Brittany. Along the canals, the houses of the lock keepers are reborn as low-cost hotels

Brittany, the houses of the gatekeepers as the last “refuge” for lovers of slow tourism, in the form of an itinerary on a river boat. The idea – in some ways similar to the initiatives that have also had the purpose of lighthouses and abandoned cantonal houses in Italy, is taking shape along the more than 500 kilometers of the Nantes-Brest canal and the smaller lanes associated with it, in a hinterland, that relative proximity to the sea makes it even more fascinating.

The project is actually from the region of Brittany. Those interested in restoring homes that were once used by lock managers, now activated automatically, must present projects with a tourist call (hotel, small restaurant, but also bicycle rental and so on), aimed at users of canal networks and its shores, or even offer “new or innovative” recreational boating activities. If the project is accepted, the region will take over the restoration of the building’s foundation and leave the interior to the designer. All this together with the determination of a temporary employment contract, against payment of a moderate annual rent.

The Boju Lock House in Gueltas, a village with 500 souls in Morbihan, is among the first to benefit from the program. Managed by the local municipality, it has long been used by tourists, hikers and travelers traveling on the towpath between Nantes and Brest on foot, by bicycle or on horseback. The idea was to make people feel at home. “A real place for hospitality”, says Mayor Sylvette Le Strat – who has kept her “soul”, with its blue shutters, the kitchen with the fireplace and upstairs, two bedrooms. When the house “did not create any jobs – says the mayor – it was decided to create other residences around it”. They were born that way before pénettes, of the mini-boats anchored to the shore, and somehow inspired by the barges which ensure the transport of domestic animals from one bank to another; and later, mini-accommodation inside the trees, with a rounded shape, like cocoons, offering only accommodation and space for bicycles. All with the desire to maintain “affordable prices, in the range of 30-40 euros per night”. To answer guests’ questions, a creperie was opened in front of the canal. Today “we have created 4 new seasonal jobs”, reports Le Strat.

A few dozen kilometers away, Eddy Pellan has built his project in a different way with a focus on fishing lovers: Two floating villas, real mini apartments complete with terrace, equipped with everything, including protection from the cold in winter. And with a lot of phytodepuration of the waters. “Not only was my idea appreciated,” Pellan told France Presse, “but it was decided to add a service of electric riverboats on the river quay at Josselin at the foot of the castle.

Always not far from the Gueltas, the house of the Poulhibed lock is transformed in the summer into an exhibition hall, without losing its recently acquired role as a place for the service of travelers. “water available, biological toilets, a barbecue, picnic tables – lists Monique Le Clezio, secretary of the” Canal Guerlédan-Pontivy “association, which is the soul of the place.

A penette (afp)

A way to reshape life along the water in the interior of Brittany, which is no more than a response “to the recent need to enjoy holidays in a slower, gentler, more discovery state”, analyzes Gwenola de Araujo, Director of the Office of the Office . tourism in the Pontivy Community. “A discovery that is not limited to the landscape, but which becomes the desire, at the table, to consume products that can hardly be found anywhere else, to discover local crafts and so on.”

“The Breton hinterland offers something different and responds to the needs of an audience asking for tranquility, but also to another type of tourist, a lover of discovery – explains the dindaca from Gueltas – Supporting these needs allows us to improve our territory – and our manufacturers – and to create jobs The latest addition is a pénette cbr that offers wellness massage and sophrology sessions, just to alleviate the effects of a more tiring day on the bike than expected.

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