Brittany. It was at this time that archaeologists and scientists began to take an interest in megalithic sites.
In 1977, an Ancient Palaeolithic site was discovered to the south-west of the town, at Saint-Colomban.
The alignments of Carnac
The megalithic alignments were erected around 4500 BC. The site has the highest concentration of megaliths in the world. Over nearly 4 km, there is an alignment of nearly 4,000 standing stones: menhirs, dolmens and covered walkways.
Gulf of Morbihan Regional Nature Park
Created in October 2014. 568 km of coastline. It is the 50th regional nature park in France. The surface area of the labelled municipalities covers 70,347 hectares, with an associated area of maritime interest of approximately 17,000 hectares. There were approximately 181,117 inhabitants in the 33 communes in 2016. The Park's emblem is a speckled seahorse. It is one of the two seahorses that frequent the waters of the Gulf of Morbihan. Rare today, once common, it symbolises the imperative need to preserve the Gulf of Morbihan, and the interaction between land and sea of the many challenges of this territory.
Gulf of Morbihan
Inland sea (20 km long and 15 km wide) dotted with islands and islets. Its Breton name Mor Bihan means "little sea". It opens onto Quiberon Bay through a narrow passage (1 km wide) between Locmariaquer and Portnavalo. As a result, there are very strong tidal currents. The tidal cycle is out of sync with that of the ocean (when the tide is high in Quiberon Bay and at the entrance to the gulf, the bottom continues to fill up and the level rises). One third of the surface of the gulf is made up of mudflats which can be discovered at low tide. These mudflats and the marshes favoured the development of a varied ecosystem, notably through the presence of an eelgrass bed (aquatic plants), the second most important in France. It helps to stabilise the land, reduce water turbidity, promote oxygenation and phytoplankton production and provides a natural shelter for reproduction.
The gulf receives water from the three main rivers of Auray, Vannes and Noyalo. The economy of the Gulf region has developed around agriculture and oyster farming, plus an industrial centre around Vannes. Tourism is developing as well as pleasure boating.
Breton legend has it that the islands of the gulf were created by the tears of fairies driven out of the forest of Broceliande. The fairies then threw their crowns into the forest and these became the islands.
La Trinité-sur-Mer (Pop: 1,600)
The first traces of the village and its port date from the 13th century. From the 18th century, the first oyster beds appeared in the channel. This privileged location in one of the most beautiful rias in southern Brittany earned it the nickname of "the cradle of the flat oyster". Very flourishing until 1922, the oyster farming activity - first affected by the flat oyster disease - went through some difficult years before recovering to become today a leading activity of the town.
La Trinité-sur-Mer turned to fishing at the beginning of the 20th century and was then a refuge for 500 ships per year, in addition to the 300 fishing boats that were attached to it. The increase in traffic and the arrival of motorised trawlers between 1945 and 1954 made it necessary to renovate the port.
A town of singers (French chanson stars Alain Barrière was born and buried there, Alain Souchon has a house there), La Trinité-sur-Mer is also the birthplace of Jacques Botherel, amateur world champion on the road in 1965, who participated in three Tours de France between 1971 and 1974.
The port of La Trinité-sur-Mer was chosen by Eric Tabarly to build the Pen Duick II, which made him famous in 1964 by winning the second edition of the Transat race.
Salt marshes of Kervillen
After two centuries of existence, the salt marshes of Kervillen had been unused for some sixty years and left to deteriorate. In 1980, the General Council of Morbihan bought the salt pans. The site became a sensitive natural area and in 2010, the rehabilitation of the marshes began. The marshes are made up of a large mosaic of natural environments: marshes, ponds, pine forests, dunes and dry grasslands. More than 250 plant species, including the maritime knotweed and the sand toadflax, protected in Brittany.
Auray (Pop: 14,000)
Once a seigneury under Guingamp, the commune of Auray was founded around its coastal port of Saint-Goustan, which in the past enabled travel to Spain and Great Britain. It developed over the centuries with its castle, an ancient castral mound from the 9th century, becoming the landing place for the American Benjamin Franklin (1705-1790) in the 18th century, during his search for funds for the War of Independence.
It is the town of the Chouan leader Georges Cadoudal, but also of the late journalist and television presenter Philippe Gildas, a great fan of the Tour de France.
Auray hosted the start of a stage of the Tour in 2008, won in Saint-Brieuc by Thor Hushovd. Auray-born Pierre Cogan finished six of the seven Tours de France he entered between 1935 and 1951 in the top twenty, taking 7th place in 1950. For long the oldest surviving Tour rider, he died in Auray in 2013 at the age of 98.
Foundation: between 1623 and 1663
Style: coexistence of medieval forms and a baroque style.
Characteristics: a recumbent Christ from the 16th century, an imposing altarpiece in the Levallois style dating from the 17th century, a vault decorated with painted coffers, a Waltrin organ dating from 1761.
Special feature: the bell tower which dominates the whole town has served as a model for the whole region.
Classification: Historical Monument since 1995.
The Saint-Goustan district
Named after St Goustan, patron saint of sailors and fishermen. A former fishing and trading port, Saint-Goustan gradually lost its commercial activities at the end of the 17th century, as Vannes increasingly overshadowed it. Until the end of the 17th century, the port had a wooden quay; it was not until the 18th century that the quays and holds were decorated with stone. The Benjamin-Franklin quay reminds us that on 3 December 1776, the illustrious American in charge of negotiating a treaty with France disembarked in Auray, as contrary winds had prevented his ship, the Reprisal, from sailing up to Nantes. The house where he stayed, at no. 8, bears a commemorative plaque.
Sainte-Anne-d'Auray (Pop : 2,700)
The main place of pilgrimage in Brittany since 1625 to commemorate the apparition of St Anne, Christ's maternal grandmother, to Yves Nikolazic (1591-1645). Every summer, on 26 July, a pilgrimage takes place there: the pardon of St Anne. There is an average of 500,000 visitors per year to Sainte-Anne-d'Auray, including Pope John Paul II who came on 20 September 1996, bringing together 150,000 people (the first visit of a pope to Brittany). Now a stopover on the way to Santiago de Compostela.
Basilica of Sainte-Anne d'Auray
Characteristics: square tower surmounted by a spire which supports a bronze statue of Saint Anne 80 metres above the ground.
Special feature: every 26 July, 20,000 to 30,000 pilgrims attend the Grand Pardon of Saint Anne, the third largest in France after Lourdes and Lisieux.
A little history: In 1947, after his victory in the Tour de France, the very pious Jean Robic donated his Yellow Jersey to the basilica.
Grand-Champ (Pop: 5,400)
Located for the most part in the Lavaux moors, a natural region in the form of a narrow granite ridge belonging to the Armorican Massif. Formerly divided between several fiefs, the town developed thanks to its agriculture and its commercial vocation at the crossroads of several strongholds, including Vannes, Auray and Malestroit. The village is remembered for having been the scene of a severe battle between the Republican troops and the insurgent Chouans led by Cadoudal, at the end of the 18th century.
Typical of Brittany, the devotional fountains of Loperhet (17th century) and Burgo (16th century), with their basins.
Castle of Penhouët
Foundation: in the 16th century by the Arradon family, then in its present form around 1756 by Blévin sieur de Penhoët
Style: 18th century classical
Characteristics: the French gardens are attributed to Le Nôtre, the castle has a private chapel dedicated to Our Lady and an orangery.
Particularity: Formerly the property of the German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (1933-2019), the castle was visited by the Queen Mother of England, mother of Queen Elizabeth II, in June 1990.
Locmaria-Grand-Champ (Pop: 1,700)
Became independent in 1889. It takes its name from the river that runs through it, the Loc'h, and from its "mother" commune. The commune, and more particularly the Loc'h bridge, was the scene of a battle between the supporters of Georges Cadoudal, leader of the Breton Chouans, and the revolutionary soldiers of General Harty. The battle of the Loc'h bridge put an end to the troubles of the Chouannerie. With no clear winner, this confrontation left several hundred dead in the ranks of both sides...
Plaudren (Pop: 1,950)
The numerous megalithic sites attest to the presence of mankind for a very long time (menhir of Coleho, dolmen of Men Gouarec, Gargantua's censer...). The village is located at the crossroads of the Roman roads Vannes-Corseul and Rennes-Carhaix: the Romans had an imposing camp, the trace of which remains at a place called Guerneuvé. Plaudren is the village of Laurent Madouas, who took part in eight Tours de France between 1993 and 2000, finishing in 12th place in 1995. His parents had a bakery there. His son Valentin, 27th in the last Tour, is one of the great hopes of French cycling.
Plumelec (Pop: 2,700)
Its name comes from Plu or Plou (parish) and from Saint Mélec, its founder, the first bishop of London and then archbishop of Canterbury in the 7th century. During the Occupation, the commune was the scene of many heroic actions. This period left its mark on the Mélécian population - a monument has been erected in the village in memory of the parachutists and civilian victims. The commune is also a stronghold of Breton cycling, thanks in particular to the Cadoudal hill, which will be climbed by the peloton at kilometre 91.6. Since 1974 (Roger Pingeon's victory) it has hosted the Grand Prix de Plumelec, which became À travers le Morbihan and then the Grand Prix du Morbihan. Its last winner, in 2019, was Benoît Cosnefroy. But Plumelec also hosted the Tour de France five times, including a Grand Départ in 1985, and a prologue won by Bernard Hinault. The last visit of the Grande Boucle was in 2015 for a team time trial from Vannes, won by the BMC team. But Plumelec also hosted a European championship in 2016, which crowned Peter Sagan in the road race and Jonathan Castroviejo against the clock. The town has also hosted three editions of the French championship in 1973 (Bernard Thévenet), 1979 (Roland Berland) and 2003 (Didier Rous).
Josselin (Pop: 2 500)
Labelled as a "Petite cité de caractère" (small town of character). Josselin was founded in the 11th century by the Viscount of Porhoët. From the 15th to the 18th century, the town prospered thanks to its cloth factories, its tanneries and its fairs. In decline at the end of the 18th century, Josselin regained a certain dynamism in the 19th century with the channelling of the river Oust and the development of the Marian cult. As you wander through the narrow streets, the ancient architectural heritage is tinged with modernity with numerous cultural events.
Basilica of Notre-Dame du Roncier
Foundation: end of 12th century
Style: Gothic, neo-Gothic for the bell tower
Characteristics: retains the remains of the former Romanesque church, mainly its pillars decorated with animals. A reliquary of the Miraculous Virgin is kept there as well as the statue of Notre-Dame du Roncier.
A special feature: in April 1891, Pope Leo XIII granted it the title of minor basilica. The faithful who went on pilgrimage sometimes went into a trance and uttered hoarse cries. They were called "the barkers of Josselin".
Classification: Historical Monument in 1927 and 1929
Castle of Josselin
Founded as a fortress in 1370 by Olivier de Clisson, Constable of France; then a magnificent Renaissance dwelling by Jean II de Rohan, at the beginning of the 16th century.
Styles: Flamboyant Gothic, Breton Renaissance
Characteristics: impressive keep surrounded by nine towers, French garden created at the beginning of the 20th century by the landscape gardener Achille Duchêne, the rose garden being the work of the landscape gardener Louis Benech (160 roses belonging to 40 different varieties).
Special feature: following major damage during the Wars of Religion and then during the French Revolution, the castle was abandoned until around 1850, when Josselin de Rohan and his son Alain began a major restoration with the help of architects Jules de la Morandière and Henri Lafargue.
Classification: Historical Monument in 1928.
Radenac (Pop: 1,050)
Jean Robic (1921-1980) spent his youth in Radenac where his father ran a cycle shop. His mother was from the neighbouring village of Pleugriffet. The commune paid tribute to the winner of the 1947 Tour by creating the rue Jean-Robic, where his childhood home still exists. It is located behind the church, where he was an altar boy.
The Tour de France will celebrate its centenary in the town, a month and a half late, since "Biquet" or "Tête de cuir" was born on 10 June 1921 and died in a road accident in 1980. Very popular after his success in the first post-war Tour, won without having worn the Yellow Jersey, Jean Robic also won six stages, three in the year of his GC victory and one each in 1949, 1952 and 1953.
He was eliminated, outside the time cut, during his last Tour de France in 1959, the same year that his close enemy, Louison Bobet, bowed out at the top of the Iseran.
Locminé (Pop: 4,300)
Locminé means "the place of the monks" in Breton, recalling the town's origin, a monastery founded in the 7th century.
Domaine de Kuerguéhennec (9 km away, in the commune of Bignan)
Founded in the early 18th century, then redesigned in the 19th century.
Style: 18th century classical, nicknamed the "Breton Versailles".
Current destination: property of the Morbihan department since 1972, the castle hosts temporary exhibitions in the former stables and the sheepfold, while the estate also houses a research centre devoted to the work of Pierre Tal Coat (1905-1985), a major figure in the painting of the second half of the 20th century.
Special feature: on a 175-hectare estate, it offers the largest sculpture park in Europe, created in 1986 and where some thirty major artists are represented.
Classification: Historical Monument in 1988
Remungol (Pop: 1,000)
Became a delegated commune on January 1, 2016, of the new commune of Évellys. Remungol is the birthplace of Jean Gainche, twice winner of the Grand Prix de Plouay and winner of a stage in the 1958 Tour de France in Versailles. Jean Gainche took part in eight editions of the Tour between 1958 and 1965, coming 14th in 1961. Remungol is also the family village of Bruno Roussel, the former sporting director of the Festina team.
Pluméliau-Bieuzy (Pop: 4,360)
Chapel of Saint-Nicodème and its fountains
Foundation: from 1520 to 1540, built of granite ashlar.
Characteristics: square bell tower surmounted by a spire rising to 48 m and housing a bronze bell dating from 1507.
Special feature: at the front, in the enclosure, a sacred fountain from 1608 in Gothic style flows into three basins framed by sculpted pedestals and arches and topped by niches that have long since been stripped of the statues of the three saints they housed.
History: legend has it that Saint Nicodemus appeared to several local people and asked for a chapel. In order to find out where the saint wanted it to be built, they let some oxen loose and they stopped in a swampy mire, right where the chapel stands today.
Classification: Historical Monument in 1910 / Natural site in 1933
Receive exclusive news about the Tour