Thoughts on Cycling in Brittany

One question people always ask me about my cycling trips is, would I go back.  I’d definitely go back to Brittany.  While I’d been there several times before, this was my first cycling trip there.  There’s a huge difference!  We were blessed with extraordinary weather for the end of September–clear sunny days in the mid-80’s and cool nights.  Brittany has great recreational cycling itineraries and the canals along the Rance River are some of the best.

The Rance River Valley is beautiful, the greenway along the canal make it the perfect for cycling for people of all ages, even families. The region is steeped in history, .  As we find throughout the countryside of France, the people are friendly and warm, especially to bicyclists.  I love the fact that it always seems to catch the French off guard to find two middle aged Americans touring through the countryside on their own.  Brittany was no exception in this regard.

The food in Brittany is spectacular, reason in and of itself to go back.  Fresh seafood was a feature of every menu in every town, every night.  Even the most modest restaurant had a seafood entree of the day.  And where should I start with galettes and crepes?  I actually had a day where I had them for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

If I did go back to Brittany, here are the things I would do:

1.  Spend no less than two nights in Dinan at La Maison Pavie

2.  Spend two days exploring the Velo Promenades en Cote d’Emeraude, the veloroutes and voie verte in and around the coastline of Dinard and eat great seafood all along the way.

Map of Velo Promenades

3.  Bicycle along the route from Saint Malo to Mont Saint-Michel, via Cancale, the oyster capital of Brittany.

4.  Spend several days cycling the many circuits around Mont Saint-Michel

5.  Eat more crepes.

But that will all have to wait for another trip.  But before I close the chapter on bicycling in Brittany, here are some of the best resources if you are interested in researching and planning a trip to Brittany:

Regional Tourist Office of Brittany

Cotes d’Armor Tourism

Office of Tourism of Rennes

Office of Tourism for Upper Brittany

Canaux De Bretagne, Tourism information on the Brittany Canals (French only)

Brittany Borders Bicycling (Rentals and self-guided tours)

Office of Tourism of Dinan

Office of Tourism of Dinard

Office of Tourism of Saint-Malo

If you’re interested in bicycling along the Ille et Rance Canal, you should request the publication, “Canal Manche Ocean” from the Regional Tourism Office of Brittany.  You can write them at tourism-crtb@tourismebretagne.com.  The pages from the publication are accessible online, but the maps are difficult to read.

Posted by Maggie LaCoste

I love the adventure and unpredictability of experiencing France by bike. Cycling in France is the ultimate slow travel adventure, an opportunity to see it through the back door in a way few tourists experience. One week on a bike in France and life takes on a different meaning! I created Experience France By Bike to inspire recreational cyclists to visit France the slow way....by bike, and to be the best source of information for planning the perfect bicycling adventure. I encourage readers to embrace the uncertainty of the road ahead and to take the path less traveled, exploring roads, towns and villages that you would never experience traveling by car.

  1. I have heard wonderful things about Brittany and in particular St. Malo and Dinan. Mont St Michel is always wonderful and deserves another trip.

    1. Hi Debbie!

      Sorry for the delayed note in responding to you! The bike routes around Dinan-Dinard-St. Malo are really great, and the ride on to Mont St Michel is supposed to be the same. The people are friendly, the food spectacular and the towns and villages are just like the picture books! Perhaps you should think about planning a trip next year?! Thanks so much for reading my blog. Many changes in the works for next year, so I hope that you will continue to visit my blog!

  2. If you’re writing about Bretagne, then please don’t forget to mention the Nantes-Brest Canal! There is over 300 kms of rideable chemin a haulage (tow path) along this waterway that takes the rider throught the heart of Bretagne.

    Along with the many other Voies Vertes that have sprung up over the last few years, it is now possible to almost circumnavigate France on Voies Vertes or back roads keeping well away from traffic.

    Reading your blog makes me want to throw my computer out of the window, leave the office, pack my bike and fly back to France again from down here in Australia!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment on the Nantes-Brest canal! As I mentioned, this area of Brittany is bursting with car-free bike paths, and I was so sad to not have more time to explore more of them. I definitely will spend some time in a future post talking about the Nantes-Brest route, as well as others like the new Paris to Mont St Michel route. There are so many new routes in France that I never have time to bicycle anywhere else! Most of all, I loved your comment about throwing your computer out the window and leaving to bike in France!!! Actually this is about the only time of year when I am content to just research upcoming trips, as the weather is not very friendly now for biking! Thanks for reading my blog, and stay tuned for many new things in 2012!

      Maggie LaCoste