Stage site for the 4th time
Town in the department of Côtes-d'Armor (22)
Population: 2,560 for Guerlédan (Mûrois or St-Guennains)
Personalities: Jean Baptiste Camille Corot (1796-1875, father of Impressionism), Christophe Le Fur (starred chef, L’Auberge Grand'Maison)
Specialities: Crêpes and galettes (pancakes, including mashed potato galettes),
scallops from the Bay of Saint-Brieuc.
Sport: Guerlédan canoeing club (with members of the French team), ACL bicycle club (cyclo). Events: Trail de Guerlédan (May), June in Guerlédan (national games for adapted sports), International football tournament for youngsters (largest tournament in France in the U13 category), Raid de Guerlédan (September)
Culture, festivals: Fête du Lac de Guerlédan (15 August, flea market, hiking, water spots, fest-noz, fireworks on the lake, etc.), Biozone Fair (September, regional organic fair)
Economy: shops, crafts, livestock (poultry), tourism (Lake Guerlédan, Quénécan forest)
Websites/ Social networks: www.mairieguerledan.bzh / www.cotesdarmor.fr / facebook.com/cotesdarmornotreDepartement / twitter.com/cotesdarmor22 / www.cotesdarmor.com / www.loudeac-communaute.bzh
MÛR-DE-BRETAGNE, A STORY
Towards green tourism
Although Lake Guerlédan is one of the most emblematic sites in the Côtes d'Armor department, the assets of Central Brittany are often overlooked. In order to make this area even more attractive, the department has launched an unprecedented development programme. The Guerlédan open-air base, the Nantes-Brest canal and the Bon Repos abbey: 3 flagship sites are concerned and will enrich their offer around green tourism, nature sports and heritage. The departmental base of Guerlédan is hosting a tree climbing course, in addition to its nature sport activities and with a view to opening it up to families... The Nantes-Brest canal is gradually being developed to facilitate roaming and canoeing, fishing and hiking. Its partial reopening to navigation allows boat trips and rentals to be on offer. Lock houses are used for events and other services for visitors. A future boat lift could be built in 2025 and would allow navigation on the whole of the Canal, cut off by the lake. Finally, the Bon Repos Abbey has been the subject of a development plan, in order to facilitate access and to enhance its architectural, landscape and environmental qualities. In addition to this concerted project, there is a strong commitment to preserving the remarkable areas of the territory and to developing an exceptional network of hiking trails.
MÛR-DE-BRETAGNE AND CYCLING
In ten years, the Côte de Mûr or Côte de Menez-Hiez has definitively become a classic of the Tour de France and has confirmed its nickname of "Breton Alpe d'Huez". Since 2011, and the prophetic victory of Cadel Evans announcing his final victory in that edition, the Tour has twice come back to Mûr to crown punchers like Alexis Vuillermoz (2015) and Dan Martin (2018). This year, the riders will twice climb the hill, tailor-made for specialists of this kind of effort, among whom we cannot help thinking about Julian Alaphilippe. In 2018, the Frenchman finished 4th behind Dan Martin, Pierre Latour and Alejandro Valverde, all of them perfectly suited for this kind of finishes, as well as Swiss rider Marc Hirschi, who will discover the place, or Primoz Roglic, 10th in the same place two seasons ago.
It was however during its first appearance in the Tour, in 1947, that Côte de Mûr acquired its reputation: René Vietto suffered a terrible failure there during the longest time-trial in the history of the Grande Boucle between Vannes and Saint-Brieuc (139 km) and lost his Yellow Jersey as well as that edition, finally won by Jean Robic.
It has subsequently seen some of the greatest climbers ride past, such as Lucien Van Impe, who was the title holder at the time and who rode it in the lead in 1977.
Situated at the foot of Mûr de Bretagne, Lake Guerlédan is the largest lake in Brittany and extends over more than 13 km (approximately 300 ha). Entirely artificial, it came into being at the beginning of the 20th century with the construction of a hydroelectric dam at Mûr de Bretagne, on the course of the Blavet, to which Guerlédan refers, meaning "wide stream". The power plant was the first in France to produce electricity. Still in operation today, the dam required a technical examination and renovation work in 2015, which meant that the lake had to be completely drained. The Tour de France was passing through that year and spectators were able to take advantage of the visits organised at the bottom of the lake.
The Guerlédan lake partly marks the boundary between the Morbihan and the Côtes-d'Armor.
The Nantes to Brest Canal
Built in 1806 by Napoleon to open up central Brittany and link the major Breton ports without going by sea, the Nantes-Brest Canal and its 119 locks took 34 years to build. Lined with magnificent towpaths, the canal is very popular with hikers, fishermen and canoeists. In Côtes d'Armor, the 42 km of towpaths are an integral part of the Vélodyssée, the long cycle route from southern England to Hendaye.
Guerlédan Mountain Bike Station
Created by the department, the open-air base offers introductory courses in outdoor activities for everyone: sailing, canoeing, climbing, mountain biking, orienteering, etc. It also houses a mountain bike station with 12 circuits of varying levels (300 km) and a wide range of services (bike hire, equipment cleaning, guidance by professional instructors, etc.).
Bon Repos Abbey (Bon-Repos-sur-Blavet)
The Cistercian abbey of Bon Repos was founded in 1184 by Alain III of Rohan. The viscount entrusted the Cistercian monks with the mission of establishing a vast agricultural estate on the site. Sold as a national asset during the Revolution, it was then used as a textile factory, a refuge for the Chouans, and as quarters for workers on the Nantes-Brest canal, before falling into disuse. In 1986, a vast restoration project was set up by the Association des Compagnons de Bon Repos. The renovation of the cloister and the 18th century building have enabled the abbey to welcome new visitors: contemporary art exhibitions, a sound and light show every summer, etc.
Woods and forests, playgrounds for hikers
A land of water, woods and forests, the area around Guerlédan offers remarkable and well-preserved natural spaces: Cornec, Caurel and Kériven woods, Quénécan forest, the moors of Liscuis, Lan Bern and Magoar, the Poulancre valley and the Hilvern ditch.... offer a variety of walking opportunities, in the heart of a real "green lung" and in immediate contact with a rich biodiversity
The Sainte-Suzanne chapel
Built in 1496 and listed as a Historical Monument, the Saint-Suzanne chapel is home to magnificent painted panelling and other 18th century paintings. The building and the large oak trees that surround it were painted by the Jean-Baptiste Corot, father of Impressionism, notably in the painting "Une grille ombragée par de grands arbres" (A gate shaded by large trees), exhibited in the Louvre Museum.
TO EAT :
Galettes with mashed potatoes
The recipe is from Pontivy, but the 16 km separating the two towns means that Mûr-de-Bretagne can lay claim to this mashed potato pancake, which is a speciality of central Morbihan. It is a pancake like any other, which once cooked can be decorated to taste with sausage, bacon, andouille, or salmon, with the difference that the classic cake dough (flour, salt and water) is mixed with mashed potatoes. This obviously makes the dough more compact, more nourishing and less light, but that's what makes it so charming.