Our accommodation was an unusual Bed & Breakfast in the town of Lanester. It was a different experience because we stayed in railway carriages, which were from the 1960s and 1970s.
The Train Auberge is in a green field surrounded by trees and flowers. There is a train track where a train enthusiast installed and completely restored an old train.
It is an authentic “autorail X3876” named Picasso. The cabin was raised in the form of a nose which was characteristic of certain portraits painted by Picasso.
It reminded us of our trips from Wissembourg to Strasbourg when this type of train was in service. Our train was completely refurbished and modernised to today’s standards but kept its authentic look. We could also learn about the history of this train by admiring all the photos and decorations.
There was a bar, a restaurant, and a terrace for us to enjoy our meals outside.
“I prefer this to a tent,” I said when Clarisse shared her discovery with us.
The bedroom was in an old railway carriage. It is longer than it is wide, and the carriage was divided into different sections.
Our apartment was a room with a double bed, and a shower room and a WC. There was also a kitchen corner with a fridge, an oven, a grill and a cooking hob. We had everything to prepare our meals and breakfast.
We sank into the world of trains with authentic furniture, train tables and train bunks.
Clarisse’s apartment was 20 m², so a little smaller. But it had anti-allergenic bedding, a television and high-speed internet access.
The next morning, we had a typical “Breizh-Breakfast”: local jam, baguette, local cheese. Feeling strengthened, we went to the French East India Company Museum.
We took the boat-bus to go from Lorient to Port Louis and crossed the river in ten minutes. We could already feel the maritime spirit awaiting us at the museum.
It tells the story of the French East India Company, founded by Colbert in Port Louis and brought to life in June 1666 by Louis XIV.
The museum is near the ramparts of the Citadel of Port Louis. In the morning, we were transported into a different world of yesteryear. We walked through the museum, surrounded by the history and adventures of the exotic and international trade in Lorient. We sank into the life of the crews and the ships of the company. We could experience what the merchants transported from India to Lorient. Clarisse and I loved the colourful silks and cotton. We also especially admired the beautiful porcelain. Bernard studied the old maps and saw where the coffee, tea, gold, precious woods, and tropical plants originated from.
In the museum shop, Clarisse bought some “Kari Gosse”. It is a curry mixed by a Mr Gosse in the 19th century, and it goes very well with seafood.
Then we went to the park displaying tropical plants and saw the imposing 150-year-old Chilean palm trees. We were impressed to see such magnificent tropical trees standing in Brittany, and were happy that they also survived the bombings of the Second World War.
Feeling hungry, we had lunch. I chose a lobster whereas Clarisse and Monique ate the local fish, which had arrived in the fish harbour in the morning. It was accompanied by an excellent, dry white wine. As usual, the espressos got us ready for the afternoon tour of the submarine base.
We arrived at the base after lunch. We could not miss it, because it is so imposing. The name of the place is Keroman and it was built by the German occupiers during WWII.
Fifty years later, the base was developed by French sailors such as Alain Gautier and Franck Cammas to become a sailing centre. They also built the Éric Tabarly Sailing Museum.
We strolled along the docks and admired the racing boats. In the museum, we discovered the life of the legendary sailor, Éric Tabarly. Bernard suggested we go sailing, but I said, that I easily get seasick.
After that, Clarisse and Bernard went inside the bunkers to look at some submarines and experience life in them. I chose to look at the 10,000 portraits of anonymous people who were connected to the base.
Afterwards, we walked down the pontoons and admired the giants of the seas. Then we went to the “La Base” and enjoyed a crêpe. Clarisse and I drank some cocktails. We sat in comfortable deckchairs and enjoyed the view. Clarisse also bought some fish rillettes for future apéros at home in the Groix & Nature shop.
Finally, I took Bernard by the hand, and together we climbed up the 38 metres of the Tour des Vents to enjoy the spectacular 360° view.