Reader Q&A: Cycling the coast of Brittany from Brest to Vannes

Published by Lyn on 19 August 2014

Claire emailed to ask about cycling along the west coast of Brittany from Brest to Vannes. Here's our email exchange.

Pont Aven by Brian Smithson

Picturesque Pont Aven. Photo: Brian Smithson

Hi Lyn,

Can you help us at all? We have planned a tandem bike ride through parts of France meeting up with my parents in their mobile home along the way. We are starting off near Brest and have 6 days to get to Vannes for our next leg in the van. We have looked at crossing to Le Fret on the ferry then heading towards Douarnenez and continuing on to Vannes.

Can you help by suggesting any routes or cycle ways? I can't seem to find a definite route for this online and it appears as if it might be a bit hilly even for reasonably fit people? The route V5 is hard to find any info for.

Any help/advice would be much appreciated!

Thanks,
Claire.

I wrote back:

Hi Claire,

Thanks for your email and for using freewheelingfrance.com

I emailed a local contact up there to check the latest info on this route. It's Harold, who runs Red Dog Books, which publishes an excellent guide to cycling in Brittany's greenways, which I'd highly recommend. 

Here is what he said:

Hello Lyn,

Our Brittany's Green Ways book does give a resumé of the V5 route, mentioning those parts of it which are said to be green ways or voies vertes.

Taking the ferry to Le Fret, if they then include Crozon in their route they can pick up a new 4km greenway section of the V6 from Crozon to Tal ar Groaz, and after that follow the coast round to Douarnenez.

From Douarnenez there is a green way that takes them almost to Quimper, so cutting out the Cap Sizun peninsula (although that isn't too hilly by road).

Then another green way from the outskirts of Quimper to  Pont l'Abbé from where they can reach the south coast without too many hills.

Along the south coast, several sections of the V5 route are developed, some as green ways. The summary in the book was updated late last year and they may well find more recent developments on the ground.

At the same time, another suggestion for them: an inland route would be to make for Chateaulin from Crozon and from there follow the Nantes-Brest Canal to Pontivy, then the Blavet canal to Hennebont. From there they can reach the south coast easily and take in Quiberon and Carnac on their way to Vannes.

Hope that helps,
Harold.

***

This overview of Brittany's voies vertes may or may not be of use if you've not already seen it.

And this overview of cycling in Brittany. :

See below for accommodation options.

The Ibis in Brest in particular has been recommended to me by a few readers. The Golfe Hotel in Vannes is also bike-friendly.

See here for info on Brest and here for Vannes.

It would be great to hear how you get on.

Cheers,
Lyn.

Claire wrote back:

Thanks so much Lyn! Just bought the book, so hopefully it'll help us a bit. I fear we may have been a bit ambitious but we'll see how it goes :)

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