Day 1 Wednesday. Redon and meeting the barge . If your cruise starts on a saturday from Rohan. Click Here
We will meet you at our agreed pick up point of either Redon train station or rennes airport, and then transport you to the starting point of your cruise at St. Martin Sur Oust.
We normally meet guests at around 4pm in Redon. If however you choose to arrive at Redon earlier than this then the town rewards some exploration. Redon is at the crossroads of the Brittany waterways network, and stands at the junction of the River Vilaine (which runs from St.Malo in the North to Arzal on the south coast of Brittany) and the Nantes a Brest canal which runs East-West. Redon is an important historical town and has many riches, particularly in the old quarter.
The Saint-Saveur Abbey founded by the monk Conwoin in 832 brought cultural glory and riches to the town.
It was added to and modified up until the 17th century. Redon also hosts the excellent Inland Water Transport Museum .
If you want to learn more about the waterways you are about to travel, there is an excellent video presentation in English that details the history of the waterways.
Now it’s time to join the barge at St Martin and settle in. Stretch your legs if you want with a stroll along the river banks and then enjoy a welcome glass or two of champagne and dinner on board. At this point we can discuss your cruise in detail.
Day 2 Thursday. From St Martin to Malestroit with an excursion to La Gacilly
Starting from the riverside village of St Martin where there is a cider makers and a lovely little country bar/restaurant who specialise in mussels, we set off upstream to cruise towards Malestroit through some of the prettiest stretches on the river Oust. We pass through natural woodland and unspoilt countryside. We also pass some locks which have excellent flower displays. In the summer these are awash with flowers and decorations. In particular the one called ‘Beaumont’ deserves to have the cameras out.
In the afternoon after lunch in Malestroit we take an excursion in our minibus to the artisan village of La Gacilly. The old main street of this town has been converted over the years into a haven for artists and craftsmen. Each shop now houses a different skill with its own workshop. From glassblowing to wood carvers to artists,onyx workers, leather workers, woodturners, engravers, jewellers and musicians; La Gacilly has it all. In addition, the famous Yves Rocher beauty products are based here as well as Europes first ‘vegetarium’, a museum dedicated to the plant world. The whole village is decorated with flowers, and also hosts France’s largest outdoor photography exhibition with large and spectacular photographs decorating the town as well as several galleries.
Founded in 987, this medieval town with its winding streets has many half timbered houses with overhanging gables liberally decorated with wood carvings.
After visiting La Gacilly we have time for a guided tour around the town.Malestroit hosts a street market,(Thursday morning) regular musical events and has a fascinating medieval quarter. The church has been recently renovated and makes an interesting visit. During the restoration work that went on throughout 2011 and 2012 some ancient Romano/ Gallo frescoes were discovered on the ceiling of the oldest part of the church.
At nearby St Marcel is an excellent museum devoted to the resistance struggle in the second world war. Allow a half day if you wish to visit. In the evening you can pick your restaurant from one of the many excellent offerings. We can offer advice and make bookings for you. We also carry a guide to French menus if you want to borrow it, though most establishments have bilingual menus or someone who can speak English, so don’t be afraid to enjoy a meal out! There are restaurants covering everything from the Breton speciality crepe (A galette is savoury and a crepe sweet) , Italian, Breton, seafood, classic French and others.
Day 3 Friday
We start the day with a visit to Rochefort-en-Terre. Listed as one of the ‘Prettiest villages of France’ (it was one of the first to be so honoured when there were only about 25 on the list) . Gorgeous architecture, many antique shops, lots of artisan workshops and spectacular flower displays, this is well worth a visit. Rochefort won the village with best flower displays so many times that was eventually banned from entering again to give the others a chance! Back to Libje for lunch, or perhaps we might take it in Rochefort at one of our favourite restaurants.
We next spend the afternoon gently cruising our way through unspoilt countryside and passing through several small villages. Perhaps we’ll be stopping for bread at Le Roc St Andre with its gothic church standing high on a rocky bluff overlooking the river, or pretty little Montertelot. We will also pass a farm specialising in Breton heavy horses.We stop wherever the fancy takes us, perhaps at the ancient little village of St Gobrien with its 10thC church and some of the oldest houses in the entire region.. In the evening we choose a quiet countryside mooring and provide your evening meal there. Sit on deck and listen to nothing but the sound of the birds.
Day 4 Saturday. Towards Josselin
The boat starts early to get you to the street market in Josselin on the Saturday morning. We now pass through some of the prettiest countryside on your cruise. Meadows come down to the river and the river winds through natural woodland. We arrive at one of the best and most famous canal views in France. As we round a bend in the river Oust you see the magnificent chateau of the Rohan family towering above the river.
After negotiating the lock we moor below the chateau walls and Josselin is waiting for you. a favourite thing to do is to pick the best that the market has to offer and we all have a big ‘market lunch’ with seafood, fresh roast chicken, country pate and sausage etc.Choose from an excellent range of restaurants for your evening meal.From an upmarket yet reasonable restaurant high above the river or a waterside ‘creperie’, Josselin has them all . In the afternoon, either take it easy and spend more time exploring Josselin or we can visit Chateau Kerguehennec which is a restored 18thC chateau and which is nowadays a home to modern art galleries and the grounds have an excellent arboretum and an ornamental lake. Alternatively we can take a run down to the south coast to visit Port Louis; a fort built by the Spanish when they were allies with Brittany and which nowadays houses some very interesting museums.
Day 5 Sunday . Josselin.
You may well want to spend more time investigating Josselin. Its pretty streets, the ancient basilica, half timbered medieval houses, the museum in the chateau itself with France’s largest collection of historic dolls, the street cafes and variety of interesting family run shops; Josselin is, in many ways, the heart of the region. Alternatively we can take you to visit the megaliths at Monteneuf. Dating back over 5,500 years these standing stones are a mystery. Discovered less than 50 years ago when a brush fire swept through woodland, they have now found over 200 stones and the area also has several burial sites. In the afternoon we cruise up to the pretty little village of Pomeleuc where we spend the winter months. Pomeleuc is often referred to by locals as the village that time forgot.With it’s quaint little church that was founded in 1220 this is one of our favourite spots. Sit by the river and watch for otters, see the inside of the church with its quite stunning carvings. You might also want to visit the tiny little local bar that sells everything from seeds to batteries and beer
Day 6 Monday
After breakfast on board we set sail once more for a whole day of cruising through some of the quietest and underused stretches on the river. There are some superb flower bedecked locks to see up here. Observant birdwatchers might well catch a glimpse of the elusive kingfisher. After lunch we continue upstream through hillier countryside and narrower more twisty river stretches. We pass the Abbaye de Timadeuc where monks to this day offer retreat in peaceful surroundings. They also have one of the best bookshops in the region. We finally moor up at the market town of Rohan that gave it’s name to the Rohan dynasty that still own the Chateau at Josselin. Choose your restaurant for your last meal. As always we can offer advice and make bookings etc though a visit to the l’eau D’ Oust restaurant here is a real treat.
After a final breakfast we say our farewells and take you back to the agreed point of departure
Saturday start from Rohan. (This is prettty well the reverse of the itinerary above but here are the essentials.)
Saturday afternoon we meet guests either in Redon or at Rennes airport at 4pm and transport you to Libje in our minibus. Get unpacked, take some refreshment and settle in . You take your evening meal in Rohan at either a very good creperie,or the ‘Petit Tonneau’ restaurant which is a nice little husband and wife run place who do good home made pasta, pizza, steaks and a few French classics. The other restaurant is the L’Eau D’oust’ which is a gastronomic restaurant offering superb food beautifully presented at a reasonable price. We usually need to book if you want this option and we have the menu on board.
Sunday morning at 10 am we depart Rohan and head downstream to cruise to a countryside mooring where Jane will prepare lunch. In the afternoon we carry on to the little village of Pomeleuc which is where we spend the winter months. We then take you to see the village and the quite remarkable little church there. We now offer you you dinner on board, with a glass of champagne to help you get over all that relaxing!
Monday morning at 9.30 we set off for the medieval town of Josselin and moor by the chateau. Lunch on board and the afternoon is yours to explore the town. In the evening you have a wide choice of restaurants and we can advise on the best one for you. Overnight in Josselin
Tuesday morning you can either continue to explore Josselin or we will take you to Monteneuf by minibus to see the 5,500 year old megaliths or standing stones .(alternative visit to Chateau Kerguhennec). In the afternoon we cast off and head to the pretty little countryside mooring at Guillac and we will prepare your evening meal. Peace and tranquillity are the order of the day here.
Wednesday morning at 9 am we set off once more, this time heading for the ancient town of Malestroit. Lunch on board. In the afternoon we can take you by minibus to the craft village of La Gacilly with it’s world famous outdoor photo exhibition. Evening meal ashore in one of the towns many restaurants.
Thursday morning, After breakfast you can visit the local street market that will be in full swing. At 11 am we depart by minibus for Rochefort-En-Terre ; a gorgeous little town that is on the list of France’s most beautiful villages. Lunch at Rochefort or we will take you to the best creperie in the area which is in Malestroit. After lunch we set sail once more down to St Martin Sur Oust and dinner on board.
Friday morning and after breakfast we take you to your agreed point of departure and wish you ‘Bon Voyage’.
Note. references to meals refer to our new 3/4 board tariff where guests take 3 evening meals ashore at their own expense and we provide all breakfasts, lunches and 3 evening meals.
Dont forget though, this is your cruise and your hard earned break. We are happy to modify the above suggestions. If you want to linger or take in more of any particular stop we can do it. Likewise if you want to do less cruising and enjoy more excursions, we can do it. Alternatively, if you want to see as much of the countryside by water as you can, and miss out on some of the excursions we can do that too.
All excursions are in our own private minibus which keeps up with the barge as we cruise.
As well as the above suggested itineraries, we can organise day trips to the medieval walled city of Vannes for some of the smartest shops in the region and a yachting harbour that reaches right up to the old city gates.
Also nearby is the beautiful old town of Auray which has an up market shopping centre and it’s ancient harbour with a good selection of restaurants alongside a river. Benjamin Franklin landed here to sign an accord with the French.
The important megalithic sites at Carnac that are thought to be the oldest continuously inhabited place in the world with over 2,000 menhirs (large stones) that stretch over 4 Km and pre-date the Egyptian pyramids. (though for a more ‘hands on’ experience we prefer Monteneuf)
Just a selection of other more local visits that may prove of interest are Breton cider producers,
an exhibition of moving mechanical sculptures, local markets and chateaux, The megaliths of Monteneuf where a Roman road passes within yards of a large megalithic site only discovered 30 years ago. Church and museum visits, the waterways exhibition, formal gardens and an arboretum
Visit the Spanish influenced port of St Louis with it’s exhibitions devoted to the ‘East Indies trade’ , the marine museum as well as an excellent exhibition by the French Lifeboat institution.
If you are interested in Brittany’s war years there is the resistance museum at St Marcel. One of Frances major vehicle museums is at nearby Loheac and hosts much more than just cars. A working Medieval village, a visit to the south coast for a seafood lunch overlooking the island strewn gulf of Morbihan, In Brittany, the list goes on and on. There are links to many of these attractions on our links page.
At the risk of repeating ourselves, we are very flexible in our itinerary and can tailor the
experience to your particular interests. Just email us to discuss your barge holiday and ask for a quote.
We can also organise special charters such as a seafood cookery cruise. Learn how to choose, buy, prepare and cook seafood. Cruise as you enjoy Brittany’s bounty!
Fancy more than a cruise?
Why not treat yourself to a weeks stay at these gorgeous thatched cottages to unwind and then go cruising to get the full Brittany experience? Our good friends Neil and Tricia Young have renovated these cottages to a very high standard and have then added a whole new dimension to a Gite holiday by offering complimentary health and beauty treatments as well as a raft of other options. We really can recommend a stay here. You can see more at their website at www.brittanythatchedcottages.com