Port Louis ~ Lorient

17th – 21st September – a return visit to the pretty port of Port Louis!

We had a very pleasant sail to this famous port in Brittany. The wind built and at between 16 to 17 knots Musetta was romping along at 7+ knots and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying the passage, as we were too! 

The good sailing conditions didn’t last all the way and the wind died after lunch so that we motored gently into Lorient and the marina at Port Louis.  However, we had made good time arriving at about 3pm and so after completing formalities with the harbour office we had the rest of the afternoon and evening to relax!

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Port Louis

This is the view from La Pointe, Port Louis across to the historic ‘submarine pens’, a relic of the war, with Kernevel Marina where we moored a few weeks ago close by.

18th September – A festival weekend

Our visit to Lorient this time just happened to coincide with a weekend celebrating the cultural, architectural and maritime heritage of Port Louis meaning that there was music and dance in traditional costume on the quayside and all museums were open and free!

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The Citadelle at Port Louis

We spent several hours in the Citadelle, a fortress which dominates the entrance to the harbour at Lorient.  This monument is now being completely renovated and all materials used and methods are absolutely traditional.

The Citadelle was built by the Spanish during the religious conflicts and was then restored by Louis x111 in the early part of the 17th century and is linked to the founding of the French East India trading company.  Ships would moor here to wait for favourable winds to take them to India.  The exhibitions inside which we were treated to were fascinating, surprising and rich in artefacts from over the centuries.

Views of the harbour entrance and across to Kernevel

19th September – A very different museum

Lorient is more recently known for its links to our Royal Navy and of course to France’s famous intrepid yachtsman, Éric Tabarly and his yachts, all named Pen Duick (meaning – “small head black”, the name which one gives to a titmouse with a black head)! All the Pen Duicks on show were black hulled!

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“Pen Duick III” bult in 1967

We went to the Museé de la Voile on the other side of the harbour, just a short ferry trip away. The museum was excellent and featured a great deal of Éric Tabarly’s successes and hair-raising escapades as he broke records crossings ocean on numerous occasions.  We were also able to see some his boats in which he achieved them! As a nation France still mourns the loss of Éric Tabarly aged 66, lost overboard while sailing with four friends as crew close to the British coast  in 1998.

20th September -a lazy day!

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So French!!

For our final day here in Port Louis has been very relaxed!  It a beautiful day with very light winds and lots and lots of warm sunshine.

I decided to take a stroll around the small town with my camera at the ready and here are some of the results.

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Pétanque a quintessentially french game

Pétanque is a form of boules where the goal is to toss or roll hollow steel balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (literally “piglet”) or jack, while standing inside a circle with both feet on the ground. 

The church which is called La Chapelle de Notre Dame features largely in the town, it’s spire can be seen from almost anywhere.

La Chapelle de la Notre Dame

I just love the higgledy piggledy randomness of the buildings which is in stark contrast with the uniformity of the avenues of the trees which is also so typical.

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Amazing uniformity of this avenue of trees above the marina!

There is nothing random, higgledy piggledy or indeed uniform about this egret enoying the fruits of low tide here in the marina, simply a stunning bird!

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A White Egret

21st September – Passage back to Port la Forêt

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Farewell to Port Louis, Lorient

Our passage back to Port la Forêt was another reminder of how much we enjoy sailing our lovely boat! We set off on a beautiful but windless morning but as we exited the entrance channel to the harbour we could see wind on the water and indeed we motored into it!

Time to hoist the sails and to have a futile race with one of the Vendee Globe Yachts based in Lorient, Gitana 16!  It didn’t last long as she disappeared over the horizon, fun while it lasted though?! However, Musetta was doing very well and in light winds we achieved 7.4kts! Very enjoyable while it lasted but then the wind went round which meant that we had to tack which also meant we didn’t make such good progress but it didn’t matter as it was such a lovely day!

Just off the Îles de Glénans we came across three more Vendee yachts which are based in Port la Forêt.  They were out testing their systems before they make their way to Les Sables D’Olonne for the start of the single handed race round the world on 6th November.

The Vendee yachts out for a spin!

We had a thoroughly relaxing time in Port Louis and feel sure that we will make a return visit again next season. Time to return to our base and UK for Alan to work and me to see as many of my friends as possible and to spend time with my grandchildren!

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A beautiful Autumn evening in Port la Forêt!

Back safely to Port la Forêt and on the end of the visitors pontoon for a while!

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