The Blavet Valley
The Blavet river flows through an exceptionally picturesque valley from Hennebont to Pontivy and offers a wide variety of activities and places to visit, yet it is only 20 to 30 minutes away from the beaches around Port Louis and Larmor Plage. With its mild climate this is an ideal location for a holiday at any time of the year.
The river is navigable to Pontivy where it joins the Nantes Brest canal, with relaxing boat trips or canoe hire for the more energetic. For those who walk or cycle the tow path can be followed throughout its length, and if this is still too energetic the river has the reputation as being one of the best coarse fishing rivers, including salmon and trout, in France, (permit required).
LAC DE GUERLEDAN - inland water-sports
The lake, forest deep gorges, narrow valleys and rushing torrents are all more typical of the foothills of the Pyrenees than of Brittany. In 1923 an engineer from Pontivy decided to change the course of the river Blavet and am the mass of water that now forms the largest lake in Brittany. He submerged 17 locks and built a dam 155 feet (46m) high and 660 feet (201m) wide, in the certain knowledge that the area would become a prime tourist destination, as indeed has proved to be the case.
Relaxing at the lakeside - the rustic landscape and forest are favourite places for walkers, ramblers, mountain-bikers and horse-riders, and there are many signposted paths to follow. The lake is also popular with water-sports enthusiasts, and the watersports centre is open all year round. There are dinghies and rowing boats as well as pedalos, water-skiing and kayaking. At the lakeside there are look-outs, outdoor cafes and other amenities where parents or the less active can enjoy the view without expending too much energy.
BAUD AND DISTRICT - at the edge of the Camors forest
Baud stands at the edge of the Camors forest near the Lanvaux heath, and used to be a town of prosperous craftsmen. While wood-cutters and pit-sawyers were busy in the forest, clog-makers, carpenters and cabinet-makers worked in the workshops in the town. Today, the town lives mainly from the food-processing industry, but it has also developed as an enterprising tourist centre, which benefits from the woods, rivers, ponds and religious buildings in the district. Fishing in the Evel - coarse fishermen flock to the Evel to fish for pike and perch. But trout and salmon fishermen can take heart because the region also has something to offer them. The Pays d'Acceuil de la Valle du Blavet publishes a brochure listing 28 fishing areas in the vicinity for all types of angling (02 97 51 09 37).
PONTIVY - the town with two faces
Pontivy is the capital of Brittany's interior and a regional cultural centre. It used to be known as Napoleonville - the canals and straight roads were laid out by Napoleon - but the little medieval town, with its half-timbered houses, was the fiefdom of the Rohan family. Pontivy is an important agricultural centre, thanks to the rich valley of the Blavet, whose right bank is typical of Breton farmland. The countryside is dotted with chapels, some of which are far out in the fields, such as the 16thC chapel of Saint-Nicodeme.