© Noé C. Photography
Along the waterOUTINGS AND DISCOVERIES IN THE VILAINE VALLEY

The Vilaine Valley

The Vilaine river is the link between majestic landscapes, charming villages and towns steeped in history. The valley is the starting point for many walks. Set off to discover exceptional nature, tamed and preserved by humans for your greatest pleasure.

Nature at its best

The Vilaine was one of the first rivers to be canalised in France and offers landscapes of rare beauty, sculpting its bed in one of the oldest geological massifs in France. An adventure in blue and green, sometimes with a wild side: at the site of Corbinières, the watercourse cuts deeply into the sandstone and blue shale; 70 metres higher, the pinewood cliffs are reflected in the river. Protected since 1982, these 770 hectares are home to a wealth of fauna and flora, over which one of the most beautiful viaducts in France spans. The Gannedel marsh is home to a quantity of bird species; in this universe lined by hillsides and bocage plains and where water lilies, primrose willow, willows and reeds flourish, life abounds.

The route accompanies this variety of scenery, suddenly moving away and rising to allow the walker to admire the bocage landscape on the horizon, emerging from the bottom of an emerald vault.  In Saint-Jacques-de-la-Lande, the river seems to scatter and multiply into a multitude of ponds that border its bed, while in Courbe (Bourg-des-Comptes), it becomes a wide loop lined with steep hills and gravel quarries.


Stones and water…

Redon, at the crossroads of the waterways of Western France with the Nantes-Brest canal and the Channel-Ocean link, was the maritime port of Rennes. The Grand’Rue and its half-timbered houses, the shipowners’ buildings on Quai Duguay-Trouin with beautiful wrought iron balconies, Richelieu tower, Carmoy hotel, etc. are reminders of the city’s prestigious past. Today, pleasure boating has replaced the working barges. Redon is a religious city and very early on equipped itself with buildings in line with its strategic importance, between Vilaine and Oust. The village of Langon has a more modest but equally as charming religious heritage with Saint Pierre’s church and Saint Agathe’s chapel. Not far from here, the Port-de-Roche metal bridge elegantly spans the river. Before stopping at Pléchâtel, you’ll pass the port of Guipry-Messac, on the salt workers’ route. In Pont-Réan, the Boël water gap is one of the most picturesque landscapes in the valley and the starting point for many walks.

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