Vélodyssée ̶ Cycling Odyssée ̶ perhaps you have already heard this rather magical term ?
This Cycling Odyssey is aptly named. What an odyssey ! A 1,200 kilometre trail, inaugurated in 2012, is the longest cycle route in France. It crosses the Heart of Brittany and runs along the Atlantic coast linking Roscoff to the Basque Country.
Vélodyssée is also an integral part of an even longer cycle route : Eurovélo 1, which starts in the north of Norway and finishes in the south of Portugal, via Ireland, Great Britain, France and Spain. The completion of all of the Green Ways in each country meant that grand European trails could be worked out. As a result, these days, we have great pleasure in welcoming and giving information to cyclists from all over Europe in our tourist offices. This cycle itinerary is exceptional in more than one way: it’s made up of 70% of green cycle paths, Green Ways, signposted and only accessible to those on foot, horseback or bike. More often than not, the Green Ways are old railway lines which have been decommissioned and covered with a sand-based, stable surface.
In Brittany, the “Vélodyssée” ̶ Biking Odyssey ̶ circuit is ideal for discovering the region from the interior, which is less well-known than the coast. From the Channel beaches, from the pretty little village of Roscoff, travel east to the magical Monts d’Arrée not far from the legendary forest in Huelgoat. Travelling at your own pace, you can spend a night in Carhaix, which was once an important terminus for the Breton railway network and is now the crossroads of the “Voies Vertes”, the Green Way. You can then pick up the road to the Nantes-Brest canal by going along the tow path south of the town. Far from the madding crowd, you will feel invigorated cycling along the canal path. When you reach L’Abbaye de Bon Repos, in the countryside near Le Lac de Guerlédan, you will find a haven of peace and tranquillity. Your odyssey continues via the historic town of Napoléonville, now named Pontivy, towards Josselin, Redon and Nantes where you can pick up the Véloocéan, the Ocean Cycle trail, taking you all the way down to the Spanish border at Hendaye.
Two free guides published by the Breton Regional council are available in all tourist offices and are very useful in helping you to prepare your trip along the Breton section of “Vélodyssée”. There’s a map of the Green Ways, “Les Voies Vertes”, and a guide to the canals of Brittany with a special blue supplement which includes practical tips you need on the sections of the Nantes-Brest canal tow path and information about accommodation along the way, within 5 kilometres of the canal. Another useful site you should take a look at is : www.lavelodyssee.com