Lorient: Wikis


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Coordinates: 47°45′N 3°22′W / 47.75°N 3.36°W / 47.75; -3.36

Commune of Lorient

An Oriant
Lorient port plaisance 01.jpg
Yachting harbour
Lorient is located in France
Country France
Region Bretagne
Department Morbihan
Arrondissement Lorient
Intercommunality Pays de Lorient
Mayor Norbert Métairie
Elevation 0–46 m (0–150 ft)
Land area1 17.48 km2 (6.75 sq mi)
Population2 59,189  (1999)
 - Density 3,386 /km2 (8,770 /sq mi)
Postal code 56100
1 French Land Register data, which excludes lakes, ponds, glaciers > 1 km² (0.386 sq mi or 247 acres) and river estuaries.
2 Population sans doubles comptes: residents of multiple communes (e.g., students and military personnel) only counted once.

Lorient, or L'Orient, (Breton: An Oriant) is a commune and a seaport in the Morbihan department in Brittany in north-western France.



Inhabitants of Lorient are called Lorientais.

Population: city: 61,844; urban area: 186,144. Lorient is the most populous commune in Morbihan, although the capital is the slightly smaller commune of Vannes.

Breton language

The municipality launched a linguistic plan through Ya d'ar brezhoneg on January the 25th of 2007.

In 2007, there was 3,5% of the children attended the bilingual schools in primary education.[1]


At the beginning of the 17th century, merchants who were trading with India had established warehouses in Port-Louis. They later built additional warehouses across the bay in 1628, at the location which became known as L'Orient (the Orient in French). Later, the French East India Company, founded in 1664 and chartered by King Louis XIV, established shipyards there, thus giving an impetus to the development of the city. In 1746 during the War of the Austrian Succession, Britain launched a Raid on Lorient to destroy French shipping.

In attempts to destroy German submarine pens (U-boat bases) and their supply lines, most of this city was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II (see section below). Thus, today's Lorient reflects an architectural style of the 1950s.


Lorient is located on the south coast of Brittany on the Atlantic Ocean. The rivers Blavet and Scorff enter the Atlantic Ocean at Lorient.


Lorient has a major fishing port, Port de Pêche (Breton: Porzh Pesketa), at Keroman and the docks area at Kergroise handle large cargo and passenger ships.

Tourism plays an important part in the cities' economy and there are several large yachting marinas around the bay. The annual Festival Interceltique de Lorient was founded in Lorient in 1971 and attracts large numbers of tourists to the area every summer.

Lorient was a former base of the French Navy but these piers, docks, etc., have now been removed. However, many important former French naval buildings remain around the quayside.

Lorient South Brittany Airport is situated just west of the city at Lann Bihoue, and it has direct flights to several destinations, such as to Paris.

Keroman Submarine Base

Lorient was the location of a German U-boat (submarine) base during World War II. Grossadmiral Karl Dönitz decided to construct the base on 28 June 1940. Between February 1941 and January 1942 three gigantic reinforced concrete structures were built on the Keroman peninsula. They are called K1, K2 and K3. In 1944 work began on a fourth structure. The base was capable of sheltering thirty submarines under cover. Lorient was heavily damaged by Allied bombing raids, this naval base survived through to the end of the war. Lorient was held until May 1945 by the Nazi German army, even though this city was surrounded by the American Army, since the Germans there refused to surrender.

Since they could not destroy the base and its submarine pens, the Allies had decided to flatten the city and port of Lorient, in order to cut the supply lines to the U-boat bases. Without fuel, resupplies of weapons (e.g. torpedoes), and provisions, it became impossible for those U-boats to return to war patrols in the Atlantic Ocean. Between 14 January 1943 and 17 February 1943, as many as 500 high-explosive aerial bombs and more than 60,000 incendiary bombs were dropped on Lorient. The city was almost completely destroyed, with nearly 90% of the city flattened. Thousands of French civilians, as well as German military and naval men, were killed.

Presently, the former U-boat base of Keroman is open to the public, and it can be visited year-round. During the tours, the submarine pens of block K3 can be seen. Its roof (3.40 m to 7.0 meters of steel-reinforced concrete) can be visited, as well as a former anti-aircraft tower on top of the U-boat base. The tower affords an excellent view of the harbor and of the former headquarters of the Grossadmiral Karl Dönitz of the Kriegsmarine (Nazi German navy) across the bay at Larmor-Plage.

After the war the base was taken over by the French Navy and was used up to 1997. It was base was renamed after Jacques Stosskopf in July 1946. He had been the deputy director of naval construction at the base and gave valuable information to the Allies during the war[2].


  • Lorient was the birthplace of:
Jean-Baptiste Chaigneau (1769-1832), sailor, adventurer, and Grand Mandarin in Vietnam.
Jules Simon (1814-1896), statesman and philosopher.

Twin towns - sister cities

Lorient is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ (French) Ofis ar Brezhoneg: Enseignement bilingue
  2. ^ Tourist office of Pays de Lorient Leaflet
  3. ^ Galway City Council - Town Twinnings

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : France : Brittany : Morbihan : Lorient

Lorient[1] is a town in Morbihan, on the south coast of Brittany.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

LORIENT, a maritime town of western France, capital of an arrondissement in the department of Morbihan, on the right bank of the Scorff at its confluence with the Blavet, 34 m. W. by N. of Vannes by rail. Pop. (1906) 40,848. The town is modern and regularly built. Its chief objects of interest are the church of St Louis (1709) and a statue by A. Mercie of Victor Masse, the composer, born at Lorient in 1822. It is one of the five maritime prefectures in France and the first port for naval construction in the country. The naval port to the east of the town is formed by the channel of the Scorff, on the right bank of which the chief naval establishments are situated. These include magazines, foundries, forges, fitting-shops, rope-works and other workshops on the most extensive scale, as well as a graving dock, a covered slip and other slips. A floating bridge connects the right bank with the peninsula of Caudan formed by the union of the Scorff and Blavet. Here are the shipbuilding yards covering some 38 acres, and comprising nine slips for large vessels and two others for smaller vessels, besides forges and workshops for iron shipbuilding. The commercial port to the south of the town consists of an outer tidal port protected by a jetty and of an inner dock, both lined by fine quays planted with trees. It separates the older part of the town, which is hemmed in by fortifications from a newer quarter. In 1905, 121 vessels of 28,785 tons entered with cargo and 145 vessels of 38,207 tons cleared. The chief export is pit-timber, the chief import is coal. Fishing is actively carried on. Lorient is the seat of a sub-prefect, of commercial and maritime tribunals and of a tribunal of first instance, and has a chamber of commerce, a board of trade-arbitrators, a lycee, schools of navigation, and naval artillery. Private industry is also engaged in iron-working and engine making. The trade in fresh fish, sardines, oysters (which are reared near Lorient) and tinned vegetables is important and the manufacture of basketwork, tin-boxes and passementerie, and the preparation of preserved sardines and vegetables are carried on. The roadstead, formed by the estuary of the Blavet, is accessible to vessels of the largest size; the entrance, 3 or 4 m. south from Lorient, which is defended by numerous forts, is marked on the east by the peninsula of Gavres (an artillery practising ground) and the fortified town of Port Louis; on the west are the fort of Loqueltas and, higher up, the battery of Kernevel. In the middle of the channel is the granite rock of St Michel, occupied by a powder magazine. Opposite it, on the right bank of the Blavet, is the mouth of the river Ter, with fish and oyster breeding establishments from which Io millions of oysters are annually obtained. The roadstead is provided with six lighthouses. Above Lorient on the Scorff, here spanned by a suspension bridge, is Kerentrech, a pretty village surrounded by numerous country houses.

Lorient took the place of Port Louis as the port of the Blavet. The latter stands on the site of an ancient hamlet which was fortified during the wars of the League and handed over by Philip Emmanuel, duke of Morcoeur, to the Spaniards. After the treaty of Vervins it was restored to France, and it received its name of Port Louis under Richelieu. Some Breton merchants trading with the Indies had established themselves first at Port Louis, but in 1628 they built their warehouses on the other bank. The Compagnie des Indes Orientales, created in 1664, took possession of these, giving them-the name of l'Orient. In 1745 the Compagnie des Indes, then at the acme of its prosperity, owned thirty-five ships of the largest class and many others of considerable size. Its decadence dates from the English conquest of India, and in 1770 its property was ceded to the state. In 1782 the town was purchased by Louis XVI. from its owners, the Rohan-Guemene family. In 1746 the English under Admiral Richard Lestock made an unsuccessful attack on Lorient.

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


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Proper noun


  1. A coastal town in Morbihan, Brittany, France



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