©Yannick Le Gal
Port‑LouisThe citadel
Watch video

Port Louis

Like a stone guard, the citadel watches over the town and the pearly waters of Lorient bay. Behind the ramparts, untouched by canons and time, the splendour of the Compagnie des Indes and the picturesque charm of a fishing port intertwine. Discover it with the wind in your hair!


From salt to sardine

Wine, salt and cereals used to transit through the medieval harbour of Blavet. The Spanish erected the first elements of the citadel in 1590. After Juan del Aguila’s men had left, Louis XIII completed the fortifications in 1637 and baptised the town Port-Louis. Chosen as the site of Compagnie des Indes, Port-Louis prospered thanks to the spice trade. When Compagnie des Indes moved to Lorient, the town converted to fishing and tourism.

Navigate in good company

A museum in the citadel traces the thrilling saga of Compagnie des Indes, founded in 1664 by Colbert. Models of boats, reconstitutions of counters, examples of fabrics, spices and porcelain will take you back to the African and Eastern routes in the 17th and 18th-centuries. For the crew, these trips were not cruises. The worrying instruments of the on-board doctors demonstrate this!

A castle from Spain

The citadel still has two Spanish-looking bastions. Go over a little bridge and cross the ravelin, a triangular-shaped fortification, to access it. On the parapet walk adorned with greenery, silent canons still point towards Ile de Groix. Today, however, the eyes are drawn more peacefully to Pointe de Gâvres. From the Pâtis, a former weapons assembly point, a gateway in the ramparts leads to the lovely Grands-Sables beach.

A museum in the citadel traces the thrilling saga of Compagnie des Indes

Did you know?

Prisoners in the citadel?

Famous prisoners were enclosed within the ramparts, including Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte in 1836.

What shouldn’t you miss?

  • The ramparts, a listed Historic Monument
  • The Grande Poudrière which housed the gunpowder of the land batteries and vessels (1750-1752)
  • The Papegaut, a bastion dating from 1649-1653
  • Saint-Pierre chapel, built in 1553, burned and rebuilt in 1859
  • Notre-Dame de l’Assomption church, founded in the 17th century
  • The fountains: Notre-Dame, De Marolles, des Récollets
  • The wash houses: des Récollets, de Locmalo
  • The Petite Poudrière
  • The citadel founded by the Spanish and rebuilt under Louis XIII
  • The museum of Compagnie des Indes and the Marine Museum

Guided tours

  • Guided tour for individuals (summer)
  • Interpretation circuit

Information & bookings

Lorient Bretagne Sud Tourisme

Official website of tourism in Brittany