Summer in Brittany (Day 10)

La Gacilly – Malestroit

Monday, 04.08.2014

6 Locks 34 km


La Gacilly is a typically pretty Breton granite town perched on a hill over the river Aff. What makes it that bit more special is the fact that it is the head quarters of Yves Rocher which provides a museum and a huge half wild, half formal garden which is nice for a stroll. But then I believe that water and soap is just enough for myself and my enthusiasm about the whole fragrance thing is quiet limited.
What is by far more exiting is the Festival Photo La Gacilly. Every street, every lane, even Yves gardens are dedicated to one photographer and his works. Some of them famous others not so much, but all from the USA, as the states are the partner country for 2014.

The famous: Robert Capa, the man who filmed the iconic pictures of the landing on Omaha beach, also was good friend to a lot of artists and took a lot of shots of them. Here it is Henri Matisse in his studio in Nice in 1949.


So you can imagine my surprise when I met this gentleman only minutes later:



After so much art and culture it gets time for us to set of in the wilds a again and soon we glide down the still so beautiful Aff. Êcluse 19 Painfaut marks the start of a dead straight cut of 5 km length that bypasses the floodplains of the river L’Oust.


With two hire bases on this end and Josellin at the other end this part of the Canal Nantes à Brest must be the busiest stretch of the Breton inland waterways. And sure enough, for the first time in this holiday we run up to a Penichette hire boat. On of the lock keepers warns us that there is a BIG boat in front of us. Haha, Blonker.


Just before closing time we reach Malestroit. The moorings in town as well as the ones past the lock are all full,  so we turn round and spend a very quiet night outside the campside. There is a very nice mooring with a concrete edge and solid pollards as well as a quiet usable slipway.



Summer in Brittany (Day 9)

St-Vincente-sur-Oust – La Gacilly

Sunday, 03.08.2014

0 Locks 9 km
Escapades Verticales only opens at two p.m on Sundays. So we had to while away the morning and thus it was the first real holiday in a sense that we didn’t do very much at all. We tried swimming, but the child couldn’t be convinced that there are no child munching monsters in the slightly murky deeps. So we just read, baked in the sun and eventually retired to the creperie for a light lunch.

2 p.m. came and we got underway to do some rock climbing. We got there and were equipped with gloves and a helmet. A short tuition was given on how the safety harness works and we were left on our devices. Six routes from easy to very hard kept us entertained for the next 4 hours. And for 17 € pp it really is a great adventure and an absolute must if you are in the area.


After we had exhausted ourselves we untied for a relaxed jaunt up the little River Aff. Also only navigable over 9km it is very pretty and not to be missed. It starts of at the wide flood planes where the rivers Aff and Oust meet at the Île aux Pies.


But soon the banks close in….


… and get steeper.


And much too soon we reach the head of navigation, the little harbor at La Gacilly.