The Nantes to Brest canal

Cycling from Redon to Châteaulin

Highlights

Flat routes, accessible to all, without traffic, very quiet
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

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.

Niveau LeisureLeisure
Day 1

REDON

Arrival on your own and check in to your hotel. Orientation with our guide today. Take time to explore Redon.

Day 2

From REDON to JOSSELIN 64km 115m Niveau Loisir

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. After few kilometers, you enter the city of Josselin 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 3

From JOSSELIN to PONTIVY 52km 160m Niveau Loisir

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 4

From PONTIVY to SAINT-GELVEN 36km 200m Niveau Loisir

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 5

From SAINT-GELVEN to CARHAIX-PLOUGUER 58km 460m Niveau Loisir

You leave Saint-Gelven 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 6

From CARHAIX-PLOUGUER to CHATEAUNEUF DU FAOU 44km 460m Niveau Loisir

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 7

From CHATEAUNEUF DU FAOU to CHATEAULIN 47km 530m 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 ! You arrive on the Port Launay, the last lock.

Day 8

CHATEAULIN

End of the trip after breakfast.

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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.


Starting from 785€/participant in Self Guided option | See detailed prices

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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.


Starting from 840€/participant in Self Guided option | See detailed prices

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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

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, 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

 

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

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 bottle
Présentation de notre parc de vélo Scott Sub Cross 20

Touring bike

A straight and easy going position

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 bottle
Vélo de voyage, position à l'hollandaise

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 bottle
Présentation de nos vélos électriques

Vélo enfant 24 pouces

Bike trailer

Abicyclette remorque enfant voyage à vélo

Getting here

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 equipment

Bike
  • Trekking or hybrid bike
  • 21 to 30 speeds
  • 26 or 28 inch (700) wheels
Clothing and equipment
  • Helmet (included with the rental)
  • Clothing suitable for cycling
  • Warm jacket (eg fleece)
  • Rain proof jacket
  • 1 pair of sunglasses
  • 1 pair of cycling shoes
  • 1 small backpack or panniers
  • 1 or 2 water flasks (included with the rental)
  • 1 lock (included with the rental)
  • Our reccomendation 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 tubes, patches, pump, tire levers, multi-tools
  • Daily use kit: cloth, brake pads, oil
Other
  • Suitcase (for transporting personal effects in luggage transfers)
  • Change of clothes for the evening
  • Warm jacket for the evenings
  • Set of toiletries
  • Mobile phone and charger

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