Go with the flow
Family days out on the rivers and canals
In Brittany, even inland, the water is never too far away. The Nantes-Brest canal, the Vallée du Blavet, the lle-et-Rance canal and the river Vilaine: 4 waterways stretching over 600 km that are just ready and waiting to welcome you.
A dragonfly’s flight, the bright blue of the woodpecker, a frog croaking or the rippling water... the river’s edge is just humming with life, to the sheer delight of your children. Tiny tots can enjoy a breath of fresh air strolling along the canal, a picnic on the grass or try their hand at a spot of fishing. Among some of the natural sites, why not bring the family along to discover the ‘lIle aux Pies’ Magpie Island, dominated by granite cliffs and protected by the ‘Grand Site Naturel’ label. Or you could visit the Lan Bern and Magoar nature reserve with its Highland ponies or take in Guerlédan lake, which stretches over 400 ha and is the biggest lake in Brittany.
Bracing activities: paddles at the ready!
Your older kids just love splashing around in the water: take them to the Glissières de Glomel where they can try doing a balancing act on the water slides in an unsinkable kayak. The white-water centre at Inzinzac- Lochrist has a large course adapted and accessible to all levels of paddlers, as well as offering kayaking trips and the only kayak lift in France. Feeling a bit less adventurous? Then you could take out a pedalo or join in a nautical trek.
To discover the canals
How does a lock work? Why is the canal called ‘a tidal river’? What does a bargeman do? If your children are curious to know, but you’re not quite sure, then why not come and visit one of the former lock houses that have been reconverted into educational centres? They will help you understand the waterways, and with their workshops, models and enthusiastic guides, the Maison de la Rance and the Maison du Canal d'Ille-et-Rance discovery centres, the Musée de la Batellerie waterways museum in Redon, and the interpretation centres in Aulne and Hyères can all show you that learning can be really fun.
Take the helm
To make the most of the canal from the water, then why not take a riverboat cruise. At just 8 km/h, you can sit back and enjoy the trip and take in all the things that make the canal such a lively place. If you prefer navigating and negotiating the locks yourself, become captain for the day (or even a few days), and escape with the family by hiring one of the many live-on boats available.