The Nantes-Brest canal

The delights of inland Brittany by the water’s edge

Picture 1 The Nantes-Brest canal Picture 2 The Nantes-Brest canal Picture 3 The Nantes-Brest canal Picture 4 The Nantes-Brest canal Picture 5 The Nantes-Brest canal Picture 6 The Nantes-Brest canal Picture 7 The Nantes-Brest canal Picture 8 The Nantes-Brest canal

From the City of the Dukes of Brittany to the iconic Breton port, the Nantes-Brest canal crosses Brittany right through its middle. As one lock succeeds another along the length of its preserved natural setting, this route takes you to the heart of the ‘petites Cités de Caractère’ (small towns of character) and to the foot of picturesque chateaux. An ideal family trip!   

From Nantes to Brest, a haven of peace that’s perfect for outdoor activities

There are no less than 236 locks on this 360 km stretch of waterway, punctuating the journeys of the small boats that travel along the canal. Tamed by these treasures of technical ingenuity, the waterway snakes through the most beautiful Breton valleys from the River Erdre to the River Aulne via the Vilaine, Oust and Blavet Rivers. The canal makes its way through delightful ‘petites Cités de Caractère’ (small towns of character) such as Malestroit and Rohan and the remnants of secular abbeys (Bon-repos) and medieval fortresses (Josselin). More active visitors will get through the winding circuit in a week, but you might prefer a more leisurely pace and make stops at the many hotels, stopover gîtes and B&Bs scattered along the way.     

The Blavet: nature and discovery

The delightful River Blavet is an alternative to the Nantes-Brest canal. Its source lies in the Morbihan area close to Pontivy, and the river meanders all the way to Lorient bay. It’s a little piece of paradise for anglers who gather on its shores, especially at Saint-Nicolas-des-Eaux. The banks of the Blavet are home to many bird species that can be easily seen in the shadows of the century-old oaks and maritime pines. All along the way you’ll come across chapels, richly decorated cavalry crosses and beautifully preserved manor houses.      

From the Channel to the Ocean: the most beautiful link between Saint-Malo and the Atlantic

A distance of 220 km separates the ports of Dinan and Arzal, which are linked by a quiet stretch of navigable waterway that takes the form of estuary, canal and river successively. Going from the Channel to the Atlantic, this ancient and vital economic link has today become a justifiably popular tourist route. Cyclists and walkers meander along the towpaths and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, making their way past delightful villages at Saint-Suliac and Léhon, skirting along the foot of medieval fortresses at Dinan and Rieux, and passing close to stunning small towns such as La Roche-Bernard. Finally, they reach the ladder of 11 locks at Hédé, the Cluse de Corbinières viaduct and the high schist cliff faces that give relief to this stunning landscape.     

Useful links

Canals of Brittany

With TripAdvisor’s reviews from travellers

fans de Bretagne

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