The Keroman submarine Base is the largest one in Europe and one of the main elements of Lorient history. It was built by the occupant and caused the destruction of the city during WW2. As the French Navy then used it for more than 50 years, it is also a reminder of the importance of the military activity in the economic life of Lorient until 1997.
Then, the Base and the military harbour were closed, causing the loss of thousands of jobs. Visiting the bunker K3 (like more than 20,000 people per year), of the Lorient submarine museum and soon of the Flore submarine will make you share this page of the history of our town.
Cap l'Orient Agglomération, the association in charge of the development of the city, redeveloped in less than ten years the Submarine Base. Since 1997, Europe, the French State, the regional and county Councils have invested nearly 62.5 million Euros. This site, which had been military since WW2, is now changing to be a major hub of the nautical field.
Cap l'Orient Agglomération bought lands and is working to improve the site by demolishing buildings, developing roads, putting in place a decontamination canal system, since 2002. This phase is coming to an end with the construction of professional buildings.
Historically, the nautical field has been the main element of local economic development. Yachting is one of its ways to branch out. This tendency was confirmed by the implementing of companies at the leading edge of technology in this field, like Navimo and its equipment manufacturer Plastimo, Catlantech (catamarans), Lorima (carbon masts), Marsaudon composites (moulds production), and more recently Arcoa (yachts conception and Keroman Technologies (racing boats conception).
In Lorient and its suburbs, some 60 companies have created 1,300 jobs in the nautical field. A companies village, named the Nautique de Keroman, has been implemented. It is destined to companies developing activities and services linked to the nautical vocation of the site.
The good sailing conditions also make the racing centre attractive, that's why many famous skippers train here. They have made the Submarine Base their home port and get prepared here for big races and records. Among them, there are Franck Cammas (Groupama), Jean-Pierre Dick (Virbac-Paprec), Loïck Peyron (Banque Populaire V), Samantha Davies (Roxy), Yann Elies (Generali), Jérémy Beyou (Delta Dore), Jean-Baptiste Dejeanty (Maisonneuve)... Today, almost 50 boats of all types (multihull, monohull, Figaros, MUMM 30's, Minis...) are preparing for racing.
The Cité de la Voile Eric Tabarly (Sailing Museum) opened in April 2010. It is a national reference for scientific and technical knowledge in sailing, and already more than 120,000 people came to take a tour.