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We visited the Tour de la Découverte in Lorient, a unique building in France




It dominates the harbor of Lorient. From the height of its 38 m, the Discovery Tour offers a breathtaking view of the City of Lorient and its five ports. “You can see Groix, Quiberon and Belle-Ile-en-Mer”, appreciates Christophe Deutsch, organizer of architecture and heritage at the City of Lorient since 2019. “The tower is even visible from the Glénans”.

She is one of the best witnesses to the history of the city

Originally a watchtower in the 18th century for the Compagnie des Indes, which ensured the safe return of the boats, the beautiful stone lady is “one of the best witnesses to the history of the city, one of its jewels, presents the guide. It helps to tell the maritime history of the city of Lorient ”.

On the Faouëdic hill, the Tour de la Découverte is one of the oldest buildings in the city of Lorient (Le Télégramme / Julien Boitel)

216 steps

Closed since 2018 and the removal of its dome, the tower is accessible to the public again, after extensive restoration work. But it has to be earned. The staircase displays 216 steps. Nine rungs with openings allow you to breathe and admire the landscape. Up, the new dome, inspired by the first lantern installed in 1891 and destroyed during World War II, offers a more pleasant visit than the old lookout, with a secure exterior passageway.

We visited the Tour de la Découverte in Lorient, a unique building in France
The Discovery Tower offers a 360 ° view of the city of Lorient (Le Télégramme / Julien Boitel)

This time ball is unique in France. There is only one in operation in Greenwich, England.

In the center, the watchmaking system, combining mechanisms of yesteryear and current technologies, created by the Lussault-Laumaillé company, impresses. It activates the 75 kg time-ball installed on a mast. “This time ball is unique in France. There is only one other in operation in Greenwich, England. It indicates solar noon at the time of its fall. At the time, this system was used by sailors to determine their position at sea and find their way around the oceans, ”explains Christophe Deutsch.

45-minute tours

In the 19th century, the observatory installed in one of the mills on the Faouëdic hill ensured its operation. Today, the ball drops every day at 14 h 13 min and 25 sec (13 h 13 min and 25 sec in winter time). Subject to climatic hazards, the system is still in the process of breaking in. Adjustments will be made for at least another year.

We visited the Tour de la Découverte in Lorient, a unique building in France
The clock and the time ball mechanism, at the top of the Discovery Tower. “This system was used at the time for sailors to determine their position at sea and find their way around the oceans”, explains Christophe Deutsch (Le Télégramme / Julien Boitel)

The guided tours, which resume this Saturday, June 12, will initially be limited to ten people and will last 45 minutes. The assurance of an aerial dive in the history of the city. Ultimately, a lighting project will enhance the tower and the entire Faouëdic hill.

We visited the Tour de la Découverte in Lorient, a unique building in France
The 216 steps of the Tour de la Découverte no longer hold any secrets for Christophe Deutsch, organizer of architecture and heritage in the City (Le Télégramme / Julien Boitel)

Guided tours from June 12 to 20, Wednesday to Sunday from 10:30 am to 5 pm, Saturday June 26 and Sunday June 27 at 2:30 pm Tours will be offered this summer. Price: € 3.50; free for children under 12. Reservation required (number of places limited) on https://demat.lorient.bzh/Culture/Visitesguidée ; information on 02 97 02 23 29

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