Boating Holidays Masthead
Boating Holidays Masthead

Brittany Boating Holidays

Brittany is a magical land, alive with folklore, festivals and tradition. Ancient megaliths and stones reflect its Celtic past, with medieval towns, colourful ports and fairytale castles a reminder of its fascinating history. Every year local festivals can be seen, celebrated in traditional costume with dancing to Celtic music.

With long hours of sunshine Brittany is an excellent cruising region to explore. Its network of canals meander through a landscape of woodland and pastures.

Brittany Area Map

Regional dishes abound – seafood platters, oysters, local ciderand the famous Breton crepes. Leisure facilities, watersports and fishing are easy to find.

Enjoy a cruise on Brittany’s gentle waterways from our five boat bases.

Brittany - land of legends and contrasts

Joining the Canal d’Ille et Rance descend Hede’s spectacular staircase of locks to reach the ancient port of Dinan, its medieval streets high on the cliffs overlooking the port. From our new 2017 penichette base at Melesse south of Dinan follow the River Vilaine to Rennes, the capital of Brittany with timber framed house and cobbled streets.

South from Messac, home to a cruiser boat base the River Vilaine reaches Redon, the ‘little Venice’ of Brittany, where many routes meet. Don’t miss St Saveur Abbey. Going north west take the River Aff to the floral town of La Gacilly, home to the famous Yves Rocher botanical gardens. Take the Canal de Nantes et Brest from our penichette base at Saint-Martin-sur-Oust along a beautiful waterway through forests and reed beds to picturesque Malestroit, and then on to the imposing waterside turreted castle of Josselin.

From Redon it is a short distance south under the iron bridge of Port de Roche and its Napoleonic seals to the pretty port of La Roche Bernard.

Explore its narrow winding streets and perhaps try local oysters at a seafood restaurant.

South east from Redon, the Canal de Nantes et Brest crosses the viaduct at Corbinieres. Cruise the forest of Gavre to Blain and its famous chateau before reaching the River Erdre. According to a Breton legend, 100 castles were built along its banks.

Our cruiser boat base at Nort-sur-Erdre is an alternative starting point for your Brittany boating holiday.

You can also follow the River Erdre to the historic cathedral city of Nantes, the medieval seat of the Dukes of Brittany.

A boating holiday in Brittany offers you Celtic charm and fairytale castles in beautiful countryside.


Area Highlights

Highlights of the Brittany Region

  • Medieval town of Josselin with its timber houses and 12th century Château
  • La Gacilly, known for its Yves perfume factory and botanical gardens
  • Redon- the little Venice of Brittany
  • Delightful 18th and 19th century castle on the River Erde
  • St-Pierre-St-Paul Cathedral
  • The capital of Brittany - Rennes, home to 18th century manor houses and parliament buildings
  • Explore Dinan and its medieval streets set in the cliffs
  • Breton specialities such as crêpes and oysters
Nantes

Useful Information:

  • Locks in Brittany are mostly automatic with a lock keeper. Locks are open on public holidays.
  • Cruising on the River Loire, south of Nates is not allowed.

Suggested cruises from our bases in Brittany

Brittany Boating Map

View Routes from:

Boat holidays from Dinan

Dinan is widely acknowledged as one of the most picturesque towns in Brittany. The old town is a maze of narrow cobblestone streets and old medieval timbered buildings.


One Way Routes

Dinan - Messac

One Way • 1 Week • 127km • 57 Locks • 30hrs

Visit La Roche-Bernard and savour fresh Breton oysters. Visit stunning Redon and enjoy watersports at Glenrouet.

Dinan
Dinan - Old Port Area

Boat holidays from Messac

Messac is home to a few interesting local churches and has lovely country tracks, perfect for taking a walk and discovering the natural beauty of the region. Today, this pretty town is classified as a ‘green tourist station’ thanks to its excellent tourist and sporting facilities.


One Way Routes

Messac - Dinan (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 127km • 57 Locks • 30hrs

The Ille-et-Rance canal links Vilaine to Rennes, the capital of Brittany, with its traditional boutiques and quaint old town. Visit Thabor Park, one of the most beautiful gardens in France and visit the Boel mill at Pont-Rean.

Visit Combourg, an old town with an imposing 11th century fortress. Enjoy climbing the Hede flight of locks before arriving at charming Dinan, a fortified medieval town high on the cliffs above the harbour.

Messac - Nort sur Erdre (or vice versa)

One Way • 1 Week • 202km • 20 Locks • 31hrs

Nicknamed 'Little Venice' because of its many scenic waterways, the town of Redon has lively Monday markets and the beautiful St Sauveur Abbey.

Stop for a picnic in the forest of Gavre and visit the cider factory at Glenrouet before arriving at Nor-sur-Erdre, reknowned as one of the most beautiful towns in France.

Out and Back Routes

Messac - Josselin - Messac

Return Trip • 1 Week • 208km • 36 Locks • 36hrs

Cruise through contrasting scenery of dense forest and flat reedy plains on this scenic cruise. Visit La Gacilly, a craft centre on the Aff river, and headquarters of famous perfume maker Yves Rocher.

Discover the town's ancient streets of Malestroit and admire as the high walls of the chateau at Josselin appear.

Messac - Nantes - Messac

Return Trip • 1 Week • 280km • 36 Locks • 42hrs

Enjoy the scenic Celtic beauty of Brittany’s waterways on this cruise past castles and abbeys, with small villages and open meadows providing a picturesque backdrop. Visit the Chateau at Blain and enjoy Nantes with its magnificent gothic cathedral.

Messac - Redon - La Gacilly - Messac

Short Break Return Trip • 3 Days • 120km • 6 Locks • 16hrs

Cruise from Messac to picturesque Redon, and La Gacilly on the river Aff, home of the Yves Rocher botanical gardens.

River Oust
Josselin

Boat holidays from Nort-sur-Erdre

Nort-sur-erdre is a peaceful and charming city. Here, you will enjoy a welcoming marina, a very scenic place to stay. You can also survey the distinct architecture of the castle of Port-Mulon, built in the 18th century.


One Way Routes

Nort sur Erdre - Messac

One Way • 1 Week • 202km • 20 Locks • 31hrs

Explore Rennes, the capital of Brittany with its cobbled streets and imposing architecture. Next turn south to see the medieval towns and castles on the Canal de Nantes à Brest, a fabulous trip through rural lands. Explore Redon, the Little Venice of Brittany, and take a trio to charming Josselin with its turreted castle.

Out and Back Routes

Nort sur Erdre - La Gacilly - Nort sur Erdre

Return Trip • 1 Week • 200km • 34 Locks • 38hrs

Visit Glenrouet for watersports and stop at the cider factory. Explore the magnificent Chateau at Blain and spend some time in lively Redon, before cruising on to La Gacilly, headquarters of perfume maker Yves Rocher.

Nort sur Erdre - La Roche Bernard - Nort sur Erdre

Return Trip • 1 Week • 240km • 32 Locks • 44hrs

Visit La Roche-Bernard and savour fresh Breton oysters. Visit stunning Redon and enjoy watersports at Glenrouet.

Nort-sur-Erdre - Nantes - Blain - Nort-sur-Erdre

Short Break Return Trip • 3 - 4 Days • 100km • 20 Locks • 17hrs

Combine the city charm of bustling Nantes with the laid-back ambiance of small villages on the River Erdre and the Canal de Nantes à Brest.

A charming Brittany town to see during your boating holiday in France
Take a Cruiser boat along the Rance River

Boat Holidays from St Martin sur Oust

Picturesque St Martin sur Oust on the Nantes-Brest Canal is the gateway to Brittany.

To the west of Saint-Martin-sur-Oust, the Nantes Brest Canal becomes one of the most beautiful navigable waterways. After Malestroit with its half-timbered houses, mossy pathways, see villages of granite and slate before reaching the walls and daunting keeps of Josselin Castle, the classic medieval fortress.

Alternatively travel south east for a highly recommended detour on the little river Aff to the lovely village of La Gacilly, with its flower-filled alleys and magnificent botanical garden. Continuing on the Nantes-Brest Canal, you reach Redon with its Saint Saviour abbey, a real waterways crossroads and the land of the magical Merlin!


One Way Routes

St-Martin-sur-Oust - Messac - Rennes - Melesse

Return Trip • 1 Week • 140km • 27 Locks • 4 hr 00 / day

Out and Back Routes

St Martin sur Oust - La Gacilly - Malestroit - Josselin

Return Trip • 1 Week • 122km • 28 Locks • 3 hr 30 / day

St Martin sur Oust - Redon - Messac - Pont Réan

Return Trip • 1 Week • 184km • 20 Locks • 4 hr 30 / day

St Martin sur Oust - Blain - Nort-sur-Erdre - Sucé - Nantes

Return Trip • 10 / 11 Days • 232km • 38 Locks • 3 hr 30 / day

St Martin sur Oust - La Gacilly - Malestroit - Josselin - Rohan

Return Trip • 10 / 11 Days • 170km • 60 Locks • 3 hr 45 / day

St Martin sur Oust - La Gacilly - Malestroit - Josselin - Pontivy

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 222km • 172 Locks • 5 hr / day

St Martin sur Oust - Redon - Messac - Rennes - Tinteniac

Return Trip • 2 Weeks • 318km • 92 Locks • 4 hr 45 / day

St Martin sur Oust - Messac - Rennes - Dinan - La Gacilly - Malestroit - Josselin

Return Trip • 3 Weeks • 480km • 146 Locks • 4 hr 30 / day

Castle at Josselin
Penichette in Brittany

Boat Holidays from Melesse

From our new Melesse base cruise along the River Vilaine. Stop in Rennes to explore its Parliament, cathedral and half-timbered houses. Heading southwards, the bridge at Pont Réan, with its nine arches, offers a superb viewpoint over the river. As you approach Messac, do not miss the water-mills and windmills of the Breton moorlands or the numerous châteaux and castles in the area.


One Way Routes

Melesse - Rennes - Messac - St-Martin-sur-Oust

Return Trip • 1 Week • 140km • 27 Locks • 4 hr 00 / day

Castle at Josselin
Penichette in Brittany

Please note that hours suggested above are approximate

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