Josselin: Canal Nantes-Brest!

And I bring you back to my backyard, my marvelous Morbihan breton dept 56 of my beloved Bretagne. Again, been here before, but feel not told you enough about the beautiful natural setting of the Canal Nantes-Brest passing by Josselin.

The Canal de Nantes-Brest ,by 1923, the construction of the levy at Guerlédan and the railroads advancement to carry freight slow down the growth of waterways , before the canal was actually began construction in 1804, having 236 levies,  it was finally finished in 1842.  It leaves a beautiful waterway down the town nowdays nice for walks, eating, and sailing the canal. At Josselin, there is a nice promenade and river boat ride can be had in the Nantes-Brest Canal that passes by the city and just on the back of the Castle along the river Oust. The walks behind the castle are sublime and the boat rides magnificent, also plenty of canoe and kayak activities. There are different green spaces to welcome you with picnic tables and deckchairs, such as l’île de Beaufort (island), Square de Tard or the écluse du quai (lock levy on quay).


We go always by car here from Vannes is about 45 minutes via D778 and N24 by way of Saint-Jean-Brévelay. From Rennes you go via the N24 in about 60 minutes. For info, there is a bus line operated by the network Keolis Armor ,stop at Place de l’appel du 18 juin in Josselin. This is the line Pontivy-Rennes with correspondance connection at the SNCF gare de Rennes train station. More info on the bus line in French here: Keolis Armor bus line Pontivy Josselin

The Canal Nantes-Brest is a small gauge canal that links the cities of Nantes and Brest and follows the Erdre, Isac, Oust and Blavet valleys (which it joins at Pontivy) , Doré, Kergoat, Hyères and Aulne; these rivers are connected by three junction canals crossing water divides. The Canal Nantes-Brest is dotted with 238 locks, 17 of which are submerged by the Guerlédan dam .


Its construction dates back to the first half of the 19C and its total length is 364 km. From the Erdre to the Aulne, the canal measures 364 km, but only about 73 km is artificial. Eight rivers are channelled to feed it, or developed to make them navigable, becoming the ramifications of a rather surprising Breton navigable network.

The idea of opening an inland waterway in Brittany dates back to the 16C when the duchy of Brittany was united with the kingdom of France. The canalisation of the Vilaine, decided in 1538 by the States of Brittany, made this river navigable from Rennes to Messac, and from 1585 allowed the first river connection from Rennes to Redon and to the Bay of Biscay by the Vilaine maritime way. However, it was not until the beginning of the 19C and the blockade of Brest by the British, to convince Napoleon I of the strategic interest of unblocking Brest by the hinterland, of supplying the arsenals of Brest and Lorient with food and ammunition with Nantes and Saint-Malo. Finally, in 1858 was the   inauguration of the canal by Napoleon III and Empress Eugenie on the site of the “Guilly Glaz” maritime lock.


Today, the hauling horses have given way to fishermen, walkers and sportsmen. Barges that have disappeared, the canal no longer opens its locks except to lovers of canoes or kayaks, boaters on sailboats, speedboats and other motorized boats, the industrial and commercial usage have turned into a tourist route. Walkers or cyclists can walk along the canal entirely thanks to the towpaths. This route was also included in the route of the Vélodyssée cycle route(the Atlantic cycling route, more in webpage): Cycling Véloodyssée

Josselin rue du canal to chateau by canal jan12

I must add the superb view and ambiance of walking or even riding a bike along the Canal Nantes-Brest,  just below the Château de Rohan of Josselin (see post). Sublime!!! Hope you enjoy this natural wonderful beautiful way of my Morbihan.

Josselin canal nantes brest along chateau aug12

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here and is a must are

The tourist office of Broceliande on the Canal Nantes Brest at Josselin: Tourist office Broceliande on canal nantes brest at josselin

The tourist office of Brittany on the Canal Nantes Brest in English: Tourist office of Brittany on the Canal Nantes Brest

The Canals of Brittany on the Canal Nantes Brest in French: Canals of Brittany on the Canal Nantes Brest

And remember ,happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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