The Pontivy Communauté area has a rich and varied heritage, including locks and lock houses all along the canals! But why are all these locks and houses here? 

It all began with Napoleon Ier who decided to channel the river The Blavet and the construction of the Nantes to Brest canal at the beginning of the 19e century. Its purpose was to supply its troops, who were being held up in military ports by the English army. Eventually, Napoleon III completed the construction work. The canals did not serve a military purpose, but a commercial one.

In order to navigate these canals, locks had to be built to allow barges to pass through. But who was responsible for opening and closing these locks? The lock-keepers! They lived in lock houses of identical architecture all along the Nantes-Brest canal, close to the locks. Some looked after several locks, others just one. 

Today, navigation on these canals is mainly for tourists. It is no longer possible to sail from Nantes to Brest since the construction of the Lake Guerlédan damwhich cuts off this river traffic. Our region is unique in that it has 52 locks spread over just 20 km, making a total of 238 locks over the 364 kilometres of the Nantes-Brest canal. This makes for a unique landscape on the canal: lock ladders! It takes no less than 2 days to sail through the locks along our territory, leaving you plenty of time to admire your surroundings.

Useful information

From now on, to pass through these locks, you have to contact the local lock-keepers who travel to open and close them, as they no longer live locally.

The lock-keeper's houses have been neglected for many years. The region would like to rehabilitate several of them. That's why some of them, such as the Maison du canal et du terroirYou can also ask for tourist information or take part in a tourist event. dramatised visit ! Others welcome you to sleep in or even visit an exhibition!

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