Neolithic Treasures

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June 6th 2019
Published: June 12th 2019
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Thursday 6th June

Today was the last day of my road trip, and I had to be at the station in Rennes by 1pm to return the rental car. According to my calculations, I had time to head down to Roche aux Fées, south-east of Rennes, along the way.

My research had shown there was another megalith site along the way, Les Mégalithes de Lampouy, so I headed off to find them. Driving along minor roads through the beautiful farming countryside, I saw some signs for the Mémorial du 29 Mai 1943, which I soon spotted due to the American and French flags flying. I stopped to see what it was about, and it commemorates the loss of eleven members of a US Army Air Corps bomber crew, whose plane crashed into the adjoining field on that date.

Continuing on, my Google Maps route took me down some lovely roads, past ponds and through woods, towards my goal. Unfortunately Google's location for the megaliths was wrong (again), but luckily I spotted a sign in the nearby village and followed it instead, which brought me to the right spot.

Here there is an interesting menhir in the middle of a wheat field – the Menhir de la Pierre Longue, which I understand means the long stone of the long stone, a tautological nomenclature.

The primary site was across the road, and features about 50 large stones (mostly fallen) in east-west and north-south alignments. Access was somewhat restricted as they are on a farm – there's public access but one has to walk around paddocks, down laneways, around fences, etc. Time was running short but I did get a look at a good part of the area.

Back to the car and onto the motorways for a zippy trip down to Rennes, around the ring road, and southeast to Roche aux Fées.

There was a primary school group visiting Roche aux Fées on a school excursion, but they were quiet and well-behaved and didn't interfere with the other visitors. I found Roche aux Fées really impressive, particularly as it stands in a copse of trees and just looks like something out of a mythical tale. The visitors' information made it clear that it was not the Gauls who built these structures, but Neolithic people about three or four thousand years before the Gauls. Gaulish druids may have used these sites, but they did not build them. The dolmens here were once covered by a tumulus, as at the Cairn de Barnenez. It is not known who took away the cairn and uncovered the tomb. The large, rectangularly-topped dolmen you can see at one end would have been the only one exposed, it being the entrance. This ancient place had a really strong feeling to it, and I lingered for some time. It was well worth the extra drive down to see it.

I then headed back to Rennes and returned the car. I had about an hour until my train to Guipry-Messac departed, so I went looking for some lunch. It was raining so I couldn't go far, but opposite the station is a very good crêperie which I have been to before. Unfortunately it was totally packed, and with my luggage would have been impossible, so I ended up with just an apple and a packet of crisps at the station - not being able to find anything better GF.

So, after my six day Bretagne exploration I am back with my host family for two more weeks. The trip was busy but very interesting. Brittany has an amazing range of landscapes, scenic features, history and beautiful towns. A part of France I have been privileged to get to see so much of.

For the photos on the blog, you can click on them to open larger versions, where you can see more detail. This sometimes seems not to work, but keep trying or open a different photo and click on next or previous to get to the one you want to see. Unfortunately, vertical shots seem to get stretched into horizontal shots, causing massive distortion of the image. That's a bit of a bug!

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