Walking and Cycling in Brittany
All around our gites there are paths to explore- ideal for both walkers and cyclists. Brittany is one of the most tranquil and scenic places to take a trip off the beaten track and meander along woodland trails and canal towpaths. Not only can you follow all of the signposted circuits but you are also allowed to walk or cycle anywhere in the countryside as long as you respect the crops and the odd very rare private property sign. We have people who come back and stay with us every year and go on completely different walks each time. The choice is virtually limitless
How do we help ?
If you plan on walking in Brittany then visit one of our our gites and we'll make sure that our special walkers/ cyclists pack is waiting in the cottage ready for your arrival. Just ask when you book
So that you don't have to waste your valuable holiday time researching the different walks and cycle routes we have done it for you. All of the information contained in our guides is described below -no's 1-5
1. Map Cards
Individual portfolio of map cards with circuits/ routes marked out There is an individual collection of map cards, each describing a different route. Each card has its own map (to scale). On the back of the card there is a description of the places of interest you will see along the way: e.g chapels, canals, villages, restaurants etc Also shown is whether the path is suitable for walkers and/ or cyclists, how long it is, if it's easy or difficult and how many hours it will take to walk. The card also tells you what type of path it is so you know whether it's a rural or a town circuit. Car parks are clearly marked. Each route is a circle so you end up back at the car. They are perfect both for those just wanting a gentle stroll right through to the more dedicated ramblers/ cyclists
Here's a sample of just two of the map cards. They are all laid out the same way
I.. Windmills and Manor Houses card 11.5km, 2 hours 45 mins. Gentle. Scenic. Goes via several mills and chapels and country houses
II. Circuit Botanical card 7km, 2 hours. Gentle but some hills. These paths run through the woods and include informative signs explaining the forty different species of trees along the way. Below is what a card actually looks like -front and back
2. Canal Route Guide
We supply a booklet covering river and canal routes. There are forty five different choices offered with the option of seven different rivers or canals. The guide shows the route plus information of what there is to see, where to park the car and where to stop for lunch. There's some great towpaths to go along especially beside the Nantes-Brest Brittany canal The shots below are at St Congard and Malestroit -less than 15 mins from the gites
The Ile aux Pies, just past La Gacilly is a beautiful spot by the river and a great place for rambling. If you like walking you get the best of all worlds; take a leisurely stroll along the river bank, hike up the steep cliff paths and then wander through the sunny forests at the top. The smell of fresh pines in summer is really strong
3. Family Walks Booklet
In here you will find twenty odd walks specially selected for families. They should be suitable for everyone from children to grandparents and range in length from one and a half to over three hours in total
4. Special Walks
If you really fancy walking or cycling around a lake, or along an old -but now tarmaced- railway line then take a look at some of these specialised walks. You can even opt for the stunning 'Hydrangea Walk' if flowers are your thing
5. Detailed local map
This Brittany Series Bleue Map (No 1020E) is the most detailed map you can get hold of. It shows all the local tracks and paths on it You are free to wander or cycle virtually anywhere you see a track
Take a tour of the huge Lac au Duc - a 16km / four hour stroll around a beautiful lake. Why not go to Montertelot and try the famous Canal Rocks walk ?
If you fancy something really closeby at Reminiac try the 'Necklace of Reminiac' route which runs for 11km through the forest. You can see lots of hand carved wooden sculptures along the way and also pop into the restaurant for lunch as you go. You can walk to the route from the gite's front door
Another really nice lake walk albeit a shorter one at less than an hour is at Carrentoir. Here you can stroll along the paths, go over bridges onto an island, have a picnic on one of the benches whilst admiring the great views or if you prefer pop into the Pre Gallo, the lakeside auberge. The restaurant boasts great value traditional Brittany cuisine and has nice views right across the lake- a lovely place to eat outside in the summer sun
Carrentoir is also the starting point for two longer walks and you can set off by bike or foot along the marked paths for miles. Alternatively try the 'Walk of the Dukes' around the ancient town of Plöermel
La Voie Verte
The 'Green Lane' is an old railway line that has now been tarmaced over. It is absolutely perfect for cycling, walking or even roller skating and is a great way to discover the area. The route is about forty miles long, almost flat and winds its way through spectacular countryside. The track is split into manageable portions between the main towns and villages. There's a map available showing you where you can get food and drinks along the way at auberges or creperies. Take a picnic or just stop off to see the sights. It's a great way to see the Brittany countryside
L'Ile aux Moines
This island In the Golfe Du Morbihan is a great place for walkers and cyclists alike. Nip down to Port Blanc near Vannes, catch the half hourly boat out to this beautiful island and then either hire a bike -right at the quayside- or go walking. The whole island is really attractive and you can either wander around the town or spread out and take it all in. There are plenty of restaurants for lunch as well with a lot of freshly caught seafood on offer
At Damgan there's a long flat, smooth promenade right along the seafront which stretches for several kilometres with plenty of benches along the way. It's fair to say that on a sunny day it's stunning
The Fairy Walk
In Monteneuf you will find a very odd walk. It`s not signposted and not at all obvious but starts behind the lake............ It`s a tiny little path through the forest and all along the way `the fairies` (as our children thought) have made all sorts of odd creations from the forests materials. There are tiny houses made of sticks, twigs and moss, bigger versions of haphazardly piled up slate, fir cones mysteriously hanging across the path tied to invisible string. There are odd shapes suspended between the trees, campfires/ meeting places and even at one point a `games` spot where you throw fir cones through hoops and into woven baskets
The whole walk is very bizarre and you could almost believe that fairies have really been at work..........perhaps they have. Click on the triangular arrow in the centre of the picture below to see for yourself
Go to Sarzeau and stroll along the spectacular cliff tops and discover the dozens of totally secluded hidden sandy bays - great for a picnic
The cliff walk at Batz-sur-Mer is stunning. Batz itself is a really nice small town further down the coast from La Baule. The town square is traditional in every way, packed with flowers and cafes with tables and chairs filling the restaurants. Not only that but there's the miles of walks along the coastline which are quite breathtaking
The Pointe du Raz is the most western point in Brittany (and in fact France). Next stop is America and the cliffs there really do take your breath away...
It's so simple to hire a bike through 'Ouibike'. There's a big choice of all types. Simply follow this link and type in the local town as Guer.
On their site you can choose the kind of bike you want it, pre-order it online and decide if you want it delivered to you at the house on the date of your choice or opt to collect it from their depot in Roc St Andre (about 20 minutes away). I have tried some sample quotes to give you an idea of price. I went for a 'normal bike' for a week at the end of July and got the daily rate for the delivered (and collected) and the 'pick up from them' prices. To collect two bikes and hire them for a week worked out at €9.40 per day per bike. If you go for the deliver and collect option the price works out at €16 per day per bike. The longer you rent the cheaper it gets
You can also hire bikes at the beach at Damgan then cycle up the promenade to the next village -Penerf. It's well worth the effort as it's a lovely ride and there's a really spectacular bay to see once you're there. If fancy lunch after all that exercise then try the Pecher or Bistro de la Mer, you can't miss them
As you can no doubt guess this is a place for cyclists. Near Pontivy it's a hundred acre park set in the heart of the forest. There's a bike museum, loads of cycle routes to follow, a shop and even a rather fine bar
Track and Paths....
All around the gites themselves the countryside is great for walking and cycling. Just step outside the door and start exploring....
If you are keen on birds then Brittany is a great place to visit. We've compiled a short list below of some of the more common birds that you can see:
Chaffinch, Robin, Green Finch, Rook, Eurasian Jay, Short Toed Treecreeper, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Blackcap, Redwing, Mistle Thrush, Rock Pipit, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker, Yellow Hammer, Hawk, Osprey, Nuthatch, Firecrest, Woodlark, Little Egret, White Wagtail, Serin, Garden Warbler, Sparrow, House Martin, Starling, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Swallow, Hoopoe, Green Heron, Grey Wagtail, Collar Dove, Song Thrush, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Great Tit, Tern, Turtle Dove, Goldfinch, Cuckoo, Kestrel, Stonechat, Cirl Buntin, Blue Tit, Wood Pigeon, Jay, French Partridge, Dunnock, Long Tail Tit, Kingfisher, European Shag, Pheasant, Hen Harrier
This list is by no means exhaustive but just covers some of the birds that our guests have told me that they have seen here
Worth a special visit is Brittanys huge Golfe du Morbihan about half an hour away. This is a designated nature reserve and there are special bird watching hides set up on the southern side of the bay that you can visit. Just wander around all day from hide to hide