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Lorient, or L'Orient, ( ) is a commune and a seaport in the Morbihanmarker department in Brittany in north-western Francemarker.

Demographics

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.

History

At the beginning of the 17th century, merchants who were trading with Indiamarker 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.

Geography

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

Industry

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 Airportmarker is situated just west of the city at Lann Bihoue, and it has direct flights to several destinations, such as to Parismarker.

Keroman Submarine Base



Lorient was the location of a Germanmarker 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 Oceanmarker. 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.

Miscellaneous

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


Twin towns - sister cities

Lorient is twinned with:



See also



References



External links




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