Rambling in Brittany

Walking, Cycling, Horse Riding

Rambling is a very popular activity in Brittany with its 2500 km of pathways. These thousands of kilometers of marked pathways allow exploring the diversity of the Breton landscape: natural history sites, forests, chateaux and typical small towns, etc. By following the markers on the customs officers paths along the coast and the towpaths and rural tracks of the interior, walkers, cyclists and horse riders can appreciate these preserved areas.

In the footsteps of the customs officers

Brittany has 1300 kilometers of coastal paths. These footpaths, suitable for both energetic hiking and gentle strolls, cover almost the entire perimeter of the coast, from the Bay of Mont-Saint-Michel to Saint-Nazaire. The customs officers pathways were created during the French Revolution by the customs
authorities for surveillance of the coast and to combat smuggling and the pillaging of shipwrecks.

The Breton coast, on account of its rugged terrain with thousands of inlets and its sheer length was a favorite site for illegal landings of a vast range of smuggled goods. Thus until the start of the XXth century, hundreds of customs officers walked the coastal paths, day and night in all weathers, seeking to intercept any illegal landing of goods. Today, the pathways once used by the customs officers are protected sites, developed for walkers and hikers.

On the towpaths

Crossing inland Brittany from east to west, a 360 kilometer pathway along the Nantes to Brest canal. Initiated by Napoleon, this project to unite Nantes and Brest by an inland waterway was completed in 1842. The towpath was created so that barges could be towed along by horses. Now it can be used by ramblers.

By bicycle or mountain bike

Whether you are a touring cyclist or a mountain biker, all the roads of Brittany are accessible to cyclists. There are several cycling paths or mountain bike routes crossing forests, woods or along lakesides. Many of the Brittany islands
where cars are banned are havens for cyclists.

These are conservation sites for observing the local flora and fauna. In towns, cycle tracks allow investigating the streets and alleyways and appreciating their historic heritage. Several Breton towns, such as Rennes, Brest, Lorient or Quimper are seeking to facilitate the use of bicycles in urban traffic zones.

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