Langon < > Redon
STAGE PROFILE: 23.6 km 5h50
Even though we continue on our way by land and water, we find ourselves from now on in a different universe. We have left the spectacular gorges of the Vilaine, the escarpments and the high terrain of Corbinières to slip imperceptibly towards level ground.
We thus find ourselves in what is known locally as the marshes (les marais) of Redon, albeit encompassing many other localities. Nevertheless we will use that name as we undertake this last stage through Ille-et-Vilaine. Of course we must remain prisoner to the towpath, while an abundant wild life can be easily seen on the ‘other side of the water’.
But what, tell me, would a pilgrim worthy of the name do on one of those little barges which come and go during the fine weather ? Certainly nothing serious especially as, although each day he gets a little nearer, Galicia is still a long way off.
0.00 - Leave Langon, Chapel of Ste Agathe behind you, by the small Rue de la Bimais for 180m as far as a right-hand bend. There take a track to the left alongside allotments to pass under the Rennes-Redon railway by a small pedestrian tunnel. Come out onto a tarmac road, which you take to the right for a little less than 400m. There, on the left-hand bend, bear right onto a stony track, partially grassy in the centre, which veers left after 200m to go alongside the railway and reach the river Vilaine after 1km. At the intersection, turn right onto the towpath – passing under the railway bridge – which, having touched upon the remains of a Roman road, arrives at ...
0h50 03.6 -- ... Bridge Pont du Pâtis Vert. Cross the D59 near the bridge (caution – danger) and follow the towpath. (The belltower you see on the opposite bank is that of Beslé, a Loire-Atlantique village, a resort very popular with fishermen.) Now head into a swampy area full of wildlife*. The path goes past Brain-sur-Vilaine (5.6km).
2h05 08.6 – Bridge Pont de l'Ilette (allowing the D125 to link La Chapelle-de-Brain with Massérac, a Loire-Atlantique village). 700m further, the Manor of Pont-Chéan might suggest a short break. The presence of marshland becomes more and more evident. Some areas are permanently under water, such as the lake Lac de Murin which you can see towards Massérac, and the marsh of Gannédel which is on your left.
3h05 12.6 – A little after the area of Gallion, you cross the old course of the Vilaine, which disappears into a series of waterholes, swamp and tufty vegetation much prized by fishermen and duck hunters. In this way your path comes to the gîte de Painfaut (13.6km) before passing under the bridge of the same name.
4h25 18.3 – Pont du Grand-Pas. (You are coming further into Pays de Redon, also known as Pays des Trois Rivières.)
You are now 5km from your overnight stop which you can reach without difficulty. The approach to the town and the inherent difficulties in going through it for lorries and cars have brought about the construction of a bypass viaduct under which you must go. The construction of this bypass necessitated the demolition of an old restaurant much loved by the people of Redon, the Belle Anguille, of which now only the name remains on maps.
After the intersection of the towpath with Boulevard de Bonne Nouvelle (23km), continue to pass under the railway bridge and immediately on the right, before Rue Richelieu, to reach a steps to access Cours Clemenceau. Cross this little public garden for 100m, then leave it to the left to pass – after having crossed Rue Richelieu – between the abbey of St-Sauveur and the Mairie (town hall) of Redon via the Passage St-Benoît. Go round to the left of the ‘gothic tower’ to cross towards the right Place St-Sauveur, pass under the railway and go up the steps to...
5h50 23.6 – ... the Maison du Tourisme, Place de la République [where you will be given the address of the gîte], the end of your stage towards Redon
* Dry in the summer, flooded in winter and sometimes into the spring, and always exciting because of the number of encounters offered to a quiet walker. As the Way is of itself an opportunity for spiritual reflection, let us not forget Melaine, later sanctified, one of the first bishops of Rennes in the VI century, born at Brain-sur-Vilaine, one of the oldest parishes in mid-Vilaine (XVII century houses) - we go past the lower part of that village. Thus a visit to the village is all the more advised as it will not extend this particularly relaxing stage.