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The Nantes-Brest canal

Nantes-Brest canal

Carried along by the water

The Nantes-Brest canal has witnessed many important moments in Brittany’s history, and is also a favourite tourist destination in Finistère.

This long, blue ribbon of water runs for 360km and crosses through Finistère, from Carhaix Port with its colourful houses, through Châteauneuf du Faou, inspiration for the artist Paul Sérusier, through Châteaulin and on to the Aulne estuary and the waters of Brest.

On the banks or on the water, the canal offers countless activities, including walks along the towpath, cycle routes, fishing and river-boating. The unspoilt country landscapes of the Aulne Valley are endlessly relaxing – be sure to enjoy them while you’re here!

Trying stopping off at...


Good to know…
The picnic area at Pont Dauvlas just next to the lock is a perfect spot for a family breather, with its play area and large expanse of grass nearby.
On the borders of Finistère, Carhaix is probably best-known for its Glastonbury-style ‘Festival des Vieilles Charrues’. However, year-round visitors can discover the remains of an ancient aqueduct that dates from the 3rd century and stands as proof to the riches of this thousand-year-old town back in Gallo-Roman times. Keen cyclists can head for Port-de-Carhaix and set off north towards Morlaix or south towards Rosporden on Finistère’s fabulous network of Green Ways!

Be sure to visit: the Plant-life Visitor Centre at the Lock-keeper’s house in Kergoat (Port-de-Carhaix)

New : free storage units are available for cyclists. This allows you to take a bus easily to Carhaix town centre.

More infos

Canal in Carhaix

Pont-Triffen and Châteauneuf-du-Faou

Good to know…
Stop for lunch at Penn ar Pont’s picnic area and enjoy the various activities on offer. You could even set off for a 2-hour boat trip.
Pont-Triffen is a perfect place for fishing, where the River Aulne meets the River Hyères. Fishing spots have been also installed along the quayside.

A little further on, Châteauneuf-du-Faou is well worth a visit. You’ll find frescos by French artist Paul Sérusier in the church, an underground fountain, and the Moustoir chapel. If you’re here in late August, don’t miss the religious procession, ‘Pardon de Notre-dame-des-Portes’, one of the biggest events of its kind in Brittany.

Nearby, the Domaine de Trévarez offers a magnificent view across the region. Its parkland, classed as a Remarkable Garden, stretches over 200 acres and its château is partly open to the public – so come on in!

Be sure to visit: the ‘Drop of water’ Visitor Centre at the lock-keeper’s cottage in Pont-Triffen - Cléden-Poher

Pont-Triffen Lock

Chateaulin and Port-Launay

Good to know…
There’s no shortage of picnic areas along this trail: Monparc Saint-Thois for tranquility, Toul ar Pesked for fishing spots set up along the Vernic, îlot Penn ar Pont with its bivouac spot and guided walks in summer, or Guilly Glaz (the last lock) for its bivouac spot.
Coming from Châteauneuf-du-Faou, stop at Pont-Coblant then head for Pleyben. Here, you can admire one of the best examples of an enclos paroissial – flamboyant churches of special architectural interest, dating from the 16th and 17th centuries.

Upriver, Port-Launay is a favourite for pleasure-boaters. Its strategic position between land and sea meant that it flourished in the 19th century, when the town was the main link between the inland waterways and the barges coming from Brest.

Châteaulin offers plenty of leisure activities such as canoeing, rowing and fishing. You can also visit the Aquatic Observatory to watch the fish (particularly salmon) in their own habitat.

If walking is your thing, the Roche du Feu in Gouézec (281m) gives you a fabulous viewpoint over the Aulne Valley, the Arrée Mountains and Douarnenez Bay.

Be sure to visit: the Animal-life Visitor Centre at the Lock-keeper’s cottage in Aulne Penn ar Pont - Châteaulin and the Lock-keeper’s Life Visitor Centre in Rosvéguen Ty Men Lennon.

Port-Launay and the canal


Good to know…
Dinéault Passage was once the main connecting route between north and south Finistère. Until 1950, a ferry connected Dinéault to Rosnoën.
Before reaching Landévennec, the River Aulne passes under the iconic bridge of Pont de Térénez. This relatively recent piece of engineering was opened in 2011, and its retired colleague is still visible today. Pont de Térénez has received several prizes, and is currently the longest cable-stayed, curved bridge in Europe.

Landévennec is a pretty little village at the mouth of the River Aulne. Benedictine Monks chose this spot in the 6th century and founded the Abbey of Saint-Guénolé. The promontory offers an unbeatable view over the Aulne and the Boat Graveyard.

Be sure to visit: the Medicinal Herb Garden at the museum of the old Abbey in Landévennec. This garden dates from the Middle Ages, inspired by archaeological findings, and it includes plants that flourished here way back before 1000AD, right up to modern times. Guided visits in July and August.

Vue sur l'Aulne et l'abbaye de Landévennec

Watersports centres on the Nantes-Brest canal


Canaux de Bretagne
1, rue Raoul Ponchon
35 069 Rennes

Syndicat Mixte d'Aménagement Touristique de l'Aulne et de l'Hyères
Maison éclusière de Bizernig
29520 Châteauneuf du Faou

Interactive map


Top-of-the-range places
Finistère trails

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