Sunday, 23 August 2009


Some years ago I made an opportunity to visit the Citadelle, Port Louis, near Lorient, Brittany, to see a brilliant array of goods shipped in the great importing days of the East India Companies. Not only were there wonderful examples of the textiles, decorations, and clothing made with the chintzes, including some Toile de Jouy inspired by these exotic designs, but there were also examples of porcelain and other goods made for the European market, and in addition, some interesting, details of the lay-out of the slave ships, complete with model figures of the crews and passengers, and many other models of the fortress and the sail ships in times of war - so there was much to interest children and people keen on naval history. Both my husband and I thought it was one of the most fascinating places to visit and the huge fortifications were on a vast scale with rooms for ammunition, powder, etc. all open to the public for a modest entrance charge. Check times and dates   If you were camping with children and the weather was typical rainy stormy SAtlantic type, it is a good place to lose them for a few hours, there is so much to intrigue and see.
 The nearby harbour of Lorient was one of the main bases of German Uboats during the last war, but now Lorient is the centre for a big gathering of Celtic musicians, singers and dancers every August - a strange mixture of ancient and modern; the Uboats were latest technology and the songs and dances go back to medieval times.  All through the day small groups of musicians wander round the town in their local costumes and rehearse and dance at street corners which makes it a good spectacle.

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