Brittany: the second life of the lock houses, now ecotourism destinations

The Boju lock house in Gueltas (Morbihan), quite elegant with its new plantations starting to grow on its facade, benefited from one of the calls for projects launched by the region, covering about 500 kilometers navigable waterways of Brittany she wanted to bring to life.

Brings life to the lock houses of Brittany

Applicants – public, private or associations – must offer services (accommodation, snacks, bike rental or repair, etc.) to users of the canal and its surroundings, or even offer nautical leisure activities “new and innovative”.

If the project is selected, the region will undertake the shell work for the renovation of the house and leave the restoration of the interior to the project manager, with whom a temporary lease agreement (COT) will be entered into for a small annual rent. Boju’s house is managed by the Municipality of Gueltas, a rural town of about 500 people.

“A welcoming place”

“It’s really a welcoming place,” assures Mayor Sylvette Le Strat. It welcomes many “walkers” who take the towpath along the Nantes-Brest canal on foot, by bike or even on horseback.

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The idea was that “let us feel at home” and keep “its soul” during the renovation. A winning bet with its blue shutters: on the ground floor, the kitchen and living room with fireplace, separated by the staircase that leads to two bedrooms on the upper floor, for a total of eight beds, form a rational and pleasant unit.

Since “the house alone did not provide employment, we decided to create other housing nearby,” the elected official continues. This is how the “Pénettes” were born, placed a little further out on the water and inspired by the boats that once ensured the transfer of livestock from one bank to the other. They answer them under the trees with a few mini wooden houses with rounded shapes, like cocoons, which only offer places to sleep and store bicycles. Everything with the wish that “it remains affordable”: 30 to 40 euros per night. And to meet guest demand, a creperie overlooking the canal opened this year. In all, “we created four jobs on the site,” some seasonally, Ms. Le Strat says.

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Floating lodges

A few tens of kilometers further, Eddy Pellan has built his project in a different spirit, more aimed at fishermen: two floating lodges, real small apartments with terrace, fully equipped even for winter. All with phytocleaning. “Not only did my idea seduce the region, but we also added an electric boat activity on the Josselin river quay at the foot of the castle,” he says happily.

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Not far from Gueltas, the Poulhibet lock house is transformed into an exhibition space in the summer. Above all, however, it should serve the homeless: “There is water, dry toilets, a barbecue, picnic tables,” lists Monique Le Clézio, secretary of the “Canal Guerlédan-Pontivy” association, which enlivens the place.

A new approach to tourism

These activities along the waterways “are also part of this new way of spending holidays that are a bit slow, gentle and exploratory”, analyzes Gwenola de Araujo, director of the Tourist Office of the municipality of Pontivy.

“Discovery isn’t just about landscapes, it’s also about being able to eat things you can’t eat elsewhere and discovering crafts you can’t find elsewhere,” she says. . Inland Brittany offers something different and meets the needs of an audience looking for tranquility and a different kind of discovery (…) it helps to enhance our territory, including our producers, and to create jobs,” concludes Sylvette Le Strat together.

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Last born in Gueltas: a pénette that offers “wellness massages” or sophrology sessions. Comfort after a day of cycling!

Also read:

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