Stage town for the 12th time
Prefecture of Morbihan (56)
Population: 57,149 (Lorientais), 209,360 for Lorient Agglomeration (25 municipalities)
Personalities: Jean-Yves Le Drian (born in Lorient, former mayor, current Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs), Warren Barguil (resident of Inzinzc-Lochrist and born in Hennebont), Irène Frain (novelist), Armel Le Cléac'h (sailor), Thomas Coville (sailor), Mickaël Landreau (football), Yoann Gourcuff (football), Christian Gourcuff (football), Lisardo Lombardia (director of the Lorient Interceltic Festival), Jean-Paul Abadie (great chef), Lucien Gourong (storyteller, writer).
Specialities: Langoustine (1st port of landing of langoustines in France) and seafood in general (1st fishing port in France), cabbage of Lorient, Breton cake, cotriade.
Sport: 62 sports associations, representing 15,000 members in over 40 different disciplines. Flagship clubs: Lorient Football Club (League 1), CEP Basket (National 1), Club Nautique de Lorient, Lanester Handball (National 1), Centre nautique de Kerguélen (Larmor-Plage). Events: Transatlantic sailing race "Lorient-Les Bermudes-Lorient" (re-edition in 2019 of a legendary race dating from 1979 which launched ocean racing in France), Solitaire du Figaro, Volvo Ocean Race...
Culture: 12 museums, including 4 museums with the "Musées de France" label. Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly (Lorient), Musée de la Compagnie des Indes (Port-Louis), Musée de la Marine (Port-Louis), Zoo de Pont-Scorff, Le Sous-Marin Flore and its museum (Lorient), Ecomusée industriel des Forges (Inzinzac-Lochrist), Village médiéval de Poul Fétan (Quistinic), Village des artisans d'art à Pont-Scorff. Events : Interceltic Festival of Lorient (prize for the best urban festival in France, 800,000 visitors), International Island Film Festival of Groix (August), Festival Les Indisciplinées (contemporary music, November), Festival des Rias in Quimperlé (street theatre, August)
Economy: National centre for shipbuilding and ship repair (3,000 jobs). The largest fishing port in France in terms of turnover and the second largest fishing port in France with 80,000 tons of seafood passing through the auctions. Offshore racing cluster: a reference in Northern Europe (Karver, Keroman Technologies, Lorima, Marsaudon Composites, Plastimo, etc.)
Motto: "Ab Oriente refulget", "It is from the East that it shines", founded in 1966 by the Compagnie des Indes
Labels: Town of Art and History, labelled 20th century heritage / 2 Cities of Art labels (Hennebont, Port-Louis) / 1 City of Art Trades label (Pont Scorff) / UNESCO World Heritage Site (intangible cultural heritage) / Ville fleurie with 4 flowers
Websites: www.lorient.bzh / www.lorient-agglo.bzh / www.lorientbretagnesudtourisme.fr / www.morbihan.fr / www.bretagne.bzh
LORIENT, A STORY
In the name of the sea
The birthplace of the Compagnie des Indes, Lorient's history began with the creation of the Le Faouëdic shipyards. The construction of the ship the Soleil d'Orient, better known as the Orient, gave its name to the town, which enjoyed an era of great prosperity until 1769. In 1791, Lorient turned its back on colonial trade to become a military port. Between 1880 and 1930, the growth of trade and fishing led to the creation of major port infrastructures.
The Second World War then turned its destiny upside down. The city, destroyed at 85 pc, was obliged to rebuild itself to house its population. Sixty years later, it was awarded the Ville d'art et d'histoire (City of Art and History) label for its efforts to promote its heritage.
Today, Lorient displays its rich maritime heritage. A leading city in ocean racing, a leading fishing port, a modern industrial and university city, it relies on strong values of solidarity and a dynamic network of associations. It also has no shortage of ambitious urban planning projects: the redevelopment of Lorient-La Base, the creation of a new railway station, the total redevelopment of a park in the city centre, the creation of a new district on the site of the old hospital, etc.
Lorient is also a tourist destination with a preserved coastline. As the capital of Celtic culture, it hosts the internationally renowned Interceltic Festival in August, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.
LORIENT AND CYCLING
The port city has always been an inspiring name for travellers, as it took its name from the first vessel launched by the East India Company, Soleil d'Orient, whose shipyards had been located in Port-Louis since 1666. 340 years later, on the day of the football World Cup final, Sylvain Calzati staged a winning breakaway for the last Tour finish here. In 2011, the peloton left Lorient for Mûr de Bretagne, where Cadel Evans took the first step in his quest for the title. The Breton port has also contributed to the writing of other beautiful pages in the history of the Tour, during the eight stage finishes that have been held there. Like in 1960 when a breakaway of four riders reached Lorient with a 14' lead. The winner of the day, Roger Rivière, justified his status as favourite of the race, which he later lost in a heavy crash on the descent of the Col du Perjuret to Gastone Nencini. The first winner in Lorient was Raymond Louviot in 1939, but this stage is most famous because it was the first time René Vietto wore the Yellow Jersey.
In 2018, when the Tour last came to town for a stage to Quimper, it was Peter Sagan who took the second of his three victories in this edition.
The Interceltic Festival
In August, it will celebrate its 50th anniversary in Lorient, where it has become one of the highlights of the summer festival season in France. The annual gathering of musicians from the Celtic world, which took over from several bagpipe festivals held in Quimper and Brest, moved to its home port in 1971, attracting more audiences and more nations each year. Acadia, New Zealand, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Isle of Man, Galicia, Asturias and Brittany now send artists to Lorient for an event that attracts some 800,000 spectators. Founded by Polig Monjarret and developed by Jean-Pierre Pichard, FIL is now directed by the Asturian Lisardo Lombardia. Over the years, the festival has developed a number of unchanging events. The Grand Parade of Nations, which brings together some 3,500 artists from all the delegations, is undoubtedly the festival's most popular event.
Cité de la Voile Éric Tabarly
Cité de la Voile Éric Tabarly opened its doors in May 2008 and provides an educational exhibition on the construction methods of modern sailing ships and the techniques of sailing. Designed by architect Jacques Ferrier as a tribute to the famous sailor Eric Tabarly, who died at sea on 13 June 1998, the Cité aims to raise awareness of the world of sailing among a wide audience through exhibitions, conferences and various activities. Entirely glazed in polycarbonate, a transparent base supports on the first floor a vast suspended platform covered with an iridescent aluminium shell whose colour varies from grey to blue, from mauve to violet according to the curve of the sun.
In the 18th century, Lorient being the centre of the activities of the Compagnie des Indes, the Enclos du Port saw the construction of this building. It then became the headquarters of the maritime prefecture and was occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. The building was burnt down during the bombings of 1943 and rebuilt identically. Acquired in 2000 by the city of Lorient, Hôtel Gabriel has housed the Architecture and Heritage Department since 2008. In 2010, the Municipal Archives moved to the first floor of the west wing while the ground floor opened its reception, documentation, workshop and exhibition rooms to the public.
This is a facility dedicated to contemporary music, installed in Lorient La Base in one of the naves of the K2 blockhouse. The project is a continuation of the development of the former submarine base since 2000. Hydrophone includes a large 500-seat hall as well as rehearsal studios and a dedicated room for computer-assisted music.
Tour de la Découverte (Discovery Tower)
First built in 1737 on the site of the reservoir, the Discovery Tower was destroyed twice by lightning in 1751 and 1784. In 1786, it was rebuilt on the Faouëdic hill by architect Philippe Guillois, who fitted it with a lightning rod. It was a watchtower used to signal the approach of ships and to monitor possible smuggling operations on the coasts of the island of Groix. Also known as a reconnaissance tower or signal tower, it was equipped during the 20th century with a dome which housed a signal projector allowing optical communications between the maritime establishments of Lorient.
Museum of the Compagnie des Indes
The theme of this museum, unique in France, brings to life the extraordinary history of the great trading companies of the 17th and 18th centuries. Models of ships, prints, old maps, Indo-European furniture, Chinese porcelain, Indian cotton fabrics are all testimonies of this incredible maritime epic....
TO EAT :
Here is a subtle blend of spices that gives all their flavour to Breton dishes while telling the story of Lorient and the East India Company. One of the first ports in France to see spices and curries from Asia arrive from India, Lorient the aptly named (it means the East) soon adopted them until a local pharmacist, Monsieur Gosse, came up with his own blend, which has become a classic in Breton cuisine. Today, Kari Gosse can be found in all the pharmacies and grocery shops in Lorient and Auray, and it is used to enhance many shellfish dishes.