Heart of Brittany - Chambre D'hotes route
Cycling holiday through the unspoilt heartland of Brittany - average 30 kms max 50 kms and moderate difficulty - well graded hills. 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 cyclepaths, the canal towpath and mostly tiny country lanes you really will be 'lost in France';-)
And what more appropriate route could we have chosen to debut our Chambre D'Hote based holidays because you get to meet the people that live in the area as well.
Apart from the beautiful and varied countryside you'll see Chateaux, Abbeys, Megalithic standing stones,, markets, market towns, many small villages 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 Caurel – 12 kms
Your first afternoon is short, and easy as it's almost all on the canal towpath and the V6 cyclepath (the route of the old narrow-gauge railway). After 4 kms you pass the ruined abbey at Bon Repos, as well as the abbey there are a couple of bars and restaurants. Then a few hundred metres of road and you join the V6 cyclepath. At this point you can walk up to the covered tombs at 'Liscuis' – 4000 years old and set at the top of the ridge – well worth the effort.
Then to the Chambre D'Hote at Caurel. This overlooks the Lac de Guerledan (which is 1 km away) and used to be a small hotel. Now converted to a Chambre D'Hote it's in reality a tiny bar/restaurant/creperie - family owned and welcoming.
Day 2 – Caurel to Cleguerec – 27 kms
A short day, but a lot to see and do so it'll take all day. The first bit looks a little odd as you retrace your steps to Bon Repos, but the reason is that Bon Repos has a Sunday morning market that is a great spot to buy a picnic – and the ride there is all down-hill and fast. Alternatively you can loop North to go around the Lake and through Mur de Bretagne – your choice.
Climbing up from Bon Repos you soon pass the Chateau and museum at 'Forges des Salles' an ancient ironworks now restored and open to the public.
A little bit of track riding along the valley and then to the small market town of St Caradec and thence to your Chambre D'Hote in the middle of nowhere;-) Set on a large farm this place is well placed for you to have a stroll in the evening, and after dinner you'll probably need to...
Day 3 - Cleguerec to St Caradec – 31 kms
Today is going to be busy so you need to start early;-) The route takes you down the canal towpath all the way to the large Napoleonic town of Pontivy with it's lovely centre and massive, hulking chateau. You'll need a fair time to explore and probably pick up lunch before returning to the towpath and then tiny lanes to take you to St Caradec. Another farm – this place often hosts music events and the owner makes the finest sausages I've ever tasted!
Day 4 – St Caradec to Quintin – 35 kms
Today a ride through beautiful countryside to the walled and historic town of Quintin and a quite extraordinary Chambre D'Hote – hard to describe but there is a real feel of Louis XIV Chateaux about the interior and a Redwood in the garden (go and touch it – you'll be surprised;-). 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 – Quintin to Trebrivan – 50 kms.
The longest day at 30 miles and with a fairly hilly start. But... At midday you pass Tremargat with it's amazing little restaurant 'Coriandre'. This is my favourite restaurant in Brittany – for 14 Euro you get a wide choice of both help-yourself starters and desserts with delicious main course – wine and coffee included. The saving grace being that you are at the highest point of the ride and much of the afternoon is easy. By now you will have the appetite to benefit from this most special of places.
And of course you'll be hungry in the evening which is just as well;-) Though long there isn't a great deal to stop for beyond just the lovely countryside so those kms will quickly roll by.
Day 6 – Trebrivan to Spezet (Manoir de Toullaeron) - 32 kms
Not a long day but again a short ride into a fairly large and interesting town in Carhaix. After exploring there it's down to the canal towpath which will take you most of the way to Spezet and then a long, gentle climb to the Manoir – wood panels, amazing fireplaces and of course dinner;-)
Day 7 – Spezet to Mellionnec – 40 kms
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). 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;-)
Day 8 – Mellionnec to Gouarec – 10 kms
An easy morning's ride to bring you back to base - much of it on the canal towpath.