In-Port Race: June 14, 2015
Leg start: June 17, 2015
Lorient, in the heart of sailing valley
A strong maritime heritage means Lorient is naturally pulled towards the sea, with the town and surrounding area drawing strength from the ocean and using it to power tourism and nautical activities.
As an illustration, just look at the former submarine base that has become a major tourist attraction in France, or the Eric Tabarly museum – a stunning construction of glass and steel devoted to the memory of one of France’s great sailors.
It has taken less than ten years for Lorient to become an international reference in the field of leisure boating and offshore racing. Today, there are 3,000 berths for leisure boating and one kilometre of pontoons reserved for sea-going Formula 1’s. All primary school pupils get free sailing classes during school hours, and there 1,300 jobs in the nautical industry.
All that, plus the arrival of major sailing races such as the Volvo Ocean Race, has placed the third largest Breton town – with 200 000 inhabitants – firmly on the world sailing map, alongside much larger cities such as Auckland, Sydney, Newport and Cape Town.
Lorient is also a land where people come together with great energy and creativity, whether that’s through sport or culture. Every summer, the Inter-Celtic Festival offers some 700,000 visitors a celebration of Celtic culture. As well as sailing, cycling and football are extremely popular. The appeal of the region is strengthened by the sporting renown of Ligue 1 side Lorient. In 2010, Lorient was elected the most sporting town in France.
The Lorient area is a treasure trove of natural protected spaces, a welcoming land for thousands of migrating birds and host to original flora. From Groix, which provides the essence of Breton island life with its wild coasts, beaches, creeks and mineral reserve, to the jewel that is Gâvres, from the dunes of Kerguélen to the marshes of the Loc’h, the area boasts spots of stunning natural beauty. Long stretches of white sand, secret estuaries and hidden valleys punctuate landscapes whose beauty is gradually revealed during seaside or country strolls.
Visit the Lorient Stopover website www.volvooceanracelorient.com.
As a dynamic new territory, Le Pays de Lorient attracts each year more and more visitors which are looking for vast beaches, green spaces or cultural activities.
As an open sea city, Lorient presents a huge number of attractions composing with its vast coast line (Scuba-diving, Surf, Kayak, Sail, Golf,...).
Among others, The Eric Tabarly Sailing Museum takes part in creating the new image of the city. Over 3 hours of learning about the sea and skippers in an ultra-modern glass building, visitors can enjoy the place and have good time by sailing with experienced skipper.
Moreover the submarine base at the heart of the city is one of the most obvious historical heritages of the Second World War. Thus, let visit the submarine “La Flore” and discover the life on board.
There is also a museum depicting elements of the city’s past in Port-Louis (the Musée de la Compagnie des Indes), and the Naval Museum which are part of the Citadel, one of the most beautiful citadels on the French coast line.
The island of Groix is also part of Le Pays de Lorient. From Lorient you may cross to the island, 8km by 4km realm of sheer for one day journey. Getting around the island by walking or cycling and look with admiration dramatic cliffs, sheltered and sandy beaches.
The 100 kilometers of coast in the Lorient area offer vast attractive beaches. Wild River banks inside the country make you practice kayak or just go out in barges along the Blavet Valley. Enjoy a large number of hiker’s tracks which are just perfect for family walks or sweethearts’ strolls.
Numerous traditional markets with delicious smells of local products take place during the whole year and groups of artists and craftsmen in their workshops at Pont-Scorff come to life to liven the area up…
And less than one hour driving: Pont-Aven and its impressionist painters tour, Carnac and its megaliths, Quimper and Vannes Medieval Cities, Cruise in the Bay of Morbihan.
Local InfoView in Google Maps
Lorient is situated on the west coast of France 500 km from Paris along the E50. It is 134 km from the ferry port of Brest and 200 km from Saint Malo.
Compagnie de Transports de la Région Lorientaise (CTRL) runs regular bus and boat passenger services as well as transport on demand. The website (in French) www.ctrl.fr has full details on routes, tarrifs, timetables and an Interactive route map.
There are also details on the bike hire system and the depots at participating stations.
The Gare de Lorient is the railway station, offering connections to Quimper, Nantes, Rennes, Paris (slightly less than 4 hours by TGV) and several regional destinations.
It is served by TGV (high speed), Intercités (long distance), Corail Lunéa (night trains) and TER (local) services operated by the SNCF.
For more information on train times, www.ter-sncf.com
Lorient South Brittany Airport or Aéroport de Lorient Bretagne Sud www.lorient.aeroport.fr, also known as Lorient-Lann-Bihoué Airport, is situated 5 km west-northwest of Lorient.
For international flights the airport connects to Lyon and Paris. Plus it flys direct at certain times of the year to Galway, Waterford and Cork in Ireland.
The airport is located adjacent to the E60 motorway running approximately 10Km inland from the sea, giving good access north west towards Brest, or south west towards Nantes.