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nantes to brest canal

Country escape on Nantes to Brest canal

A magical and mysterious land, rich in colours and traditions. Brittany is a river region renowned both for its artistic and historical monuments along the canals and for the relaxing nature that surrounds it. Why not being tempted and hiring a houseboat in Brittany along Nantes to Brest canal? The 364-kilometre-long canal with 208 locks from Nantes to Brest is the ideal way to discover most of fluvial Brittany. Connecting Nantes to Brest, this canal crosses the valleys of Aulne, Isac, Doré, Oust, Erdre, Kergoat and Blavet. With family or friends, enjoy a relaxing week or weekend on your boat. Discover the joys of hiring a boat without a boat license, enjoy the exceptional landscape, stop off in complete freedom and do not forget not to take a gastronomic break tasting crepes and cider from Brittany! 


A bit of history 

The plan to unite Nantes and Brest in the hinterland dates back to the 16th century, when the Duchy of Brittany was united with the Kingdom of France. It was only in 1804, under the Empire, that construction work began for strategic reasons. In fact, with the resumption of hostilities with England, the need for supply grew and the poor condition of the roads had made transport long, difficult and expensive. The works were titanic: four river basins were brought together (Loire, Vilaine, Blavet, Blavet, Aulne), eight rivers (Erdre, Isac, Oust, Blavet, Kergoat, Doré, Hyères and Aulne) and more than 200 locks were built. It was only in 1842 that the works were completed and the canal was opened for navigation. Today, trawling horses have given way to fishermen, hikers, sportsmen and lovers of river holidays.

nantes to brest canal

Cities and towns along the Nantes to Brest canal

Sailing along the Nantes to Brest canal you will have the opportunity to make magnificent stops in the heart of the cities and towns along the canal. Here is our selection of must-see stopovers: 

  • Josselin, the medieval town: it is an essential stop during your cruise and is also the most photographed place of the whole Nantes to Brest canal, especially for the castle built at the end of the fifteenth century. Considered one of the most beautiful castles in Brittany, Château de Josselin has belonged to the De Rohan family for over 1,000 years. If you are passionate about history, architecture or simply you would like to discover new places, we recommend you to visit this castle with its medieval and Renaissance architecture. What makes this stop so fascinating is also the mooring pier near the castle, which allows you to reach the historic centre in a few minutes by walk. It is in the old town that you can discover the medieval charm of the city: narrow cobbled streets, the famous "maisons à pans de bois" or half-timbered houses and craft shops. Josselin will also fascinate you if you prefer to spend your free time in nature. You can also take a bucolic walk in the "bois d'amour", the wood of love along the river.

  • Malestroit, the typical Breton town: a typical stop during your stay onNantes to Brest canal by boat. Known as "the pearl of the Oust", Malestroit is a typical Breton town with half-timbered houses and a special atmosphere. You can visit the Church of San Gilles and discover its mysteries. Get lost in the cobbled alleys between the half-timbered houses and wherever you are in the medieval centre you will always find Nantes to Brest canal.

  • La Gacilly, cradle of Yves Rocher: this charming village is a must see! The village is best known for its famous cosmetics brand Yves Rocher. In fact, the internationally successful family business was founded in this country in 1930. You can also visit Maison Yves Rocher with its special museum and the Botanical Garden where you can find more than a thousand species of plants: a true ode to nature! The village has also been known as the "village of craftsmen" for more than 35 years.

  • Ile aux Pies, the pearl of the Nantes to Brest canal: in the heart of Brittany you can admire the cliffs that make this landscape unique. For the more sporty, it is one of the most famous climbing sites in Brittany. During your stay in this particular environment, you can spend some time on the terraces and in the creperies. 

castle josselin nantes to brest canal

Don't wait any longer and discover Brittany and Nantes to Brest canal by boat for a weekend, a few days or a week. Among castles, medieval villages, cider and Breton sweets, your holiday will be unforgettable. Set sail for a river cruise full of magic, mystery and history

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