Pontivy and the canal de Nantes à Brest © CRTB

Pontivy, a concentration of history and water

Spend a break in a natural, green car and discover Pontivy's rich history.

Pontivy, the crossroads of Brittany

Pontivy's central location means it has heritage treasures from the four corners of Brittany to offer. Located just one hour from the southern and northern coasts (valves and Saint-Brieuc), and equidistant from Brest and Rennes, Pontivy sits at the point where the roads cross … and the canals too!

The canalised river Blavet and the Nantes-Brest canal crosses the town from one end to the other. Though the town takes its name from a Monk named Ivy who built the first bridge over the river Blavet, it owes its fame to Napoleon I, who made it his strategic military and administrative center at the beginning of the 19th century. Several examples of neoclassical architecture remain from the time of the Napoloenic saga, as well as a rectilinear road network and a playful nickname: Napoleonville!

for Pontivy is primarily a place of contrasts, so don't be surprised to see rising before you, as you travel down a street, the castle of Rohan (castle of the Rohans, a princely family of the Duchy of Brittany). Remarkably well preserved, this fortified castle built in the 15th century dominates the mediaeval town of Pontivy, with its many half-half-timbered facades and cobbled streets. You can almost hear the sound of hooves.


Though it is not possible to spend a night at the castle, a weekend in Pontivy will at least provide you with a flavour of the fairytale lives of the princes of yesteryear!"

  • Pontivy © Auteurs de vues


  • Entrée du château de Pontivy © CRTB

    The Pontivy's castle

Pontivy, a landscape marked by history

A piece of historical trivia: it is said that the Emperor Napoleon III paid 300,000 gold francs for the construction of a new church out of his own pocket. When it comes to genuine history, however, the area has many religious buildings to offer Pontivy: huge crosses, churches, chapels and abbeys. The Cistercian Abbey of Notre Dame de Timadeuc in Bréhan is distinguished by its feudal origins and its gastronomic activity - who said you can't combined a spiritual retreat and fine food? There is everything you need here for a nice excursion during your holiday! If you are a fan of heritage and old stone, you will not be disappointed. Follow the course of the river Blavet and you will come across the village of Forges of the rooms, at Sainte-Brigitte steel: its thirty or so buildings bear witness to the industrial activity that took place there in the 19th century. An enjoyable history lesson to make your stay a highly informative one!

  • Vélo sur la voie verte © Fotolia

    Biking on the greenway

  • Château de Pontivy © CRTB

    The Pontivy's castle

  • Activités sur le lac de Guérledan © M. Schaffner

    Activities on the Guerlédan's lake

Green tourism at your own pace

What better than a bit of greenery to give your grey cells a rest! The forests of Quénécan and Branguily provide kilometres of trails where you can breathe nature deep into your lungs. If you prefer being carried along to the sound of lapping water, take a trip on a barge and enjoy unique views: by taking the canalised River Blavet river, it is possible to travel along the Nantes-Brest canal, past lock houses and mooring places, as far as Lake Guerlédan, Brittany's largest lake. This stretch of water, a 400 hectare reservoir between Côtes d'Armor and Morbihan, can be explored on foot, by bicycle, on horseback or via different forms of water transport from the Sordan Cove (cove of Sordan), with canoes, water ski, pedal boats and more all available - a range of competing sensations to guarantee an enjoyable, relaxing time! Had enough of going round in circles on the water? The Pontivy area offers some good reasons to climb on a bicycle. You can hire electric pedal-assist bikes at the Pontivy Tourist Office and cycle along the Voie Verte (green route: a route specially designed for walking and non-motorised transport), or you can cycle one of the numerous themed tours ("Jean Robic", a famous French cyclist;) "Green stations", with green-themed tourist attractions/facilities; ('Art in the chapels' and more), and all without too much effort: a casual cyclist's dream! Setting your own pace, you could even try the Velodyssey, a safe cycling road crossing France from Roscoff to Hendaye and extending over around 1200 km, with 25 of them between Pontivy and Rohan. Enjoy a trip at the pace of the canal, experiencing the richness of the waterway heritage as you travel along … with your feet on dry land!

Not sure where to go for an upcoming weekend away, or a longer break? Take a break in Morbihan and experience inner Brittany's relaxed pace of life. The Pontivy area is waiting to welcome you with open arms! Off head for a gentle holiday offering a wealth of new things to discover! Find somewhere to stay, choose your activities, and find about all that awaits you - the Morbihan Tourist Board's website is here to help you!

Péniche © Y. Legal

Houseboat on the Nantes - Brest's channel

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