Marque Bretagne

The Brest to Nantes Canal - complete

From Brest to Nantes, a complete crossing of Brittany by bike

Highlights

The complete Nantes to Brest canal
Crossing the Brest harbor by boat
The Le Fret Port on the Crozon Peninsula
Bon Repos Abbey
The lake and dam of Guerlédan
The castles of Brest, Pontivy, Josselin, Nantes
The flowery locks that line the route

From the ocean to the city of Dukes of Brittany by bike

From Brest to Nantes in 11 days, cross an authentic and bucolic Brittany by bike

The Nantes to Brest canal starting from Brest offers you a beautiful crossing of Brittany! It is in the port of Brest that you start this bike tour. The adventure begins with a sea crossing of the Brest harbor to reach the Crozon peninsula.

It’s on a hilly course, with a rich natural heritage, that you arrive in Châteaulin and quickly reach the towpath. At a speed a little faster than a barge, you follow a bucolic route. The locks punctuate your stages without forcing you to stop. 238 in total, they grant water management, its flow in hilly areas. The relief is mild at the edge of this long interior artery of Brittany.

450 km between Brest and Nantes, including 364 km between the Châteaulin lock and that of Nort-sur-Erdre. What makes this cycling route rich is the variety of rivers that are ridden on more often natural than artificial. In fact, only 20%, or 73 km, have been dug to connect the rivers including the Aulne, the Oust and the Erdre. You are in the heart of Brittany and you cross a route accessible to all thanks to the maintained hauling combining combining asphalt roads, 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.

Discover all our trips in the Nantes to Brest canal.

Carte itinéraire Le Canal de Nantes à Brest intégral
Niveau LeisureLeisure or Niveau FitFit
Day 1

BREST

Arrival  in Brest in the afternoon on your own. Settle in and make yourself comfortable in your accommodation. Meet our guide around 5pm for the orientation meeting.

Meeting with our local guide

Before your first ride, we invite you to meet one of our guides, at your place of departure. A time of exchange, a privileged moment to give you our last practical tips, must-see places and experiences, to answer all your questions, take care of your bike fitting to begin your trip.

Day 2

From BREST to CHATEAULIN, via THE CROZON PENINSULA 43km 390m Niveau Loisir

You leave Brest as you should, by its port! The Brestoa is a boat that allows you to reach the Crozon peninsula with your bikes. You leave the port of Le Fret and the Crozon peninsula and make your way between the Aulne valley and the summit of Menez-Hom.

Maritime crossing in the heart of Brest's harbour

Take a boat trip across the Brest harbor, and enjoy the sea spray. It’s a great way to discover one of the world’s largest harbors.

Please note that the boat only runs from June 28 to September 13 (except Thursdays, Mondays and certain exceptional dates).

The boat is replaced by a private shuttle (by road) from Brest to Crozon le Fret.

  • For a few more km 62km 666m Niveau Forme

    Then a beautiful course on the peninsula of Crozon before joining Chateaulin. It is a hilly course, with a very rich natural heritage and beautiful views of the sea.

Day 3

From CHATEAULIN to CHATEAUNEUF DU FAOU 44km 229m Niveau Loisir

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 !

Day 4

From CHATEAUNEUF DU FAOU to CARHAIX-PLOUGUER 38km 461m Niveau Loisir

You leave behind the Château de Trévarez behind to start a stage at the foot of the Black Mountains which takes you to port of Carhaix on the towpath.

Day 5

From CARHAIX-PLOUGUER to GUERLEDAN 64km 365m Niveau Loisir

Your bike takes you 200m above sea level, reaching the canal’s culminating point. This is where the Glomel trench was dug, where many convicts lost their life digging it. For you it’s a delivery, as a descending false flat of dozens of kilometers awaits ! You will reach the “Lac de Guerlédan” at the end of the day.

Day 6

From GUERLEDAN to PONTIVY 25km 36m Niveau Loisir

Day 7

From PONTIVY to JOSSELIN 50km 118m Niveau Loisir

From one castle to another, you connect two cities of history. As you approach Rohan, you can discover the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Timadeuc. A community of monks lives there under the rule of Saint-Benoit. The monks make cheeses, jams, fruit jellies which you can find in their shop. Enjoy a stroll on Josselin at the end of the day.

Day 8

From JOSSELIN to REDON 64km 108m Niveau Loisir

The beginning of the route takes you to the Roc Saint André which offers an impressive religious architecture. The village is also known for its famous Lancelot Brewery. You can make a halt and enjoy the traditional beers and Cola from the Phare Ouest! A few kilometers further and you’re in Malestroit, a small typical town where you can enjoy a meal. Later on, as you face the cliffs of the Ile aux Pies, which lie on the other side of the canal, Brittany shows you just how surprising she can be.

Day 9

From REDON to LE GAVRE 50km 134m Niveau Loisir

After its confluence with the Oust, the Vilaine widens significantly. The bucolic towpath offers you the chance to pedal through protected, canalized wetlands. It’s an opportunity to discover the fauna and magnificent bird species that particularly appreciate these tranquil spaces. Arriving in the Loire Atlantique department, you leave the Vilaine to pedal along the canalised section of the Isac. Its banks, with their picturesque views over meadows, fields, woods and rural landscapes, brighten up your cycling trip. The Isac takes you to Guenrouet, where you can relax by the Etang de la Roche. You continue along the winding Isac, where one lock follows another, before returning to a more linear course as far as Blain. Take the time to visit the Château de la Groulais, an ancient medieval fortress that has retained all its architectural features. It’s here that you leave the Isac canal to reach what’s known as the water-logged green lung: the Gâvre forest. This is where you find your accommodation.

Day 10

From LE GAVRE to NANTES 68km 243m Niveau Loisir

You leave behind the forest of Le Gâvre, one of the largest state forests in the region. Small country roads take you back to the banks of the Nantes-Brest Canal and its first locks. Each lock has its own number, giving you a clue as to how far it is to Nantes. Enjoy the bucolic scenery and calm of the towpaths. As you approach the Erdre, the most beautiful river in France according to François I, the signposted La Vélodyssée itinerary takes you right into the center of the ancient capital of Brittany.

Day 11

NANTES

End of stay after breakfast. Before leaving, we invite you to wander and visit the city known as The City of the Dukes of Brittany. Nantes surprises with its blend of history and modernity. For a taste of history, take the time to visit the famous Château des Ducs de Bretagne. And don’t miss Nantes’ Machines de l’ile attraction, which delights young and old alike! The former capital of Brittany is not to be outdone in terms of its cultural, artistic and gastronomic heritage. Enjoy its inventive market cuisine, a stroll through the Jardin des Plantes, a coffee at the Lieu Unique or a spot of shopping in the charming Passage Pommeraye.

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.

Accommodation example
Hôtel Abalys au-fil-de-l-aulne Hôtel Noz Vad Chambre d’hôtes TY PONDI PONTIVY B&B Le 14 Saint Michel Hôtel Auberge de la Forêt

Starting from 1315€/participant in Self Guided option | See detailed prices

Comfort 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.


Quote on request | Contact us

Privilege Range

Opt for total comfort in charming 3 and 4 star hotels which offer all the services you need and a special welcome for you and your bikes.


Quote on request | Contact us

Price includes

  • Accommodation: 10 nights in a Double room
  • 10 breakfasts
  • 1 dinner
  • Luggage transfer
  • Phone assistance 24/7
  • Access to our exclusive travel application to follow your route, inform you about places of interest, restaurants, facilitate your assistance in case of emergency, find all your travel documents and our practical advice.
  • Application fee
  • Taxes
  • The itinerary trackable on the following supports:
    • Loan of a Bicycle GPS uploaded with full itinerary of the trip
    • Cycling practical guide including restaurant recommendations for lunch & dinner
  • Additional services included:
    • Day 1 : A personalized greeting with our team at the beginning of the trip to receive your travel documents
    • Day 2 : Sea crossing - BREST - CROZON
  • Price does not include

    • bike rental (see option)
    • Breakfast on day 1
    • Lunches
    • Dinners not included in "Price includes"
    • Drinks, visits & other personal expenses

    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, 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, traditional

    appareil GPS TwoNav Cross

    • We loan you a GPS so that you can easily follow your itinerary without having to look for your way around (bike support included)
    • A practical cycling guide with all the useful information (addresses, highlights for the day, topo maps, and touristic information)

     


    You can also

     

    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

    We offer a high-end bike rental service. Our bikes are suited for road and gravel road long-distance cycling. Fully equipped and highly reliable, they are faithful travel companions.


    Trekking bike

    A layed out and dynamic position

    Mixed aluminum frame, telescopic fork. Straight handlebars. Disc brakes. Transmission Shimano 24 to 30 speeds.

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 back bag 20L (waterproof)
    • 1 front bag 4L with plastic map holder (waterproof)
    • 1 lock
    • 1 repair kit (patches, tube, tire lever)
    • 1 multi tools box
    • 1 pump
    • 1 bike computer
    • 1 bike water bottle
    Vélo Abicyclette Voyages

    Touring bike

    An upright and easy going position

    Mixed aluminum frame, telescopic fork. Straight handlebars. Disc brakes. Transmission Shimano 24 to 30 speeds.

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 back bag 20L (waterproof)
    • 1 front bag 4L with plastic map holder (waterproof)
    • 1 lock
    • 1 repair kit (patches, tube, tire lever)
    • 1 multi tools box
    • 1 pump
    • 1 bike computer
    • 1 bike water bottle
    Vélo Rando Abicyclette Voyages

    Ebike

    With an autonomy of almost 120km, cycling has never been so easy!

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 back bag 20L (waterproof)
    • 1 front bag 4L with plastic map holder (waterproof)
    • 1 lock
    • 1 repair kit (patches, tube, tire lever)
    • 1 multi tools box
    • 1 pump
    • 1 bike computer
    • 1 bike water bottle
    EBIKE VELO DE VILLE

    Children Bike

    Recommended bike size (to be confirmed when booking) :

    • 16 inches from 105cm to 120cm (or 6 to 7 years old)
    • 20 inches from 120cm to 135cm (or 7 to 10 years old)
    • 24 inches from 135cm to 145cm (or 10 to 12 years old)
    • SPORT XS bike (adult frame) from 145cm to 155cm (from age 10)

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet
    • 1 inner tube
    • 1 bike water bottle
    Vélo enfant 24 pouces pour vacances à vélo

    Bike trailer

    Thule Chariot Cross 2
    Children’s trailers can only be rented for installation on one of our bikes.
    We do not provide this service on any other bike. There is too much risk of incompatibility and breakage.
    Por one or 2 children.
    Max child trailer load: 45kg.

    Supplied equipment per bike

    • 1 helmet (or 2 if 2 kids)
    • 1 inner tube
    • 1 bike water bottle (or 2)
    • Accessories on request: baby hammock. A padded hammock that supports baby’s sides and offers maximum stability (1 to 10 months). Use only the newborn hammock for walking.

    Getting here

    Departure city : BREST

    Coming by car

    • at 5h from PARIS
    • at 6h from BORDEAUX
    • at 9h from LYON

    Parking*

    • Q-Park Brest Liberté – BREST
    • Q-park Parking Colbert – BREST

    Coming by train

    • Brest train station - 3h30 from Paris

    Coming by plane

    • Brest airport

    Arrival city : NANTES

    Coming by car

    • at 3h45 from PARIS
    • at 3h30 from BORDEAUX
    • at 6h from LYON

    Coming by train

    • Nantes train station - 2h15 from Paris

    Coming by plane

    • Nantes airport

    *Parking: Since many of our clients travel by train or plane, we do not include parking in our packages. In addition, many accommodations don’t have the capacity to park a vehicle for the duration of your cycling vacation. So if you’re planning to arrive by car, we suggest you check parking options when you make your reservation. If you reserve a parking space at the first or last accommodation of your stay, you must pay the accommodation provider on site.

    * Abicyclette Voyages accompanies you on demand, including transportation solutions.

    How to get back to the starting point

    • By train from Nantes to Brest in 3h35
    • Return by car in 3h15 to your starting point
    • Private shuttle: see detailed fares or contact us

    Recommended equipment

    Bike

    • All-Terrain Bike (ATB) or Touring Bike or Gravel Bike
    • 18 to 30-speed transmission
    • 26- to 29-inch wheels
    • Tires: 35 to 42 section, reinforced against punctures
    • Disc brakes recommended
    • 2 bottle cages
    • Bell
    • Front and rear lighting

    Clothing and equipment

    • Helmet (supplied with bike rental unless otherwise specified locally)
    • 1 bike mount for smartphone to use the mobile route planner application
    • Suitable cycling clothing:
      • bib, shorts or tights: elastic and breathable, to facilitate movement and wick away perspiration
      • Breathable T-shirts, synthetic or merino wool
      • Breathable windbreaker
    • Thermal or fleece jacket
    • Waterproof jacket
    • 1 pair of sunglasses
    • 1 pair of cycling shoes
    • 1 backpack or 1 or 2 carrier bags
    • 1 or 2 water bottles (supplied with bike rental in France)
    • 1 lock (supplied with bike rental)
    • Technical details, recommended by the team for optimum comfort:
      • 1 pair of gloves or mittens, depending on season and destination
      • Padded bib (chamois)
      • High-visibility vest or fluorescent belt
      • Neck warmer and cap

    Bike maintenance

    • Emergency repair kit: 2 or 3 inner tubes, patches, pump, tire levers, multi-tools
    • Maintenance kit: rag, oil, brake pads

    Other

    • A suitcase for your belongings carried in the vehicle (limited to one per person)
    • Street clothes
    • 1 pair of evening shoes
    • Fleece jacket for the evening
    • Toiletry bag
    • Telephone and charger

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