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Report 1982: Megaliths, Parish Closes and Cider - Part 3 Northern Finistère

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2011

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Page 6 of 32: Megalithic Remains

photo by MAW

Mougou Bihan near Commana

Brittany is stuffed with megalithic remains. The most well known are concentrated in Morbihan. The main 'must see' area is Carnac where there are thousands of stones varying in size from two to ten feet arranged in rows that run for miles across the landscape. Visitor pressure means the stones are now fenced off and during the summer entry is by guided tour only to protect the vegetation. There are other smaller stone alignments which receive few visitors and it is possible to wander freely among the stones. Good examples of these are the alignments of Kerzerho at Erdeven and Les Pierres Droites near Monteneuf. You may even have them to yourselves.

There are also single standing stones. Some like the Géant at Carnac are associated with other megalithic structures. Other standing stones stand isolated in the landscape with no other structures around them. These seem to be more common in the north and some stand several metres high. Many have been ‘Christianised’ with a cross added to the top like Menhir de St-Uzec on the Côte de Granite Rose and Menhir Men Marz in Brignogan-Plage.

There are massive cairns containing burial chambers and uncovered dolmens. These vary from three to four stones covered by a capstone like the Crucuno Dolmen to ones 10-20m long. Some of the large stones lining the passages and end chambers have carvings. Gavrinis is probably the best well known. It is on an island in the Golfe de Morbihan, so not the easiest to reach and entry is by guided tour only. Photographs are not allowed inside it. The Dolmen de la Table des Marchands, Locmariaquer is nearly as good, easier to get to and photographs are allowed.

In Northern Brittany the most impressive megalith is Cairn de Barnenez which would have dominated the landscape when it was built.

The Michelin map marks many megalithic sites but there are also a lot of small sites not marked on the map which just have a small signpost from the road. Unfortunately these do not give distances. It can be a voyage of discovery into the unknown.

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