Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
Bosnoweth Coxy
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Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby Bosnoweth Coxy » 6 May 2011, 4:15pm

We would like to go cycle touring this year with the family in Northern France. We will have 3 children aged 8, 10 & 11 so were thinking of taking 2 tandems and a road bike so we can cover the miles without wearing the kids out. The older two children can alternate on the tandem/roadbike. As we live in Cornwall, getting the train to Plymouth then Ferry to Roscoff seems to make most sense, although we could go from Portsmouth if that opens up more opportunities. We will be camping over approx 8 days. Does anyone have particularly good experiences of trips for a group like ours that will give us a good point to start planning? Thanks

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Re: Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby JJF » 7 May 2011, 9:12am

If you are looking for relatively level routes you might like to look at and ... _index.php
These "voies vertes", green routes are for walkers and cyclists. They are based on former railway lines and canal tow paths.
I have used some of them and they seem to be popular among contributors to this forum. However I suspect that you will want to visit beaches so voies vertes will only be useful to you in part.

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Re: Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby mill4six » 7 May 2011, 9:41am

Check out the Brest to Nantes canal for a traffic free towpath. You'll not make much speed but it could form a picturesque portion of your tour. We picked it up at Gouarec and cycled to the Lac de Guenedin ... 27623&z=13

The lake is a popular local spot for camping and swimming with a cafe/restaurant and sandy beach. We also rode the Voie vert from Huelgoat to Morlaix and on another occasion from St Malo to Mayenne, The roads are in better condition than ours these days, every village has a cafe and the drivers are mostly considerate. Enjoy.

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Re: Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby groberts » 7 May 2011, 9:47am

Not so convenient from Cornwall but if you took the ferry from Portsmouth to Le Havre you could cycle along the very nice Normandy coast to Dieppe, then camp at the Martigny municipal site just south of Dieppe and 'tour' the area using it as a base. We've been there three times now it's so good and incorporates the wonderful Avenue Verte - a 40 mile voises verte which can be linked with local roads to make very nice day rides, then circle back via Rouen and down the Seine to Le Harve. I mention this (a) as the AV is outstanding and the local area very good for cycling too + (b) the campsite is situated between a series of lakes and rivers with watersports and other facilities for the children.

This post outlines our first trip there:


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Re: Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby meic » 7 May 2011, 10:30am

Unless you have tandems with couplings that enable then to be taken apart you will probably not be allowed (able even?) to get them on a train. Trailers and trailer-bikes arent allowed either (unless packed away beyond recognition :wink: ).
Yma o Hyd

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Re: Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby Millhouse » 7 May 2011, 11:18am

For a slightly different approach try googling 'Breton Bikes'. They will provide all the camping equipment,cycle routes and bikes and are child friendly.
I used them a few years ago and found them to be excellent.

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Re: Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby Swallow » 7 May 2011, 11:55am

This may be of some interest to you ... ;read=9907. Incidentally I will be taking the train from Falmouth to Plymouth in June to begin a cycle tour in Brittany, including the Nantes Brest canal. You could give First Great Western a call but I found it easier in the end to go to the station for information and to book my ticket. Only cost me £5 return by booking in advance
'Kernow bys Vyken'

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Re: Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby PW » 8 May 2011, 12:21pm

We went there several times when the kids were young back in the 80s/90s. There's an excellent campsite at the top of the hill as you ride out of Roscoff (Manoir du Kerestat). The road across the N coast is fine if you want to get a fair way quickly, motorists are civilised. Kerlouen has a beachside campsite and a supermarket a mile away in the village, it also has an all night folk festival sometime in August.
Going south the Monts D'Arree aren't very high, but the S coast gets busy and the heat builds up inland. SW is good, Locronan and the peninsulas sticking out into the Atlantic, but beware the valley running inland from Brest has a very steep northern flank, which you have to climb on the way back! (I think the worst gradient is near a place called Landerneau where I had to try to keep up with a mad 9 year old who took on a French racing cyclist up the hill. :roll: Fine for them, I was carrying the family camping gear!) :cry: .
Enjoy it, we did.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!

Bosnoweth Coxy
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Re: Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby Bosnoweth Coxy » 9 May 2011, 2:32pm

Many thanks for the great responses. much appreciated.

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Re: Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby hamish » 9 May 2011, 9:23pm

I have been on a number of cycling tours with kids in Brittany. We have used a triplet and latterly a tandem. One time we went with friends - 5 adults and 8 kids! It is a great place for touring. My tips:

It rains in Brittany. Take good cags and use mudguards. Good tents help too and a tarp (with groundsheet) is fantastic- you can use it to cook, eat, read and hang out underneath. We would have struggled to stay sane and comfortable without ours (it is a Jack Wolfskin with poles but there are others such as alpkit).

We used a trailer (Burley Nomad) behind the tandem - makes packing all that stuff much easier.

Coast can be nice - but is busier. Inland is lovely - quiet roads and villages. It is hilly at times but not as steep as Wales. Tourist information offices give you an up to date list of camp sites. The camping a la ferme sites are great.

We seem to fill a day cycling about 50kms with kids- so don't be too ambitious on distances.

Look for the smallest/quietest roads and voies vertes if avaliable.

That campsite at Manoir du Kerestat may now be closed (if I am thinking of the right one) there is a nice one at Plougoulm - a bit of a ride via Santec but a nice place to get to on arrival in Roscoff.

We have also ridden from San Malo to Caen - another good trip. San Malo is lovely.

Anyway, have fun and pm me if you want more detail.

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Re: Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby 2011hn » 6 Sep 2011, 10:04pm

We've just completed a 2 week cycle/camping holiday across Brittany from Roscoff with 2 children aged 11 and 13. A great first family bike trip. The voies vertes from Morlaix to Risporden offer perfect, fairly easy cycling. The book "Brittany's Green Ways: A Guide to Re-used Railway Tracks and Canal Towpaths by G.H. Randall and Wendy Mewes has maps of cycle tracks, guidance (including gradients!) and details of campsites, picnic spots and hotels. Last 10 days of August the campsites are quiet with no need to book. A real mix - a cheap municpal campsite at Carhaix right beside the river, St Nicolas campsite at Port Manech on the South coast with pool and beach and our favourite - Camping des Bruyeres at Le Cloître St Thégonnec South of Morlaix (a few hilly km from the green way, take the second exit if going South for an easier cycle) - a relaxed low key site in a quiet secluded spot, yet with everything you might want, an extremely helpful owner, ideal for kids and campfires allowed. Another option would be Roscoff to St Malo - can nearly all be done off road.

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Re: Family Cycle Tour in Brittany

Postby bretonbikes » 5 Mar 2012, 3:39pm

Just posted this which may be of interest - feel free to email if you want any more advice. ... route.html
35 years of cycletouring, 30 years of running cycling holidays, 5 years of running a campsite for cyclists - there's a pattern here...