The Nantes to Brest canal

Cycling from Redon to Châteaulin

Highlights

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

Le canal de Nantes à Brest à vélo

From Redon to Châteaulin in 9 days, cycle through autentic and bucolic Brittany

Cycling along the canal

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.

Easy: you occasionally or regularly ride your bike and have experience in cycling for a whole day. You enjoy discovering new territories in a leisurely way. You can ride up to 35 to 55 km a day on relatively flat routes.
Le canal de Nantes à Brest à vélo
Day 1 - REDON

Arrival in Redon. You meet with our guide at your hotel around 6 PM for an orientation meeting.


Day 2 - FROM REDON TO LA CHAPELLE-CARO - 50km

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.


Day 3 - FROM LA CHAPELLE-CARO TO JOSSELIN - 22km

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.


Day 4 - FROM JOSSELIN TO PONTIVY - 50km

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.


Day 5 - FROM PONTIVY TO SAINT-GELVEN - 39km

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.


Day 6 - FROM SAINT-GELVEN TO CARHAIX - 47km

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.


Day 7 - FROM CARHAIX TO CHATEAUNEUF-DU-FAOU - 44km

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.


Day 8 - FROM CHATEAUNEUF-DU-FAOU TO CHATEAULIN - 47km

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.


Day 9 - CHATEAULIN

End of stay after breakfast in Chateaulin


Chambre essentielle

Essential Range

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€

Chambre gamme confort Abicyclette

Confort Range

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€

Prices

Price for self-guided tour
  • 930€ / person with Essential Range
  • 950€ / person with Confort Range

Optionnal

Bike rental

  • Bike rental : 115€ / person
  • Electric bike rental : 218€ / person

Insurance

  • Cancellation Insurance : 19€ / person
  • Multi Risk Insurance : 24€ / person

High season supplement

  • High season supplement : 5€ / person

Other options

  • Extra night in Redon in a double room : 45€ / person
  • Extra night in Redon in a single room : 75€ / person
  • Extra night in Châteaulin in a double room : 55€ / person
  • Extra night in Châteaulin in a single room : 90€ / person

The price includes :

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
– Taxes
– Phone assistance 24/7
– Application fees

The price doesn't include :

Self guided tours
– Lunches, breakfast on Day 1 and diners not included in the above
– Bike rental
– Repairs, spareparts and mileage allowance
– Drinks
– Visits
– Parking fees

Homemade and fully tested itineraries
  • Routes selected for their cycling and touristic interest entirely tested and away from traffic
  • Accomodations selected for their hospitality, atmosphere, services and quality meals
  • A flexible organisation to suit you needs and wishes: You choose the date you want to you leave on! We check the availability of each accomodation to make sure it is possible.

Close assistance
  • One of our guides greets you on your first day. He will hand out all the needed documents for the trip (hotel vouchers, maps of the area,GPS, practical guide), get you settled on your bikes (for rental bikes).
  • Phone assistance 24H/7 you can reach the Abicyclette team whenever you need
  • A Luggage transfer service which respects your hours of rest (we pick them up after 10:00 and deliver them before 16:00)

Follow your itinerary anyway you like – modern, practical, traditionalguide

  • We loan you a GPS so that you can easily follow your itinerary without having to look for your way around (bike support included)/ Twonav Anima hiking GPS /
  • A practical cycling guide with all the useful information (addresses, highlights for the day and touristic information)
  • French topo maps of the area (IGN 1/100 000e) to have a global view of your itinerary

You can also

photo_guide

On our guided tours (for groups on demand), we accompany you every step of the way
  • One of our state qualified instructor and professional cycling guide accompanies you every step of the way
  • Full board (all meals covered unless asked otherwise)
  • A picnic buffet set up for lunch with a wide choice of fresh and local produce

Getting here ?

Starting point : Redon

By Car

  • Leaving your car in REDON
    • from Paris by highway A11 (415km 4h05)
  • Leaving your car in CHATEAULIN
    • from Paris by highway A10 (550km 5h40)

By train

  • TGV Train station in Redon (2h45 from Paris)
  • TER Train station in Châteaulin (5h30 to Paris)

By plane

  • Airport in Nantes, Rennes and Brest

Recommended cycling gear

Bike
  • Bike for all types of roads, trekking or hybrid
  • 21 speeds, 26 inches or 700 wheels
  • we recommend for optimal comfort:
    • 28 to 35 tires
    • crank set 48-36-26, cassette 11/34
    • for children, avoid single-speed bikes

Clothing and equipment
  • 1 helmet
  • suitable clothing for cycling
  • 1 warm jacket (e.g. fleece jacket)
  • 1 rainproof jacket
  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • 1 pair of cycling shoes
  • 1 small backpack or trunkbag
  • 1 or 2 water flasks
  • 1 security padlock
  • we recommend for optimal comfort:
    • 1 pair of gloves
    • 1 special pair of pants (shammy leather)
    • 1 night see fluorescent vest


Bike maintenance
  • Emergency repair kit:
    • 2 or 3 patches, pump, tire levers, multi-tools
  • Daily use kit:
    • cloth, oil, brakepads

Other
  • 1 suitcase (for belongings in luggage transfer)
  • 1 pair of evening shoes
  • 1 set of toiletries
  • 1 mobile phone and charger
  • 1 bathing suit and towel

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