From Châteauneuf-du-Faou, the Nantes à Brest canal continues eastward, reaching the Abbaye de Bon-Repos 77.6 kilometres (48.5 miles) later.
Accommodation is somewhat scattered along this section but there are options available at Port de Carhaix, Saint-Péran, Pont-Auffret, Plélauff, Gouarec and the Abbaye de Bon-Repos.
If you can ride a bike (which I can’t – so my assumptions may be well off the mark), I imagine it’s possible to cover this section in a day and a bit. Be sure to allow at least an hour or two to visit the abbey.
What will you see along the way?
The old bridge across the canal at Châteauneuf-du-Faou.
A short distance past Châteauneuf-du-Faou, you’ll find a small museum dedicated to the history of the canal. The exhibits are in French and I found the technical vocabulary well beyond my language skills but the photos and memorabilia provided a fascinating glimpse into a bygone time.
Lock house at Écluse 218 Bizernig (next to the museum).
Moving on past Écluse 210 Pénity.
Approaching Écluse 209 Pont-Triffen.
Port de Carhaix was once a busy port on the Nantes à Brest Canal, marking the end of the western section to the ocean.
Now that commercial traffic has ceased, it is a sleepy little port with not much going on!
A tranquil corner of the canal at Port de Carhaix.
From Pont de Carhaix, a shuttle bus service provides easy access to Carhaix-Plouguer—one of the larger towns along the way and an easy detour for groceries and bandaids.
The Tourist Office is worth a visit if only to admire the stone and timber carvings on this centuries-old building.
Narrow street in Carhaix-Plouguer lined with beautifully preserved historic buildings.
Approaching Écluse 179 La Pie.
Picnic tables beside the canal at Écluse 179 La Pie.
A sea of green punctuated by wild yellow iris near La Pie.
Écluse 166 Menguen
Between Ker Gérard and Pont-ar-Len, the land around the canal rises 23 metres in altitude. Normally, a series of locks would raise the water to the highest point but, along this three-kilometre section, six hundred convicts were put to work digging a channel through the hill.
Now heavily wooded, it is easy to walk along here and notice only the shade and the greenery and fail to appreciate that many lives were lost carving out this slice of tranquillity.
Écluse 152 Pont-Auffret
For sale – Maison d’Éclusier at Écluse 151 Kerjégu.
Écluse 151 Kerjégu – it’s been a long time since this water saw any movement.
On the far side of the canal between Écluse 147 Restouel and Écluse 146 Coat-Natous is the picturesque Chapelle de la Pitié
The chapel can be accessed from the towpath which follows along the other side of the canal.
My Miam Miam Dodo guidebook describes this path as “Intéressant en cas de soleil tapant!” which translates literally as “Interesting when the sun is shining!” I suppose that’s one way of describing it! 😉
A closer look at Chapelle de la Pitié. Tucked away behind it is a little café serving afternoon tea and a chambre d’hôte offering overnight accommodation.
Storm clouds gathering over Écluse 142 Plélauff
Just a few hundred metres from the canal is the village of Plélauff.
I sat here one afternoon, enjoying a cup of coffee when school let out for the day. No prizes for guessing that every school kid that passed by rang these church bells!
Approaching Écluse 141 Kerlouët.
Approaching Écluse 138 Bon-Repos – looking lush and green after the rain.
The Abbaye de Bon-Repos – just visible beyond the bridge.
Where to next along the canals of Brittany?
Go back to –
Section 1: Port-Launay to Châteauneuf-du-Faou
Continue on to –
Section 3: Abbaye de Bon-Repos to Pontivy
Section 4: Pontivy to Hennebont
For something equally flat and easy to walk…
For truly spectacular scenery right here in Brittany…
Follow the GR 34 along the coast from Camaret-sur-Mer to Audierne