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Report 1981: Megaliths, Parish Closes and Cider - Part 2 Morbihan

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2011

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Page 8 of 27: Elven Area

photo by MAW

Gatehouse of Fortresse of Largoët

Dolmen De Loge De Loup is signed off the road to the south of Plumelec, between Trédion and Elven. There is a small parking area off the road and it is a five minute walk along a track through the forest. An encouraging sign part way along the track says 'Dolmen 80m'. It’s probably double that. The earth covering has been lost so it is easy to see the structure of the stones. It is unusual as it is a gallery grave made up of two rows of supports on each side which lean against each other and support the capstone. It repaid the 30 minutes we took to visit.

Elven is a workaday small town with a good range of shops and quite a bit of new development. The church was built in 1879 and is massive. It is very plain inside with bare stone walls, no side altars or pulpit and few statues of saints. The modern stained glass windows have abstract designs rather than pictures. There are different colours for different windows in themes of blue, red etc. A new electric clock was installed in 1970. The clock mechanism of the 1925 clock has been beautifully restored and is now in a display case.

Fortresse Of Largoët (Elven Towers) is just beyond Elven and is reached down a side turn, off the main road to Vannes. There is parking by the gatehouse. This is a splendid structure with carvings of rabbits on the roof. Each is different and all have character. There is no entry to the gatehouse. The castle ruins are 10-15 minutes’ walk along a forest track. We hadn’t realised this dropped gently until we started to walk back. There are tracks off but these are private.

Rounding a bend, the fortress comes into view, with the remains of the gateway, massive donjon tower and smaller tower with a pointed roof and lake beyond. It is a pretty setting among the trees, surrounded by grass. The fortress was constructed in stages from the 13thC. It is surrounded by a dry moat. A wooden bridge replaces the drawbridge. Above the doorway is the family crest of the Rieux family.

The fortress is surrounded by a curtain wall and bumps in the soil show there were several buildings inside. The donjon tower is a massive hexagonal structure. It is now a roofless shell. There are the remains of the guard rooms on either side of the doorway. There are dire warnings about using the spiral staircase.

The smaller tower was restored early in the 20thC and according to the leaflet given to us ‘once inside four floors can be reached by a spiral staircase which ends with a rampart walk’. The tower was locked and judging by the cobwebs had been locked a long time.

It is a romantic ruin and pleasant place to drop out, however, we did not feel it was worth the €5 entry or the walk.

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