Canalside Villages in France – Canal de Nantes à Brest

Are you looking for a canalside home in France? I am starting this new series with the best canalside villages beside the Nantes à Brest canal. This canal extends from the Loire-Atlantique to Brittany in the north west of France. The canal circumnavigates several of the loveliest villages in this area, so I have set a rule of thumb that all the villages featured must be within 750m of the canal. All of these villages have a population of under 5000 – big enough to have a vibrant community, but small enough to have a unique sense of community.

This is a fantastic area with a rich history and strong links to Cornwall. Medieval heritage abounds, so you will see picturesque half timbered houses and ancient churches and chateaux in several of the villages. If you love French food you will adore the wonderful boulangeries, fabulous markets, and gastronomical delights of the area.

You will enjoy a wide variety of local events and festivals throughout the year, some of which are based around the waterways. Some of the villages have strong associations with sport, in particular kayaking, outdoor adventure parks, karting, motocross, and horse racing, but if you prefer something more sedate, many of the villages have pétanque clubs. Traditional step dancing groups can be found in almost every village, along with a vibrant music scene, especially traditional accordion groups and other folk bands.

You should note that parts of the Nantes à Brest canal are canalised rivers and several villages are near confluences. As a result there is some history of flooding in villages along the canal. Please be very cautious when choosing a home in a low lying part of a village.

La Chevallerais

La Chevallerais is on a canal section of the Nantes à Brest canal in the Pays de la Loire, Loire-Atlantique. The population in 2018 was 1,541. The official La Chevallerais website provides plenty of local information. Below is a lovely montage video of village life.

Guenrouet

Guenrouet is on a canalised section of the river l’Isac in Loire Atlantique. It had a population of 3,357 in 2018. The official website is here. Below is a lovely drone video of the village.

Saint-Martin-sur-Oust

Saint-Martin-sur-Oust is on the canalised section of the River Oust, in Morbihan, Brittany. The population in 2018 was 1,292. There is plenty of useful information on the Saint-Martin-sur-Oust official website. I couldn’t find any good videos of the village to share but the video below shows the lock at Saint Martin.

Saint-Congard

Saint-Congard is on the canalised section of the River Oust, in Morbihan, Brittany. It had a population of 780 in 2018. The village is quite flat, with a D road running through it. Below is a video of a Canal Festival in Saint Congard in 2019, which is dedicated to Saint Nicolas, the patron saint of ferrymen. The hosts on their boat are William and Lydia.

Malestroit

Malestroit is on the canalised section of the River Oust, in Morbihan, Brittany. The population was 2,460 in 2018. There is plenty of useful information on the Malestroit page of the Brittany tourism website. The video below provides an excellent montage of the village and canal. There is some flooding in this area, so take care where you buy!

Le Roc-Saint-André

Le Roc-Saint-André, Val d’Oust, is on the canalised section of the River Oust, in Morbihan, Brittany. The population in 2017 was 938. There is some flooding in this area, so take care where you buy!

Le Roc-Saint-André (via Wikimedia Commons)

Montertelot

Montertelot is a little village on the canalised section of the River Oust, in Morbihan, Brittany. The population was 355 in 2018. There is some flooding in this area, so take care where you buy!

Montertelot (via Wikimedia Commons)

Guillac

Guillac is on the canalised section of the River Oust, in Morbihan, Brittany. The population of Guillac in 2018 was 1,350. Sadly I have not found any good videos of the village. There is plenty of information about the village on the Guillac official website.

Ecluse de Clan, Guillac (via Wikimedia Commons)

Josselin

Josselin is a beautiful, vibrant village with its picture perfect waterside chateau is on the canalised section of the River Oust, in Morbihan, Brittany. In 2018 it had a population of 2,498. If you would like to know more about Josselin there is an excellent feature on the official Brittany Tourism website. The official video below provides an overview of this lovely medieval town.

Rohan

Rohan is on the canalised section of the River Oust, in Morbihan, Brittany. In 2018 the population was 1,633. There is plenty of information on Rohan’s official website.

Rohan (via Wikimedia Commons)

Saint-Gérand

Saint-Gérand is on a canal section of the Nantes à Brest canal in Morbihan, Brittany. The population in 2018 was 1,126.

Gouarec

Gouarec is on a canal section of the Nantes à Brest canal in Côtes-d’Armor, Brittany. The population in 2018 was 942. There is a very large British expat community here – more than a quarter of Gouarec’s population is British. The video below shows the lock at Gouarec from a drone camera.

Plélauff

Plélauff is on a canal section of the Nantes à Brest canal in Côtes-d’Armor, Brittany. The population in 2018 was 631. There is an official website for Plelauff here. The kayak ramps look like a lot of fun here!

I hope you enjoyed browsing through this collection of villages. If you can improve on any of the links, photos and videos I have chosen, please let me know!