Cycling Holidays in Brittany
Everyone knows that France is a paradise for cycling - but far fewer know that of all its regions Brittany is probably the best of all for a cycling holiday. The countryside is small-scale, the roads incredibly quiet and drivers careful (cycling is Brittany's 'national' sport). In a week you can explore the beautiful unspoilt countryside of the centre and reach some of the most spectacular coastline in Europe. You get chateaux, forests, lakes, bustling market towns, sleepy villages and some of the best and freshest food in France. What else can a cyclist ask for...
But... All this is travel brochure stuff, "see the magnificent Chateau at Josselin, marvel at the dramatic Pink-Granite coast etc", but the secret of Brittany is that it is cyclist sized. The countryside is intimate, it wraps around you like a cloak, drawing you into its folds. Here tiny villages, unlike so much of rural France, still manage to support a bar, or a baker and often a little lunchtime restaurant. Even in the darkest depths of the interior you will pass a watering hole every few kilometres where the locals will shake your hand and smile at your loaded bike. Larger villages often have a tiny hotel, perhaps with half a dozen rooms, or a campsite by a lake maintained by the commune to attract passing visitors. And yet this heartland of Brittany is ignored by almost every tourist. Yes go to the south coast in August and it'll be busy (in a nice way...), but 5 kms from that coast you wouldn't be able to tell the difference between April and August.
No-where in France offers more for a cycle tour than Brittany and Gouarec is at its heart. Within 1 km of our base pass the cyclepaths of the Nantes-Brest canal, the Velodyssey(continuing down the French coast), Eurovelo EV1 (which joins the Eurovelo EV6) and the V6 cycle route. Using these and quiet lanes our routes take you to such iconic sites as Carnac, the Vallee des Saints, the Pink-Granite coast, the Chateaux of Pontivy and Josselin, the coast at Morlaix or Concarneau - all on a unique network for a cycling holiday.
A thread of gold perfect for cycling holidays through the Heart of Brittany.
France is blessed with a wonderful network of canals and 'praise be' most of then have had their tow-paths converted into cycle-paths making wonderful, safe and child friendly places for a cycling holiday. But let there be no mistake – without question the Nantes-Brest canal is the most beautiful and varied of them all. A feat of engineering well beyond other canals – 385 km long, and a rise of 555m using 238 locks - those figures alone give you an idea what makes it special. To put it into perspective the more famous Canal du Midi is a mere 240 kms with a 189m rise and only 60 locks.
Why Brittany before other areas in France?
We've cycletoured over just about every part of France and in the end I've come to the conclusion that Brittany is the best place for a cycling holiday - there - biased, but honest and where we are based - the village of Gouarec - is perfectly placed to access it all. As France is probably the best country in the world for cycletouring there's a lot of competition, and several areas of France: Dordogne, Loire, Provence etc would seem to have a better claim. So briefly what is it that makes Brittany so special?
The Village of Gouarec - home of Breton Bikes Cycling Holidays
Since we first started Breton Bikes in 1989, this village has been the starting point for all our French cycling tours, and is just 3 kms from our home. It's also where you'll find our gite and fixed centre camping tours and from 2016 we run the campsite ourselves for Breton Bikes customers and every other visitor to the campsite. Both Fixed centre options offer the wide range of cycling routes some described here. Because it sits both on the V6 cycle-path and the towpath of the Nantes-Brest canal, and has every facility (shops, baker, banks, restaurants etc) you might need - a perfect little French village, Gouarec is uniquely well-placed for such a venture as you'll see as you read on...