Your Brittany cruise takes you into a land of Celtic traditions, in a waterways region that’s famous for art and historic monuments, as well as the peaceful natural surroundings you’ll pass through on your canal boat: a magical journey on a Pénichette®.
In Brittany, cruise down rivers and canals that interconnect.
When you hear the word Brittany, it conjures up all sorts of images: the bigouden headdress, the mysterious Brocéliande forest, sailing boats on the horizon, beaches that stretch for miles, picturesque villages, important artistic monuments… and magnificent canals. A cruise on the canals of Brittany in a self-drive boat is a wonderful experience, from the Blavet Canal to the Nantes-Brest Canal or, further north, the Ille and Rance Canal than links with the River Vilaine.
This is a region which is steeped in myths and mystery, as you’ll discover along the way. Your cruise will take you into the heart of Brittany, where legends and traditions are preserved in the many villages, such as La Gacilly with its traditional craftsmen. You’ll also see historic buildings that look like fairytale castles. You’ll get a different view of this heritage from your Pénichette®. For example there’s the imposing Josselin Castle, overlooking the waterway, or the many fortifications of the famous Dukes of Brittany. There are plenty of other sights to enjoy from your canal boat, from the famous transverse valley on the Île aux Pies (Magpie Island) to the watermills of Messac. This is a cruise made in Breizh.
One main departure base and possibility to cruise one way
The canals and rivers in Brittany interconnect, opening the way to a longer cruise… If you’ve already discovered Brittany’s ocean, you could rent a boat from one of our bases and try a cruise on the inland waterways, with no licence needed.
Discover the map of the
destination and its waterways
Must-see Breton attractions
Medieval monuments, arts and crafts, traditional half-timbered houses, gourmet cuisine with a flavour of the sea. A mixture of authentic tradition and magic: here are the top five attractions that shouldn’t be missed.
L’Ile aux Pies (Magpie Island), shaped by nature
With the largest transverse valley in the area, shaped by its river, 15 km of the island are listed as a ‘Grand Site Naturel’. Discover legends, the remains of human habitation and memories… a real treasure hunt.
Try a Breton pancake and a bowl of cider on the quay
We all know how to make pancakes, but there’s some secret to the Breton galette (buckwheat pancake) that only the Bretons know. If you wash it down with a bowl of cider, you’re enjoying Breton food and a Brittany cruise the way the locals do.
The village of La Gacilly, traditional craftsmanship
You’ll find an artistic and bohemian spirit in this village, famous for its artists and craftsmen, working in materials such as wax, clay and even flowers. You’ll also find a magnificent botanical garden that includes over a thousand varieties
The Vilaine Maritime Museum, the story of the River Vilaine
Beside the River Vilaine at La Roche-Bernard, immerse yourself in an age when the port was bustling. The museum includes costumes, artefacts and the remains of naval construction from another era. It’s the ideal way to discover the history of the river you’re following on your Brittany cruise.
Josselin Castle, a family history
Overlooking the town and the River Oust, this castle is one of the emblematic sites of Brittany, thanks to its imposing architecture, inspired by the feudal period and the Renaissance, and also because of the people who lived there: the Rohan family, one of the most important dynasties in the Duchy of Brittany.
Locaboat guides you through the waterways to discover Brittany’s treasures
After you rent a boat or Pénichette® from one of the two departure bases, the horizon grows clearer and the possible routes seem endless. You can cruise through Brittany on interconnected canals and rivers that seem like one long, peaceful waterway. Passing through the locks, you’ll see windmills, bridges and islets in the distance. Nearby are pretty villages or large towns, with typical regional architecture. Taking it all in, you know exactly why you chose this boating holiday.
Each route has its own special attractions: you can launch yourself into the green wilderness on a cruise along the Ille-Rance Canal; or plunge into historic heritage and gastronomic delights along the Nantes-Brest Canal… Or you could glide serenely on your self-drive boat from Melesse, along the River Vilaine, passing through the pretty town of Rennes. Wherever you are and whatever you choose, the waterways of Brittany are a real pleasure, a great place to recharge your batteries, and always surprising. You may feel you already know Brittany, with its beautiful coastline and beaches. Now’s the time to discover the Brittany of canals and get a different perspective on the region. All you have to do is choose where to start – and don’t forget to hoist the Breton flag once you’re aboard!
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On your boat, you creep along at a pace that gives you time to enjoy the countryside, with its lines of trees, lock keepers’ cottages and tow-path.
Melesse, Locaboat’s base, is located right in the heart of Brittany beside the Canal d'Ille et Rance.
There’s more to Brittany than pancakes, cider and lace hats! Step aboard your canal boat and explore one of the many faces of the region.