In my car on the way to Montauban-de-Bretagne – where I have an appointment with a good friend for lunch – I realize that I find myself once again on the N164. A major thoroughfare in Brittany. Today it all seems quite normal; a good road network. But do you know that in the seventies Brittany only had a secondary network; winding roads that went through every village and city?

N164 – bron: autoroutesbretonnes.blogspot.com

During the CIAT (Comité interministériel d’aménagement du territoire) in October 1968 it was decided to build two new roads with four lanes each in Brittany? The N12 from Rennes to Brest and the N165 from Nantes to Brest. Later on the committee also voted for a road (four lanes) from north to south: the A84 from Caen via Rennes to Nantes. But this was not all. In 1969 the French government approved the construction of a secondary east-west route, with three lanes: the N164. It then was also noted that there would not be any toll roads in Brittany. Lucky me and you!

That is where I find myself now: on the N164 or the RN164 (Route National). In total the road has a length of 161 kilometres and runs from Châteaulin (Finistère) to Montauban-de-Bretagne(Ile-et-Vilaine), where I am heading for. The road is fragmented developed into ‘voie expresse’. The landscape is mostly open and consists of sloping areas which are typical for Brittany. There are no large towns on the route, only small regional towns like Loudéac. Interesting to know: in 2011 daily 3,500 to 7,000 vehicles drove on most parts of the N164, with peaks of 9,800 vehicles between the N165 and Pleyben, 8,600 vehicles near Carhaix-Plouguer and 10,700 vehicles near Loudéac. The eastern part between Saint-Méen-le-Grand and the N12 counted 10,500 vehicles.

We love it in Montauban-de-Bretagne. Have some lunch and chat a lot. You know how women are! As the sun is shining and it’s not too cold, we decide to have a last drink on the terrace of the restaurant. Two hours later I jump in my car and drive once again on the N164. It takes me half an hour to get home. But honestly, having such a relaxed feeling after the chat and lunch, it would have been nicer to reach my destination through winding roads and villages. Just to get a feeling of ‘the good old days’. I was not in a hurry, so no excuse. We live in France, not in the UK or the Netherlands … laissez faire!

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