Brittany Celtic Legends

Price

£2,195.00 per person*

($2,809.60 USD or $3,841.25 AUD)

£200.00 deposit

£450.00 single room supplement

Dates

There are currently no scheduled dates for this tour, but please contact us if you want to schedule a private tour for six or more people.

Contact Us

"Fantastic! As a first cycling holiday it was a great experience and found the support from the guides great. It exceeded my expectations!"

-- Jenny, Bowral, NSW, Australia.

Highlights

  • Peaceful cycling on the towpath of the Nantes-Brest canal
  • The dramatic coves and inlets of the Côte Sauvage
  • The astonishing prehistoric alignments of Carnac
  • Tasting cider at an artisan producer
  • Amazing seafood fresh off the boat

Joining the tour

Start

Pickups are from Redon TGV station.

Finish

Return to Lorient TGV station.

Cycling level

2 out of 10

50 km per day, predominantly flat

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Brittany – a land of legends. Its Celtic roots – populated by settlers from across the English Channel in the 5th Century- and the fierce maintenance of its Breizh or Breton language – have resulted in a region with a character quite different from the rest of France.

With a coastline longer than any other French region, the peninsular takes much of its identity from the sea – both the landscape and the cuisine are dominated by the Atlantic that comes crashing in against the Western coast.

The area we have chosen for our tour is the Morbihan, which lies in the southern part of Brittany. It takes its name from the Breton Mor-Bihan, or ‘little sea’, the inland sea protected from the wild ocean and scattered with picturesque islands. The region is mostly gently rolling, making it ideal for cycling, with the landscape enhanced by the many lakes, rivers and coastal stretches.

There is an abundance of history, from the astonishing prehistoric standing-stone alignments at Carnac, through the timber framed houses and majestic medieval cathedral of Vannes, to the battles of the French Revolution on the Quiberon peninsular.

Perhaps the most famous example of Breton cuisine is the crêpe, and its savoury cousin the galette. These will make a welcome treat at lunch stops; galettes filled with ham, cheese or even boudin noire avec pommes caremelisés – black pudding and apples; maybe if you are still hungry, a crêpe with banana and chocolate or salt-butter caramel! In the evening, though , we will sample a more refined cuisine, based around the abundance of fish and seafood, and the salt-marsh lamb that grazes on the flats around the coast. For those with a sweet tooth, Far Breton is a delicious speciality combining cream, eggs sugar and rum-soaked prunes, and Kouign amann is a delicious buttery pastry that we will often find in the breakfast buffet!

Although it is not principally wine region, Muscadet is grown in the south of the region and complements the seafood beautifully. The region is rightfully proud of its cider however, whether dry or sweet; and don’t miss the opportunity to try chouchen or mead brewed from honey.

Brittany has a proud history of cycling, with Tour de France champions Jean Robic, Louison Bobet (3 times) and, most famously, 5 time winner Bernard Hinault hailing from the province; on our Brittany Celtic Legends tour you will follow in their wheeltracks to discover the rich heritage of this distinctive region.

To view a map of the Brittany tour route click here

Day 1

We will collect you from Redon TGV station for the 1km transfer back to our spa-hotel by the charming village of La Gacilly. After fitting bikes and making sure everybody is comfortable, we’ll take a short familiarisation ride, which will take us to a Neolithic burial dolmen (from the Breton ‘stone table’) and into the village of La Gacilly which is full of craft shops and artisan workshops.

There will be chance for a swim, sauna or massage before the first of many memorable dinners.

Total distance 24km (15m)

Day 2

The first part of the day is spent on the towpath of the Nantes-Brest canal which merges with the River Oust to flow beside dramatic cliffs. We enter the delightful river port town of Redon to find the Monday morning market in full swing. After browsing the weekly market, perhaps a delicious crêpe for lunch to fuel the afternoon’s exertions!

We rejoin the canal for a few kilometres before heading west through the rolling farmland where the blé noire or buckwheat is grown, an essential ingredient of the Breton savoury crêpe. We arrive at our hotel in the delightful village of Roche Bernard with a charming old quarter overlooking a harbour full of sailing boats. The hotel has a noted restaurant – we will certainly dine well after our first day’s efforts!

Total distance 54km (34m)

Day 3

We leave Roche Bernard, crossing the river Oust on the magnificent new bridge, maybe stopping for a fabulous vista of the harbour. Our first port of call is the pretty village of Le Guerno, with its 16th century church built on the site of a Templar chapel. We then continue to Muzillac, where we can visit the Moulin de Pen Mur, an 18th century water mill where there is an exhibition of 18th C. paper production.

After lunch, we get back on the bikes for a ride to an artisanal cider producer, to see how it is made – and what it tastes like! The final part of the day takes us to the port of Vannes, with its ramparts enclosing the well preserved old town and imposing cathedral. Our hotel is located at the southern tip of the city, right on the Golfe du Morbihan, and the restaurant has fantastic views to the water and the islands of the gulf.

Total distance 62km (38m)

Day 4

Following a vehicle-free track around the edge of the marshes, in the morning we cycle for a coffee stop at the Pointe d’Arradon, looking out into the gulf, with a picturesque harbour and a landing for much of the shellfish caught here.

We then head for beautiful Auray, where the old town ramparts lead down to a picture-postcard setting on the river – a perfect spot for a crêpe (and a small glass of cider!). The afternoon is spent riding through tiny hamlets down to the coast and then through the picturesque fishing port of La Trinité-sur-Mer ; following the beach we come to our hotel in Carnac, in the heart of prehistoric Brittany.

Total distance 55km (34m)

Day 5

We are staying in Carnac tonight, so no packing! Off bright and early, our first ride is a short one to the Alignements de Menec. These astonishing standing stones date from 5000-3000BC , and stetch in total over 3 kilometres.

We then continue for a circuit of the Presqu’isle de Quiberon. At the start of the peninsular is the forbidding fortress of Penthièvre, a pivotal location in the Chouannerie , the revolt of Royalists after the Revolution. The ride then takes in the breathtaking landscapes of the Côte Sauvage, where the Atlantic batters the rocks and coves into spectacular formations. Continuing into Quiberon town, there is opportunity at lunch to sample the catches of the day.

Returning to Carnac, there may be time before dinner to explore the prehistoric burial tumulus close to the hotel – or to take a dip in the pool or a relaxing sauna.

Total distance 46km (29m)

Day 6

Our last day in the saddle follows the coast closely, first going through the fishing port of Etel. Standing on the Ria d’Etel, it is a major production are for oysters, and we can visit and ostrea or oyster farm to learn about the raising of these prized delicacies. We continue for lunch into Port-Louis, where we can visit the 17th Century Citadelle. The Citadelle now houses a fascinating museum dedicated to the Compagnie des Indes, the French version of the East India Company, which was responsible for earning massive wealth for the French economy in the 17th and 18th centuries.

We cross the broad estuary of the river Blavet by ferry then skirt the major seaport of Lorient to arrive at our lovely Château hotel. There will be plenty of time for a stroll in the magnificent grounds before a sumptuous final dinner to celebrate the week.

Total distance 55km (34m)

Day 7

Relax over a substantial breakfast buffet before onward transfer to Lorient TGV station for transfers back to Paris and other onward destinations.

Not all cycle vacations are the same. Compare what is included in a French Cycling Holidays bike tour:

  • Flexible collection from local airport or train station
  • Quality Trek bicycles
  • Quality helmets (if required)
  • Water bottles (to take home as souvenirs)
  • Detailed riding instructions and colour route maps
  • Charming 3* and 4* auberges, inns and hotels
  • Buffet style breakfasts with croissants, pastries, meats, cheeses and cereals
  • Gourmet dinners for all 6 nights of your holiday
  • Fine wine (or soft drink alternative) with all evening meals and coffee to follow
  • 2 experienced bilingual guides with each tour
  • Delivery of your luggage to your hotel room each day
  • Entry fees to attractions and historical sites
  • Morning onward transfers
  • An unforgettable experience!

We try to include as much as we can within the price, while keeping things as flexible as possible. With the explosion of low cost airlines and the easy access to the TGV rail system from the UK, we believe that it is more economical and convenient for customers to arrange their own travel to the region. Links to the airlines and railway companies can be found in frequently asked questions.

Transfers

We provide the transfers to and from the local airports and the nearest TGV stations, and other locations by arrangement. If you have driven down, we arrange secure parking for your car and return you to it after the tour.

Hotels

We stay in very comfortable hotels, mostly 3*, occasionally 4*, and very occasionally superior 2* hotels which we choose if they have charm and comfort above their rating. All rooms have en-suite shower or bath facilities.

We select our hotels for their character as well as their facilities, and avoid chains in favour of independent privately run hotels.

Prices are based on two sharing in twin or double rooms. Singles are available on request. Where possible, we choose hotels with swimming pools as there is nothing quite like a dip after a day in the saddle!

It is sometimes necessary to change accommodation for reasons of room availability, minor adjustments to the route or upgrading the hotels. We will always endeavour to use hotels of an equal or higher level of comfort/facilities to those shown – please contact us to check for the most up-to-date information regarding your particular tour.

Meals

All evening meals are included, and we carefully select the restaurants for cuisine and ambience, and favour those with a strong regional flavour.

All meals include a starter, main course and dessert, some will have an additional cheese course. We are happy to arrange for our restaurants to cater for specific dietary requirements and allergies etc.

We do not include lunch, as the costing of these is beyond our control, but where route and weather allow we organise picnics; these feature copious salads, cold meats, cheeses, crusty bread, fruits, etc, and a choice of drinks; we ask for a contribution for the costs of the consumables, which usually works out at 8 or 9 euros per person per picnic. Where route or weather does not allow a picnic, we recommend suitable cafés and bistros.

Bikes & Equipment

We provide lightweight alloy framed Trek ‘hybrid’ touring bicycles with 27 indexed gears, fully equipped with lock, pump and toolkit (although our guides will generally be on hand to fix punctures and minor mechanical problems).

For carrying the items you might need during the day (camera, wallet, windbreaker etc.) we fit a capacious handlebar bag which also features a large map pocket. These clip on and off the bike in a flash so that you can always take your valuables with you when off the bike.

The bikes are meticulously maintained and we keep a wide range of sizes; female specific saddles are also available. We do not provide helmets automatically, as we find people prefer their own if they want to wear one, and sizing and fit is quite personal; however we always have helmets available for use. We also carry rain-capes should they be required (but hopefully not!). For certain tours we also have available 27 speed drop-handlebar race-style bikes, and tandems may also be available on certain tours by special request. We hire these locally, and charge on the additional cost. 

E Bikes

For nearly all of our tours an e-bike - electrically assisted bicycle - is an extra-cost option. These bikes apply a 'multiplier' to the level of input provided by the rider, the level of assistance can be adjusted for the terrain. This can be useful if there are members of your party have very different levels of bike-fitness and experience, as hills that look daunting suddenly become easy with an e-bike.

Please contact us for details.

 

Guides and Backup

There will be two guides on every tour; one cycling with the group and one in the minibus which will follow the group. The bus carries all luggage not required for the day's ride and will always be available for anyone at any point during the day. If for instance you want to take a day off the bike, or if a particular day seems a little hard, the bus will take you for as long or as little as you wish it to.

Everybody is provided with detailed route maps for each day, and both guides are easily contactable by mobile phone. The guides are enthusiastic experts on the local area and will be able to sort out any problems or special requests that you might have.

La Grée des Landes, La Gacilly

Our first hotel is a new concept in responsible luxury, an Eco-hotel. Using local, sustainable materials in its construction, maximising renewable energy in its architecture, and sourcing local organic products for its gourmet restaurant, the hotel has been awarded the Eco-Hotel label by Ecolabel Européen . This does not limit the luxury of the hotel however – owned by the Yves Rocher group and with an on-site spa and wellness centre, and a star chef in Gilles le Gallès, it is a wonderfully indulgent way to start the tour.

gree des landes

 

The Domaine de Bodeuc, Nivillac

A 19th century manor house, standing in a 10 hectare park, the 3* Domaine has an inviting swimming pool. If you would rather stroll the grounds, you will discover several rare species of trees, brought back from his travels by the first owner of the house, a British sea captain. Chef Joel Mauny uses his years of experience, including Michelin starred restaurants, to create exceptional dishes using local produce.

Bodeuc

Le Villa Kerasy, Vannes

Le Roof has an unsurpassable setting, on the tip of the Presqu’isle de Conleau on the Gulf of Morbihan. Water surrounds the hotel on three sides, and the hotel’s lawns run down to the shore. 25 metres away is a small sandy beach. The gulf’s waters are warm and safe for swimming. Seafood as you might expect is high on the menu, but the chef also does a mean rack of lamb!

Kerasy

Hotel Le Tumulus, Carnac

The Tumulus is ideally situated for the Carnac standing stones, but also has its own ‘private’ prehistoric attraction, standing right beside the stone-age burial mound which gives the hotel its name. Boasting a large swimming pool and a well equipped spa, the Tumulus has a fabulous restaurant which takes advantage of the hotel’s elevated position to offer a super panorama while dining.

tumulus

Château de Locguénolé

Our last hotel is a suitably spectacular way to finish the week. The Château de Locguéniolé stands on an inlet of the River Blavet with its own private moorings, and 2km of private riverside in its 120 hectare park…

With a sauna, hammam, heated pool and tennis court the luxury matches the setting, and a final dinner at the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant looking down to the river will leave an indelible memory of a wonderful week!

locguenole

It is sometimes necessary to change acco

Below we answer all the most common questions that you might ask before choosing a French Cycling Holidays tour. If you have any further questions then please get in touch. We look forward to hearing from you.

How fit do I need to be?

Anybody who is reasonably active should be able to take part and enjoy our tours.

The tours have different levels of physical exertion — whilst the Loire Valley tours and Bordeaux tour are easy going; the Normandy, Provence Roman Heritage, and Burgundy tours are a little more strenuous, whilst and the Provence Lubéron, Dordogne and Languedoc tours require a reasonable level of fitness.

For nearly all of our tours an e-bike - electrically assisted bicycle - is an extra-cost option. These bikes apply a 'multiplier' to the level of input provided by the rider, the level of assistance can be adjusted for the terrain. This can be useful if there are members of your party have very different levels of bike-fitness and experience, as hills that look daunting suddenly become easy with an e-bike. Contact us via the contact page if you would like more details.   

The Sports tours are aimed at enthusiast cyclists who might want to bring their own road bikes. However, the rides are not races and there is no time limit - and there is always the minibus if things get too tough!

We would nevertheless recommend that anyone who has not taken any regular exercise for some time to consult their doctor before considering any activity based holiday. Bear in mind that a little regular riding before coming on a cycling vacation will always be a benefit to the experience.

How do I get there?

We pick up and drop off from the nearest international airports and TGV/railway stations to the start of each tour. (We can drop at a nearer airport or station by arrangement if more convenient for you and logistically possible). This gives everyone the option of making their way by the most economical or convenient means. The major options are:

Flying from the UK

Ryanair flies into following airports:

Nimes (for the Provence tours and Languedoc tours; Ryanair also fly out of Beziers and Montpellier for the Languedoc tour); Bergerac (for the Bordeaux tour), Dinard for the Normandy tour, Grenoble for Alpine trips and Pau (for the Classic Cols tour)

Ryanair operates out of Liverpool, London Stansted and London Luton Airports amongst others.

Easyjet flies into Montpellier (for the Provence tours) and out of Bordeaux (for the Bordeaux tour); it flys into Geneva and Lyon for Alpine tours and also out of Nice for the Alpine Raid.

British Airways prices can be reasonable if booked in advance — BA fly into Bordeaux for train transfers to Bergerac (Bordeaux tour), and Marseilles (Provence tours).

If we do not pick up from the airport itself, we will advise on rail connections from the airport to our pick-up points.

Rail for visitors from outside Europe / those already in France

The TGV can be an exceptionally quick way of reaching many French destinations from the UK and from Paris for those flying from overseas or UK regions.

The Eurostar SNCF (French National Railways) TGV websites may be useful. As a guide, London St Pancras to Avignon via TGV takes approximately 6½ hours; Tours takes 4 hours. From Paris Charles de Gaulle airport, the point of arrival for most intercontinental flights, Tours is 1½ hours by TGV, Avignon (for Provence) just over 3 hours.

Brive-la-Gaillarde is 4 hours from Paris by rail for the Dordogne tour. We are more than happy to advise on rail options — please contact us. Internet sales from the French SNCF site ( www.voyages-sncf.com sites are possible but are in French; the approved agency for the US and Canada is RailEurope ; however we are happy to advise and help with the French website.

Driving

This may be a good choice if your French Cycling Holiday is part of a longer stay. We will arrange secure parking for your car at or near our first hotel, and return you to your car at the end of the trip. (Note - this service may not be available on certain long distance sports tours - please check with us). The major ferry and crossing companies from the UK are Eurotunnel, P&O, Brittany Ferries, LD Lines, Speedferries and SeaFrance.

If it is more convenient for you to hire a car Europcar in our experience have the best rates for rentals where the drop-off is at a different location to the pickup.

However you choose to travel, we are very happy to help you sort out your itinerary.

What kind of pedals do you use?

Pedals are obviously fairly important on a cycling tour! We stock the following kinds:

Flat – i.e. no special cleats or grips, these pedals can be used with any kind of footwear. If you do not regularly use special pedals or cycling shoes, we recommend standard trainers/sneakers to wear while riding.

SPD/flat – we also have pedals with one side flat and one side an SPD cleat. This is the standard Shimano SPD compatible system; two bolts and the small cleat pictured on the shoe with the yellow sole. These cleats are ideal for cycling tours as the cleat is usually recessed into the bottom of the shoe. The pedals are visible to the right of the picture.

SPD/flat style pedals

Flats with cages – we have a small number of flat pedals with cages & straps – again if you are not used to this, we wouldn’t recommend starting a tour with them!

Other – we do NOT stock any other pedal systems. If you use any other kind of pedal, you are very welcome to bring your own and our guides can fit them to your bike for the week. However, we would advise against racing-style pedals such as the Look Keo, Shimano SPD-SL or similar, as these tend to have a large, protruding cleat on the sole of the shoe which makes walking around visits or lunch stops (or even nipping into a public toilet!) quite uncomfortable and dangerous. Sports tours are a little different as there are much longer days and less off-the-bike walking – a choice is ultimately up to you though!

Can I use my own bike?

We are happy for anyone to bring their own bikes. However, the budget airlines charge around £50 each way and packing and carriage can be a hassle. Our Trek bikes are of a high standard, and our customers usually express pleasant surprise at the quality of the machines, so it might be a better option to bring your saddle and/or pedals which we will be very happy to fit. In any case there will always be a backup bike should you have a mechanical problem. Please feel free to call us for advice on bike transportation.

What should I wear?

The main thing that people who are not regular distance cyclists worry about is a sore behind. This is not as is popularly thought due to too-hard saddles, but friction between skin and garments. This is why professional cyclists wear skin-tight lycra shorts with padded inserts. Many people feel a bit self-conscious in this sort of gear and your local cycle shop will have a range of padded undershorts which can be worn under normal clothing, or regularly styled shorts with sewn-in padded liners. Otherwise, lightweight comfortable clothing (tee-shirts, shorts, trainers) is ideal, with something warmer like a fleece just in case. As we will be dining well, you might like to take something presentable (but not formal — no-one on a French Cycling Holiday stands on ceremony!) for the evening meal.

How many people on each tour?

As well as being an active holiday, sampling the best that France has to offer, we believe that our trips should be an opportunity to meet people and make new friends. Our groups are limited to a maximum of 16, which is the largest number that we can give a personal service to, and a minimum of 6 people, which we feel is the number needed to achieve a group spirit. If we cannot achieve this number, we may cancel the tour giving a minimum of five weeks notice.

What weather are we likely to encounter?

We time our tours so that the weather should be ideal for cycling for each tour. For that reason we have our Provence and Languedoc tours in the late spring and early autumn, rather than in high summer when it can be too hot to cycle comfortably after 10 a.m. The Loire Valley, Dordogne, Bordeaux and Burgundy tours are more temperate, which is why we concentrate these tours in July and August. We cannot guarantee the weather, but it would be very unlucky to have more than one wet day on any of the tours.

Are there any age limits?

There is no specific upper age limit — the only constraint is a reasonable level of fitness. Children between 10 and 16 are welcome as part of family groups. We do not recommend these tours for children under 10.

Do I need travel insurance?

We require all participants to have travel insurance with full medical cover. It is part of the conditions of our tours that participant should provide evidence of suitable cover. If you have any questions about the cover required please contact us for advice.

What financial protection is in place for my booking?

In accordance with “The Package Travel, Package Tours Regulations 1992” customers of French Cycling Holidays Limited will be indemnified in respect of their net ascertained financial loss sustained arising from the cancellation or curtailment of the declared trip travel arrangements arising solely from the event of the financial failure of French Cycling Holidays Limited.

This insurance has been arranged by Towergate Chapman Stevens through Hiscox Insurance Company Limited.

“The guides, Janice and Graham, were incredibly accommodating and really made us feel like a group of friends travelling together.”

Sandy & Rob, Gawler, South Australia


 “It gets better and better the more often you go – see you next year!”

Jim, Belfast, Northern Ireland


“The days were full and never boring. The tours were appropriate & the rides manageable. A great experience with interesting people.”

Janine & Jason, Newtown, Victoria, Australia.

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