There’s more to Brittany than pancakes, cider and lace hats! Step aboard your canal barge and explore one of the many faces of the region on your self-drive boat.
Josselin, where the Renaissance meets the middle ages
Start by dropping anchor at Josselin, a town with a thousand-year history and a medieval heritage.
As you stroll through its pretty cobbled streets, stop at the magnificent Château de Josselin, considered one of the finest in Brittany. It’s still home to the illustrious Rohan family, who have kindly agreed to open the ground floor and the peaceful French-style garden to the public.
If you are suffering from any kind of illness, then the place for you is the Basilica of Miracles of Notre Dame de Roncier, where a young blind man is said to have regained his sight…
Round off your tour by visiting the delightful Sainte Croix district with its magnificent medieval half-timbered houses and small Romanesque chapel, also known as Sainte Croix.
Malestroit, A Village of Character
Now set a course for the pearl of the River Oust: the medieval village of Malestroit.
The village was founded in the 11th century and is home to some curious sculptures that bear witness to the shady past of the village. In the Place du Bouffay, the houses of the wealthy bourgeois, some granite and some half-timbered, are decorated with surprising carved figures: a fleeing sow, a hare playing the bagpipe, a pelican, and many more. See if you can find them all.
When it comes to heritage, the majestic church of Saint-Gilles is also well worth a visit.
The Tourist Office has a game-booklet for younger children, called “Enquête à Malestroit” (The Strange Case of Malestroit), so that they can investigate the village Sherlock Holmes-fashion!
The Photo Festival at La Gacilly
As you travel down the canal, why not stop off to see La Gacilly’s Photo Festival?
Its aim is to open people’s eyes to world issues as seen by international photographers. This year, France’s largest open-air festival of photography, running from 4 June to 30 September 2016, will have Japan and the oceans as its themes. Founded 12 years ago, the festival attracts more than 2.5 million visitors each year and has shown the work of over 250 photographers.
After this medieval getaway, you can set off to explore some other aspects of Brittany aboard your self-drive boat!