The Silent Stones of Carnac

The mysterious megalithic standing stones at Carnac in Britanny, northern France, had been on our list of places to see for many years. So we were pleased to be able to take a side jaunt as we drove from the top of France to the bottom over a three day period. We arrived on the last day of winter, a mere one day before the official Spring re-opening for the tourists and the reinstatement of the guided tours.

Yellow blooms against mysterious gray megalithic stones at Carnac, Britanny, France

There are thousands upon thousands of these standing stones spread out over several miles. It is simply stunning to see this many ancient megaliths in one place!

Megalithic stones at Carnac in Britanny, France stretch as far as the eye can see

There were no admission costs to pay since we were out of season, but we also found ourselves locked out and unable to walk around the stones and we had to make do with viewing them across the ugly and flimsy wire fence that surrounded the entire area. I won’t lie — that was quite disappointing.

Fences keep visitors away from the Carnac stones unless accompanied by a guide

Over the years we have visited many stone circles or megaliths or dolmens and the only time we have been restricted from walking right up to the stones was at Stonehenge in England. I suppose that the reasoning behind the decision to enclose the Carnac stones within a fence is for the same reasons as the Stonehenge separation from the hoards of tourists — to minimize potential damage. But apparently it was a decision that has angered many of the local residents who resent the change in policy and the requirement to pay an ‘official guide’ to accompany them.

Sign at Carnac standing stones explains the requirement for an official guide

One of the interesting aspects of visiting ancient stone sites has always been the ability to reach out and touch the stones and ‘tune in’ to any residual energy that still dwells within. We were unable to do that in this place and I must admit, it left me with a curiously ‘detached’ feeling about a place that I had so looked forward to visiting prior to our arrival.

Ancient megalithic standing stones at Carnac in Britanny, France

Just as in the much smaller Avebury complex in England, the stones are within a village that has grown up around the ancient site. But it was surprising to see just how very, very close some of the stones were to the well-established houses.

White house nestled amongst the standing stones at Carnac in Britanny, France


Standing stones in Carnac run right up to the village houses

I can’t really comment on the quality of the guided tour since we were there out of season and didn’t pay the €9 fee, but the Carnac Standing Stones are an interesting stop in Britanny and certainly well worth a detour if you are in that part of France.

©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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