Wednesday, 4 September 2019


The region of Bretagne is particularly dense with prehistoric megalithic structures and though not seeing the largest collection assembled at Carnac, we were still able to inspect quite a few of the amazing sites up close and all to ourselves. The biggest formation was in Camaret-sur-Mer, a row of seventy-two menhirs called the Alignement de Lagat-Jar (the Breton word for the monoliths) said to have inspired Renรฉ Goscinny to create his Astรฉrix le Gaulois and Obelix characters (adventures set in the Roman province of Armorica) when the author first saw this enchanted spot.
We stumbled across other dolmen too in fields and forests, once encountering local dog walkers (Kerloaz in Plouarzhel) that had a particular, ritual way of greeting the great stone.  Of some three-thousand once catalogued, only around seven hundred remain standing in situ, displaced for roadway construction or used as building materials. Surely not cannibalised from ancient sites, memorials like this French naval monument evoke the area‘s wealth of standing stones. Six to seven thousand years old, their purpose is a matter of speculation though the Matter of Britain (and the Matter of Brittany which has its own version of the legend) accounts for the precision and straightness of the lines due to the fact that they were Roman soldiers on the march, turned to stone by Merlin or were the artefacts of giants.