Napoleon decided to build the canal to provide a safe inland link between the two largest military ports of the French Atlantic front (Nantes & Brest).
Building started in 1811, and Napoleon III presided over the canal's opening in 1858. Its total length as built was 385 km with 238 locks.

EV1-La Vélodyssée : A 1200 km long cycle route along the Atlantic coast

Following the Vélodyssée which corresponds to the French part of the EuroVelo 1 route (8186 km from Norway to Portugal), you are launched onto a network of over 1,200 km of cycle routes with the ocean as a backdrop. In the Loire-Altantique, you will take the the Nantes-Brest canal towpath where locks marshes, and authentic villages lead you to Nantes and the banks of the river Loire.