Quiet routes, with little traffic
Flat routes, accessible to all
Josselin and Pontivy Castles, the Abbey of Bon Repos
The flowered locks along the route
From Redon to Châteaulin in 9 days, cycle through autentic and bucolic Brittany
The Nantes to Brest canal offers a beautiful journey through Brittany! On the towpath, you ride on a bucolic route at a somewhat faster pace than a barge. Cyclists, hikers, lock boaters, residents and fishermen: you will meet along the way many lovers of this land who will be happy to tell you their story of the canal.
From Nantes to Brest the canal is 450 km long with a 364 km portion from the lock of Nort-sur-Erdre to the 237th lock in Châteaulin (with a total of 238 locks*) .The richness of this route lies the variety of waterways more wild than artificial. 73 km (20%) were dug to connect the Erdre rivers like the Oust and the Alder. From Redon to Châteaulin, you are in the heart of Brittany and ride through some of the most beautiful parts of the canal on a route accessible to all thanks to the towpaths combining asphalt road, white paths and well maintained trails.
A bit of history
The construction projects of the Nantes to Brest canal were initiated under the old regime. They began under the reign of Napoleon 1st for strategic reasons. In 1804, the canal starts from both ends of Loire Atlantique (the lower Loire) and in the Finistère (the west end of Brittany). It will take 38 years to complete the work (in 1842). The operation cost 160 million gold francs in 1860, a current equivalent estimated at 150 million euros.
* 238 locks in total but none with that number: in Redon, there is a 17 bis lock; 18 were swallowed up in the construction of the Guerlédan dam in 1923.
Arrival in Redon. You meet with our guide at your hotel around 6 PM for an orientation meeting.
In Redon you reach the Oust riverbank, which shares a common riverbed with the Nantes to Brest canal. The route, flat and leisurely, will let you appreciate the peaceful atmosphere of these grounds. As you face the cliffs of the Ile de Pie on the other side of the canal, Brittany shows you just how surprising she can be. At 2/3 of the route you ride through Malestroit, a small city with character. You then head on to Roc André with an impressive religious architecture. This village is also famous for its brewery Lancelot. Allow for a visit and taste a traditional beer or local Phare Ouest cola.
A fairly short day to enjoy the city of Josselin. You enter the city through its majestic castle overlooking the canal. Also labeled "Small town of character," its typical houses with timber facades offer a warm welcome. You can also rent out canoes to explore the Canal from another perspective.
You get back to the banks of the Nantes-Brest canal. As you approach Rohan you discover the Abbey of Our Lady of Timadeuc. A community of Benedictine monks lives there. They make cheeses, jams, fruit jellies ... You can discover their products within their shop. The route then takes you to Pontivy. The many locks and small retention ponds in this part of the canal are an interesting curiosity. Along the Blavet riverbanks, Pontivy offers a fifteenth century castle which was one of the Duke of Rohan residences.
You leave Pontivy to reach the Guerlédan lake and its famous hydroelectric dam. The towpath disappears here and the journey will take a bit of altitude. Before getting to the center of Mur de Bretagne, famous for his climb during the Tour de France, you take a detour to the Guerlédan lake.
You leave Mur de Bretagne and reach the canal at the level of the ancient abbey of Bon Repos (Good Rest). You then join the Forges des Salles, the highlight of the canal (184m) and the Glomel trench. The next stage takes you to Carhaix, one of the oldest Breton cities. Former capital of Poher, the city was built by the Romans. It is famous for its music festival des Vieilles Charues.
A day riding at the foot of the Black Mountains. Your get to the towpath by the Carhaix port. At the end of your journey: Castle Trévarez (which needs you to get out of the canal when you arrive in Châteauneuf). Châteauneuf-Du-Faou, built on a rocky outcrop, is your stop for the night.
A beautiful day in wild nature with mountainous area much more presen. The Monts d’Arrée and the Menez Hom one of the peaks of the Massif Armorican, are not far away. Fortunately, cycling on the towpath, you enjoy the scenery without having to climb ! You arrive on the Port Launay, the last lock.
End of stay after breakfast in Chateaulin
You want to enjoy your itinerary without anything fancy. Our ”essential” range offers a simple accommodation for a good night’s rest in a simple hotel, guesthouse, rest house or hostel.
Available on this tour starting from : 930€
Our quality standard at Abicyclette. This type of accommodation includes 2 and 3 stars hotels. Depending on the itinerary, you might spend some nights in approved guesthouses. You enjoy a double bedroom with private bathroom and toilet and adapted welcome for you and your bikes.
Available on this tour starting from : 950€
High season supplement
Self guided tours
– 8 nights in a double room
– 8 breakfasts
– 2 diners
– Luggage transfer between hotels
– Loan of a GPS with full itinerary
– French topo map (IGN 1/100 000e)
– Practical cycling guide
– Our guide welcomes you on Day 1
– Phone assistance 24/7
– Application fees
Self guided tours
– Lunches, breakfast on Day 1 and diners not included in the above
– Bike rental
– Repairs, spareparts and mileage allowance
– Parking fees
Hi Fabien, Thank you for a most lovely organised trip on the Brest Canal last week with Annick. We live in Somerset UK near Exmoor and we welcome you to visit and stay anytime to cycle our hills!!! We all had a great time and good Hotels food and wine. Yours sincerely. (05/2015)
Die Tour hat uns gut gefallen. Danke für die gute und interessante Routenführung. Lieber Gruss (05/2016)
Dear Fabien, All the tour was very good and amusing. Beautiful landscape, nice people, good hotels and food. I do not really have one particular moment to remenber (a part from my accident) ... and then I will remember always all tour with homesickness. I take this occasion to give you my congratulation for the very well organized tour we had. Was e real pleasure to bike in Bretagne. I would also like to thank you for the support and assistance you provided me for my incident Thank you for your professional and human attitude you have in doing your job and I hope to bike again with your organization. Please say hallo to your colleague, monsieur ….. (I don’t remember his name) that accompanied me with the car to St-Brieuc. Best regards (07/2012)
Hello new friends, I wish to say "thank you for a great time and good-bye for now". I missed saying so to most of you yesterday. all the best (05/2013)
That was really the best vacation we ever had! Where should we go this summer? I would love to do another trip this year. Do you have any great itinerary ideas for us? We have 7 inches of snow here right now, and the temperature is MINUS 5 degree F. with a windchill of MINUS 19! Chilly!! xxx (07/2009)
Hello Natalie, We are now back in Sweden from our bicycle tour in Normandy. I would just like to give you some feed back from the tour: We were all very satisfied with the trip. When planning the trip, we found it very easy to work with you, quick answers and good flexibility for our ideas. Excellent choice of roads, which took us through the fantastic landscapes of Normandy, and also along the fashinating see shores ending with the first D-day shore. Most roads with very little traffic. We also appreciated the kindness of all french drivers who never complained although we sometimes were in the middle of the small narrow roads. The distances was OK for all of us. When there was a choice of long or short distances, we always selected the long ones. Easy to find the roads with the excellent GPS and the very good Road Book. We also appreciated the very good choice of B&B, places where we felt wellcome and with good standard. A trip we will recommend to our friends. We also had good luck with the weather, lots of sun, not to strong winds, just one or two showers in daytime. (Was the weather also organised by you??) With Best Regards (05/2017)