Things you probably don’t know about Carnac and its standing stones !

Carnac stones in the Morbihan are one of the most visited sites in Brittany. In the summer, the most famous megalithic site after Stonehenge, can only be visited on a guided tour organised by the Centre des Monuments Nationaux. But did you know that there was a time when holidaymakers would camp at the foot of the stones and enjoy some family time together around the dolmens and tumulus ?

Carnac

A time when camping around the standing stones was the latest trend !

 

At the end of the 1960s, the site was a huge campsite and leisure ground for holidaymakers in search of a picturesque backdrop for their camping holiday ! Tourists would pitch their tents all around the alignments. These huge standing stones were quite practical too as they served as demarcations for the caravans, shelter from the sun for an afternoon nap and were a great playground for children. At midday, families would set out their picnics between the menhirs and enjoy a traditional lunch on the grass. Well, we might be exaggerating slightly, but we’re not far from the truth ! No-one imagined back then that these old stones were witness to over 7000 years of history and that within a few years, the site would be one of the most famous megalithic sites in the world. In the 1970s, conscious of the inestimable value of this historic heritage, Carnac town council put the first preservation measures into practice. Twenty years later, in 1991, to protect the site, sections of the Carnac stones were fenced off.

 

« There are almost as many legends in Carnac as there are standing stones… ». What do you think ?

 

Carnac boasts the largest gathering of standing stones in the world with no less than 4 000 menhirs in total. But the purpose of the stones still remains a mystery today. It is said that it was a place of human sacrifice for the Druids, a Gallic burial site and that each stone is a headstone, the ruins of a Celtic covered market, a place where fairies and korrigans (little Breton elves) would meet… Whatever, Carnac is steeped in mystery and enchanting legends ! The oldest legend dates back to the Middle-Ages. According to this Breton legend, in the 3rd century, Cornély, the pope, fled to Brittany to escape his Roman persecutors. Surrounded by legionaries, Cornély hid in a cow’s ear (yes, that’s right !) and asked God to help him. And a miracle occured ! The Roman soldiers suddenly turned to stone, which are believed to be the menhirs today. The legend became fact when Cornély became the official Patron Saint of Carnac.

 

Have you always wanted to spend a holiday in the Morbihan and discover the most famous megalithic site in the world ? Discover le Camping**** Le Moustoir located just 1 km from Carnac’s legendary standing stones.

 

picture : © BERTHIER Emmanuel - CRT Bretagne

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Published on 16/03/2018 into : Morbihan