Saint-Gildas et les chapelles du Blavet
How green is my valley
The Blavet valley, named after the river that flows through it, is one of Morbihanâ€™s hidden gems. Between Pontivy and Lorient, the area is known for its historic chapels, living history museums, Breton horses and outdoor activities â€“ with plenty of opportunities for messing about on the water.
The villages along the river are renowned for their historic chapels. The most attractive is without doubt St Gildas in Bieuzy-les-Eaux. Named after the Irish monk who came here in the 6th century, the chapel is tucked underneath a rocky outcrop on a grassy bank next to the river. Each July, about 25 of the valleyâ€™s chapels, which date from the 15th century, host contemporary art exhibitions during the Art dans les Chapelles festival.
A step back in time
This area has two living history museums where visitors can return to the past. The Village de lâ€™An Mil in Melrand has reconstructed life in 1000AD on the site of a deserted medieval village; rare breeds will delight kids while the gardens will fascinate adults. The village de Poul-Fetan recreates life in 19th-century Brittany, with traditional cottages, local animal breeds and the opportunity to take part in bygone activities such as butter-making and weaving.
Horse lovers are in for a treat as the town of Hennebont is home to the Haras National, one of Brittanyâ€™s two national horse studs that are dedicated to conserving the Breton breeds. Visitors can find out all about these sturdy animals on a guided tour of the stables; there are regular events in season.
Outdoor sorts are spoilt for choice along the Blavet as the riverbanks are the perfect place for walking or cycling. Daredevils should head to the Accrobranche adventure forest in Camors to walk through the treetops or take the zipline; a spot of paintballing in Baud is guaranteed to get the adrenaline going. A trip along the river is a must whether you enjoy a leisurely descent by barge or hire a kayak or pleasure boat to go at your own pace. The Blavet is also one of the best places in Brittany for fishing.
Did you know?
As well as being used on farms and to gather seaweed, Breton horses are bred for their meat.
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