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The Seven Saints Pilgrimage — France’s Tro Breizh revisited

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The Seven Saints Pilgrimage — France’s Tro Breizh revisited

Bike Touring Collection by Vincent Reboul

8

Tours

40:23 h

400 mi

18,350 ft

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.

On The Map

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Tours & Highlights

  • Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    Difficult
    06:02
    61.9 mi
    10.2 mph
    2,700 ft
    2,975 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    For this first stage of this revisited tour of Brittany, you will leave from the town of Saint-Brieuc, opposite the train station.You are going to travel back in time because this city resolutely turned towards modernity claims the title of Brittany's capital of Street-Art. The contrast is striking between its old quarters and the large painted facades. No less than 43 buildings were painted by more than 40 different artists from all walks of life.

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  • Difficult
    05:22
    52.7 mi
    9.8 mph
    2,100 ft
    1,650 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    It's a day full of literature that awaits you. Indeed, the route will take you first through the superb Château de Combourg, renowned among other things for having inspired Chateaubriand for the writing of his novel Mémoires d'Outre-Tomb.Halfway through, after about forty kilometers, you will arrive in the charming town of Bécherel, also called the city of the book. …

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  • Difficult
    04:35
    47.2 mi
    10.3 mph
    2,075 ft
    2,550 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today will be a castle day. No less than three beautiful buildings will be on your itinerary: the castle of Trecesson, that of Trédion and finally the castle of Hermine in the city center of Vannes. It is a day that can be described as "rolling" where many small climbs and descents follow one another, and which takes a short part of the EuroVelo 1 route.

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  • Difficult
    05:11
    52.0 mi
    10.0 mph
    1,375 ft
    1,400 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This day will be very varied. The route will take you through a historic harbor haven, prehistoric sites, a tiny Breton island, as well as a superb natural site.Your first stop will be the port of Saint-Goustan, which has kept all its authenticity. It is a real refuge for boats in stormy weather. You will pass over the medieval bridge to get there.

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  • Difficult
    05:09
    51.7 mi
    10.0 mph
    2,225 ft
    2,250 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today, you will continue west, passing successively through charming little towns which have the particularity of being on the edge of a coastal river. You will first enter Pont-Scorff, then Quimperlé to arrive after about 40 kilometers at one of the most emblematic villages of southern Finistère: Pont-Aven.This village is really very beautiful and you will understand when you …

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  • Difficult
    04:53
    43.7 mi
    8.9 mph
    3,425 ft
    2,900 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    Today you will venture into wild Brittany by climbing the peaks of the Armorican massif at Saint Michel de Braspart, and exploring the granite chaos of Huelgoat.

    The Armorican Massif is a mountain over 30 million years old that has been almost completely eroded.

    The Breton singer Patrick Ewen, who lives in the region, has often proclaimed not without irony …

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  • Difficult
    05:16
    51.6 mi
    9.8 mph
    2,625 ft
    3,075 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This beautiful day will take you back to the Côtes-d'Armor department with the beautiful town of Tréguier as your destination. The roads are very peaceful.The discovery of the day will undoubtedly be the site of the Valley of the Saints. These granite statues over three meters high dominating the valley and standing on a hill will surprise you. It is a collective of artists who is at the origin of this beautiful project which highlights Breton culture.

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  • Difficult
    03:55
    39.1 mi
    10.0 mph
    1,800 ft
    1,625 ft
    Expert bike ride. Very good fitness required. Mostly paved surfaces. Suitable for all skill levels.

    This last stage of this tour of Brittany will bring you back to your starting point, the Saint-Brieuc SNCF station. You will arrive in town without really noticing it, because the route strives to pass through the wilderness of the city: the beautiful valley of Gouët and its granite chaos.Beforehand, you will have made the discovery of the castle of La Roche-Jagu which dominates the Trieux, and of Pontrieux, nicknamed the little Venice of Trégor.

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Questions and Comments

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Collection Stats

  • Tours
    8
  • Distance
    400 mi
  • Duration
    40:23 h
  • Elevation
    18,350 ft

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The Seven Saints Pilgrimage — France’s Tro Breizh revisited

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