When you think of making a pilgrimage in France, you might think of the Way of St James. That’s not the only one though, and Brittany also has its own holy route called the Tro Breizh which dates back to the Middle Ages, like that of Santiago de Compostela.
The Tro Breiz, or ‘Tour de Bretagne’, is a circular pilgrimage that consists of visiting the seven Breton saints in their districts: Corentin in Quimper, Paul Aurelian in Saint-Pol-de-Léon, Tugdual in Tréguier, Brieuc in Saint-Brieuc, Malo in Saint-Malo, Samson in Dol-de-Bretagne and Patern in Vannes. Five of the saints were monks who came from Wales between the 5th and 7th centuries. They brought Celtic Christianity to Armorica (the other name for Brittany).
During your journey, you’ll discover that Breton saints are numerous. There are more than 1,000, many with surprising names such as Sainte-Eliboubane or Saint-Gonéry.
This Collection leads you through Brittany over a full week by bike. The average daily distance is about 80 kilometres (50 mi). During these eight days, you’ll find historic sites and sleepy villages in the heart of Brittany. The landscapes are varied and are often wild with peaceful roads, especially inland and in the Armorique Regional Natural Park, which includes the Black Mountains (in Breton: Menez Du) and the Arrée Mountains.
The gradients aren’t comparable to those of the Alps or the Pyrenees, but Brittany is still a land of cyclists and there are plenty of hills to climb every day. The terrain is rarely flat except after Vannes in the Morbihan region of southern Brittany.
At each stage, you’ll have no difficulty finding accommodation or somewhere to eat, no matter where you stop. There’s no need to make reservations, even in the height of the tourist season.
This Collection is aimed at both beginners and experienced cyclists, plus gravel riders. While Brittany has a rainy reputation, it’s more accurate to say that the four seasons can follow one another in a single day. So remember to carry all-weather clothing. While you can cycle throughout the year, I recommend that you explore from spring to autumn.
You’ll discover beautiful natural sites such as the granite chaos of the rivers and the moors of the Monts d'Arrée, the magical forests of Huelgoat and Brocéliande and the superb cathedrals of Quimper and Tréguier.
The city of Saint-Brieuc is a good example of the street art I am particularly fond of. This city is very well served by train, and its SNCF station will be your point of departure and arrival.
The food in this region is hearty with many specialities. Excellent local beers are also served in every bar you stop at, so you’ll never go hungry or thirsty.
One last practical tip: pick up a local newspaper to see where to find the Fez-Noz, the traditional dances that take place every Saturday night. It's the best way to meet locals of all ages.
Ready to get going? Create and customize your own version of this adventure using the full Tour below as a template.
Last updated: November 1, 2021
For this first stage of this revisited tour of Brittany, you will leave from the town of Saint-Brieuc, opposite the train station.
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Bike Touring Collection by komoot
Bike Touring Collection by Katherine Moore
Hiking Collection by Angela Pulliero
Hiking Collection by Claudia Aguilar González