The Museum of Electricity at Mur de Bretagne
A gentle cycle to yet more of Brittany's industial heritage
Perhaps the heart of rural Brittany might at first seem to be an odd place to locate an electricity museum, but in fact nothing could be more appropriate – because the museum is placed at the foot of the oldest Hydro-electricity plant in Brittany, and all just over an hour's ride from our holiday base at Gouarec.
The Lac de Guerledan is the largest lake in Brittany and was made by building a dam across the valley containing the Nantes-brest canal – thus cutting it in two. The dam served two functions – as a reservoir of fresh water for the area, primarily the town of Pontivy, and as a major hydro-electricity produces for the port of Brest. Built in the last 1920's it still carries on both these roles.
At the foot of the dam is the generating station and turbine hall of the original generating station, and these also form, along with other buildings, the body of the museum. It's a bit of a crazy place with rows of 'steam-punk' dials and 30's vacuum cleaners among huge turbines and piping. It's all beautifully done and though not something that you'd spend a day at, it makes a lovely hour's stop at the midpoint of a cycle around the lake for example. The Museum also organises guided tours that not only include the museum itself but also the dam and it's functioning and which last a couple of hours – details on their website. Below is a short video of the museum to give you an idea of at least some of the contents.
The museum is just 20 kms from our base and you pass close to it on several of our cycling holidays such as the Two Chateaux and the Blavet cycle tour which goes to Pontivy and Josselin. For those doing a fixed centre holiday at Gouarec it's a lovely ride, starting off at Gouarec and following first the canal towpath and then the V6 cyclepath to Mur-de-Bretagne – then a swoop down to the base of the dam. Of course there is a 'swoop' up afterwards but it's only for a km.