The seaside town of Lorient is located in Brittany's Morbihan department and lies at the mouths of two rivers: the Scorff and the Blavet. Its coastal location makes it perfect for a day out for those staying in one of the charming rustic gites in Guebernez or any of the other traditional French villages in the surrounding countryside.
The closest beach is Larmor Plage, with a popular Sunday morning market and a beachfront lined with restaurants and bars. Nextdoor is Plage de Locqueltas, a vast stretch of sand backed by grassy dunes, with shallow rocky pools that are perfect for children to paddle in. On the other side of Lorient, and visible across the bay, is Port Louis with its star-shaped fort, which now houses two fascinating museums. In 1664 Port-Louis, named after Louis XIII, became the main base of the newly created Compagnie des Indes, the company that traded between France and India.
Traditionally, Lorient was an important port for fishing and industry. These both still exist today but the area has also blossomed into a tourist destination in recent decades. Despite being heavily bombed during the war, the town is an attractive one and is great for walking. Many old buildings and monuments were destroyed during the war but there are still many sites of interests, especially around the old harbour area. Lorient hosts an annual Celtic Music Festival in August when musicians and music fans gather for a week of fun around the marina and in bars and restaurants across the town. There are still a few 18th century buildings standing, including an impressive watchtower and some lovely old houses.
One of the most popular attractions in Lorient is the museum which houses a submarine used by the French navy. Standing on the site of a former submarine base used by the Germans during the war, this is a must-see for anyone with an interest in military history.
The bay is a yachting hotspot and, in the summer months, the harbour fills up with yachts of all shapes and sizes. The town gets very busy with visitors of all nationalities who stop off in Lorient for a day or two on land. The bars and restaurants can get quite lively in high season, making this a vibrant and cosmopolitan place to head for an evening out. Although a fairly modern town due to the extensive re-building which took place after the war, Lorient still retains a unique charm and its streets are full of shops, cafes and bistros.
If you're staying in the depths of the stunning French countryside in one of the many gites in Brittany or the surrounding areas and fancy a day at sea, the Ile de Groix Island is a short distance off the shore of Lorient and is a great place to soak up the sun and fresh sea air. Boats leave Lorient for the island regularly and once there, you'll be greeted with fantastic sandy beaches and a range of shops and eateries. The island has several small villages and still maintains a small fishing fleet, although tourism is the main source of income here these days.