Brittany by bike

Brittany by bike itinerary

Ready to experience the gentle thrill of venturing from Nantes to Mont-Saint-Michel by bike?​

This is an invitation to enjoy the excitement of nomadism on two wheels – from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to the Channel, through the historic lands of Brittany, all of which runneth over with countless wonders that you can stop and admire: from surprising artworks to XXL (or XXS) ports, wild marshes, bucolic waterways lined with the elegant houses of lock keepers, or unforgettably charming, atmospheric towns… all before reaching the fabulous Côte d’Émeraude and the jewel of the circuit: the timeless abbey of Mont-Saint-Michel, which stands above a boundless bay swept by the highest tides in Europe.

6 sections

Choose your itinerary among the 6 different sections

Whether as a family, among friends, on your own, or in tandem, this cycling itinerary is divided into 6 sections, borrowing some of the greatest hits from other circuits like La Loire à Vélo, La Vélodyssée and La Vélomaritime. It covers a total of 500 km! So, giddy up for a modern journey through an old land, which you can enjoy in one go, or savour in small bits, most of which can be handled by every pair of legs, great and small!

Bike ride along the green line in Nantes

STEP 1
Nantes > Saint-Nazaire

53.26 miles - Level 1 (families) - 2 days

After joining the La Loire à Vélo circuit, A Modern Journey Through an Old Land hits the ground running. Following a hair-raising adventure through Nantes (with its island of strange Machines), the former ports of the estuary and the bucolic Canal de la Martinière await you. Here, the sunlight adds a magical touch to the endless natural spaces all around. Prepare also to be greeted by a host of artworks from the Estuaire itinerary – like a “soggy boat” dozing on the bank of a canal lock, a “starry garden” (Jardin étoilé), an improbable belvedere overlooking the Loire, or a pacified “ocean snake” (Serpent d’océan) coiled up on the fine sands of Saint-Brévin.

Parcours à vélo à Guérande

STEP 2
Saint-Nazaire > Pénestin

51,43 miles - Level 1 (families) - 2 days

La Baule is a member of the elite club of the most beautiful bays in the world. Its hidden villas, sheltered from the seafront, offer you the ideal backdrop to gently start this new itinerary, with your pedals practically in the water. Once this charming detour is behind you, a much wilder horizon awaits with the region’s flora and salt marshes. Even though a modern journey through an old land doesn’t always flirt with the Atlantic Ocean, its mist is never very far away. The sea never stops appearing and disappearing as you calmly zig and zag your way towards Pénestin, its protected site of La Mine d’or, and its golden cliffs.

Port du Tréhiguier

STEP 3
Pénestin > Redon

36.11 miles - Level 2 (experienced) - 1 day

There’s no denying it, the third circuit of a modern journey through an old land is, for the moment, the least clearly marked-out of the itinerary. However, it would be a shame to cross it off your list, since you’d miss out on a few natural gems that can only be appreciated by bike. With the seaport of Redon in your sights, this circuit can almost be done handsfree – but always with an eye on this guide, the road, and the stunning surrounding Breton countryside.

Parcours à vélo vers Rennes

STEP 4
Redon > Rennes

58.62 km - Level 1 (families) - 2 days

The port of Redon sets the tone for this cycling adventure. You’ll ride against the current of the Vilaine River, with its long maritime and fluvial history – and, what a river it is! Wide and open at first, surrounded by protected wetlands… but then, as it approaches Rennes, the Vilaine cuts through schist cliffs surrounded by steep forests that offer views of pristine landscapes. En route, there are countless opportunities to stop and enjoy the different atmospheres with family and friends!

écluse de Hédé-Bazouges

STEP 5
Rennes > Saint-Malo

75.77 miles - Level 1 (families) - 2 days

From the capital of Brittany to the Emerald Coast, a bucolic path twists and turns, complete with water mills and canal lock houses. It runs alongside the Canal d’Ille-et-Rance – the oldest in Brittany – then towards the magnificent Rance estuary. At its summit, you will discover the Onze écluses (“eleven canal locks”) of Hédé-Bazouges and an incredible hydraulic machine that pumps water into the canal. This very easy itinerary is stuffed with gems, while also being wonderfully exotic – and all of it in the heart of timeless and romantic Brittany.

Parcours à vélo jusqu’au Mont-St-Michel

STEP 6
Saint-Malo > Le Mont-Saint-Michel

43.27 miles - Level 2 (experienced) - 1-2 days

From the “privateer city” of Saint-Malo, where one crosses paths with travellers of all stripes, this seaside trek will first take you to Cancale – jewel of the Breton coast – via discreet side-roads. From there, you will soon find yourself among the polders of the Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel – the climax of a modern journey through an old land. Calm and impassive, the abbey and its “Merveille” rise 150 metres above a bay swept by the highest tides in Europe, beneath skies directly out of a 16th-century Flemish painting.

Travel diary

How to use GPX ?

On your computer

  • Go to: https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/0/
  • At the top right, click on +CREATE A NEW MAP button.
  • In the menu on the left, click on Import
  • Select your GPX file from its location, or click-and-drag it into the window, then import it to Google Maps.

Opening a GPX file:

  • Open Google Maps on your computer
  • Click on the three horizontal lines in the upper left corner
  • Select Your Places from the side menu
  • Go to the Maps tab to view all your created or imported routes

On your phone

If you use an Android or iOS smartphone, the process is virtually identical:

  • We recommend you import the file from a computer, as described above.
  • Open Google Maps on your Android smartphone, iPhone or iPad and make sure you have logged in with the same Gmail account you used to import the map.
  • Press the three horizontal lines in the top-left corner to open the side menu – or simply swipe right from the left edge of the smartphone.
  • Go to Your Places from the side menu and then to the Maps tab.

You can now access all your created address lists and maps, as well as open the GPX routes imported into your account.

An acclaimed itinerary!

You can find 2 stages of the Modern Journey through an Old Land circuit among the bike trips suggested in the new Guide du Routard “Les plus belles escapades à vélo en France”! (In French.)

  • Nantes <> Saint-Nazaire, From the Loire to the Ocean
  • Rennes <> Saint-Malo by way of the Canal d’Ille-et-Rance
The Accueil vélo label references service providers guaranteeing quality service throughout France’s bicycle itineraries. For more information on these businesses, please visit here.

Nantes

Repair Shop
L’atelier du POUPOUPIDOU
21 Quai Ernest Renaud, 44100 Nantes
+33 (0)6 79 35 83 89

Bike Rental
Bike N’Tour
44000 Nantes
+33 (0)2 55 10 11 74

Rennes

Repair Shop
Guédard
13 Boulevard Beaumont, 35000 RENNES
+33 (0)2 99 30 43 78

Bike Rental
L’échoppe du 2 roue
16 rue Saint Louis 35000 RENNES
+33 (0)2 23 46 30 01 

Redon

Bike Rental
Pays de Redon Tourist Office
from mid-June to mid-September
Place de la République, 35600 Redon
+33 (0)2 99 71 06 04

Saint-Nazaire

Repair Shop
Raconte-moi un vélo
13 Avenue de la République, 44600 Saint-Nazaire
+33 (0)6 12 05 97 43

Bike Rental
Vélycéo
8 Place Pierre Semard, 44600 Saint-Nazaire
0 800 10 51 10 (within France only)

Saint-Malo

Repair Shop
Alex Hinault Cycles
Avenue de Launay Breton, 35400 Saint-Malo
+33 (0)9 81 95 57 98

Bike Rental
Les vélos bleus
19 Rue Alphonse Thébault, 35400 Saint-Malo
+33 (0)2 99 40 31 63

Dol-de-Bretagne

Bike Rental Repair Shop
Cycles Romé
32 Boulevard Deminiac, 35120 Dol-de-Bretagne
+33 (0)2 99 80 96 26

Destination Saint-Malo Baie du Mont Saint-Michel
Saint Nazaire Renversante