Heart of Brittany - Chambre D'hotes and Hotels route
Cycling holiday through the unspoilt heartland of Brittany - average 35 kms max 52 kms and moderate difficulty - well graded hills but some quite long. Also available as a camping tour
Of all our routes this is the one that will let you explore the central Heart of Brittany, the very part that won us over all those years ago. Very rural and almost untouched by tourism, this route will be almost as quiet in August as it is in September. Using some of the canal towpath but mostly tiny country lanes you really will be 'lost in France' ;-)
This route also has some amazing Chambre d'Hote (B&B) as well as hotels we've used for 20+ years.
Apart from the beautiful and varied countryside you'll see Megalithic standing stones,, markets, market towns, many small villages, bustling Breton towns, a beautiful old port and much more. A real treat for those looking to get away from it all and at the same time take in some local culture.
Day 1 – Gouarec to Mellionnec – 12 kms
Your first afternoon is short meaning no stress for arrival and easy as it's almost all on the canal towpath to one of our favourite Chambre d'Hotes. The Chambre D'Hote at Mellionnec is interesting as it's run by a couple who are old family friends. In semi-retirement from running the hotel in the Cantal – a very special dinner awaits along with the warmest of welcomes (and their pet donkeys).
Day 2 – Mellionnec to Huelgoat – 52 kms
A bit of a rude aawakening as this is your longest day, but the good news is that it's not only a lovely ride taking you into the edge of the Monts d'Arree national park. The morning is mostly up and the afternoon mostly down which is as we like it! You can ride most of this on the VO1 cyclepath which means a traffic free ride, but personally I prefer the better surface of the road as the traffic is minimal. The ride into Huelgoat follows the valley floor and it's one of my favourite stops. The hotel is set by the lake and the little town great to walk round. The famous 'Chaos de Huelgoat' is right by - here you walk the valley floor between massive boulders - hard to describe but not to be missed as a walk after dinner.
Day 3 - Huelgoat to Belle-Isle-en-Terre – 42 kms
Today is really a 'lost in French' moment as you meander down tiny lanes. It's not a long day because it's the hilliest of the well but it's well worth it for the downhills and views. The payback is the little hotel set in the Village. "Oh my God! The meal at Belle-Isle" to quote one of last years' customers... The village is set between two villages and again makes a lovely place to explore and walk off the effects of dinner...
Day 4 – Belle-Isle to Chatelaudren – 40 kms
Today a ride through beautiful countryside to the historic town of Quintin and a quite extraordinary Chambre D'Hote – in an old school you are allocated a classroom from the 1950's... Superb. This is the one Chambre D'Hote that doesn't provide an evening meal, but as you are a sort distance from the centre of the town you have plenty of choice.
Day 5 – Chatelaudren - Binic and back or a day off - 30kms.
Binic is just the most lovely little tourist trap of a fishing village. Our favourite stop on the coast with a huge beach and the most interesting rock-pools I've ever come accross. Only here can you sit on a rock, break oysters from it and eat them -just take a lemon and a bottle of Muscadet... The ride to Binic is easy and mostly downhill and will take about an hour so you have most of the day there. Allow 90 minutes for the rather harder return but it makes a lovely day ride.
Day 6 – Chatelaudren to St Caradec - 52 kms.
After a lazy day back in the saddle for a full day's ride, again just exploring the countryside. The character here is far more 'rural' than the more rugged countryside of the Huelgoat ride so quite different and tonight you stay at a farm where everything you eat comes from their own production.
Day 7 – St Caradec - Guemene-sur-scorff – 38 kms
A more gentle ride today and much of the morning following the VO6 cyclepath along the bed of the old narrow gauge railway into Mur-de-Bretagne then down to the canal and along the valley. The ride is just a wander through some lovely countryside – the odd little village, isolated celtic cross, 800 year-old church and so-on – doesn't sound much in a brochure, but cyclists will understand;-) Guemene is the home of the Andouille sausage and hold a huge festival each year where a 5m long fibreglass sausage is paraded through the streets - only in Brittany... But beyond that it's a lovely ancient village with many 500+ year-old buildings, the remains of the village wall and a simply lovely B&B
Day 8 – Guemene to Gouarec – 20 kms
An easy morning's ride along the valley floor of the Blavet - one of my favourite rides. It's only a couple of hour's ride at most so pleanty of time to leave on your last day.