Very dapper with its recent plantations which are beginning to climb along its facade, the lock house of Boju, in Gueltas (Morbihan), benefited from one of the calls for projects launched by the Region, in charge of some 500 km of navigable waterways of Brittany that it wanted to bring to life.
Applicants – public, private or associations – must offer services (accommodation, snacks, rental or repair of bicycles, etc.) for users of the canal and its surroundings, or even offer nautical leisure activities “new and innovative”.
When the project is selected, the region takes charge of the structural work of renovating the house, leaving the restoration of the interior to the project leader with whom a temporary occupancy agreement (COT) is signed in exchange for low annual rent.
Boju’s house is managed by the municipality of Gueltas, a rural town of about 500 inhabitants.
“It’s really a place of welcome”, assures the mayor, Sylvette Le Strat. It receives many “itinerants” who take the towpath along the Nantes-Brest canal on foot, by bike, or even on horseback.
The idea was that “we feel at home” while retaining “its soul” during the renovation. With its blue shutters, a successful bet: on the ground floor, kitchen and living room with fireplace, separated by the staircase leading to two bedrooms upstairs, sleeping eight in all, form a rational and pleasant whole.
As “the house alone did not provide employment, we decided to create other accommodation nearby”, continues the elected official.
This is how the “pénettes” were born, placed on the water a little further and inspired by the boats that once ensured the transshipment of livestock from one bank to the other.
They respond to them under the trees with a few mini wooden dwellings with rounded shapes, like cocoons, offering only sleeping places and shelter for bicycles. All with the desire that “it remains affordable”: from 30 to 40 euros per night.
And, to meet the demand of guests, a creperie, facing the canal, opened this year. In total, “we created four jobs on the site”, partly seasonal, says Ms. Le Strat.
– Floating lodges –
A few tens of kilometers further, Eddy Pellan has set up his project in a different spirit, more aimed at fishermen: two floating lodges, real small apartments with terrace, fully equipped, including for winter. All with phytopurification.
“Not only did my idea seduce the Region, but we added an electric boat activity, on the river quay of Josselin, at the foot of the castle”, he rejoices.
Not far from Gueltas, the Poulhibet lock house is transformed into a showroom in the summer. But above all, it is intended to serve homeless people: “water available, dry toilets, a barbecue, picnic tables”, lists Monique Le Clézio, secretary of the “Canal Guerlédan-Pontivy” association. , which animates the place.
These activities along the waterways, “it’s also part of this new way of spending holidays which is a bit slow, gentle, discoveries”, analyzes Gwenola de Araujo, director of the Tourist Office of Pontivy Community.
“Discovery is not just about landscapes, it’s also about being able to eat things that you won’t eat elsewhere, discovering crafts that you won’t find elsewhere,” she says.
“Inland Brittany offers something different and meets the needs of a public concerned with calm and a different type of discovery (…) it allows us to enhance our territory, including our producers, and to create jobs. “, summarizes Sylvette Le Strat.
Last born in Gueltas: a pénette offering “well-being massages” or sophrology sessions. Comfort after a day of cycling!