June 10, 2014- Depending on who is digging where, the megaliths of Carnac were first erected in 4500 BC, 3300 BC, or somewhere in between. There is an equal diversity of opinion as to the WHY of these magnificent fields of stone. Some say they are astronomical indicators. There are others whose take is that they are strictly for religious ceremonies. Another group postulates that Merlin turned the Roman legions here into stone. These are, of course, the same people who say that a Nineteen-Foot Tall Giant is going to land in Antarctica, next week, and take us all to Planet Pneumonococcus.
I had a nice bus ride from Vannes to Carnac-Plage, on that afternoon. The town drunk of Carnac was on board, and while he had been yelling about the bus to Paris being late, prior to this bus’s arrival, he promptly fell asleep, once we got rolling. We went through nice little towns along the way. One of these was Auray, which has the Cathedral of St. Goustan.
I would return to Auray later that night, but more about that later.
When we arrived at Carnac-Plage, the resort end of town, I learned that most of my fellow riders were more interested in the beach, than in the rows of rocks. The town imbiber, of course, still wanted to go to Paris, but figured he’d make do with his own flat for the time being. I took a quick look at the shore.
The modern gem of Carnac, though, is Jardin Cesarine. The town park has an imaginative rope course.
The garden itself held my attention, happily, for twenty minutes, or so.
It was the Parc des Megaliths, which stayed in my head, and drew me in short order. There are three large sections of the park: Menec, Kemerio (House of the Dead) and Kerlescan, and a smaller area, Petit-Menec.
Here are some scenes of Menec, the western, and largest, segment of alignments, with a few single menehir (Stones that are partly buried), in between.
At this fence, and road, I left Menec and came to Kemerio- the House of the Dead. To be sure, parts of this area looked like a cemetery, and it is here that the Merlin Theory got started. There was a busload of Italian senior citizens with me, for part of the time. Their chatter was constant, but it was actually quite refreshing. Looking at rows of stones for two hours does get a bit lonesome- unless one believes they are actually Roman soldiers.
The farm house in the background is occupied, and there is a herd of Brittany sheep doing landscaping duty. These sheep are a Heritage Food Source, so are prized by Slow Food France and other people concerned with the diversity of our diet. I am a member of Slow Food USA, so the sheep captured my interest.
There were lonely menihir in this section, as in Menec.
This horizontal piece looked like a beached whale.
This piece reminded me of the donkey at Block Island Petting Zoo, last year, who came up to the fence and couldn’t get enough food
The Kerlescan section is smaller than the other two main sections, and rounds out the park, at the east end.
Kerlescan was also more of interest to local farmers, as a source of stone and water. This abandoned cistern bears witness to their efforts.
One enterprising pair of sisters is making a go of serving up fine food and beverages: Chez Celine, where I enjoyed one very filling crepe- the only meal I would have on that evening. Since it was chocolate, with orange marmalade, who’s to complain?
I was the only American who had been there in quite some time, so the ladies took to giggling to themselves, amusing me and a German gentleman who was enjoying a glass of wine.
Across the road from Chez Celine is Petit- Menec, the baby brother of the Big Three.
Crucino Dolmen was once a tomb, but acid in Brittany’s soil has worn away the bones.
To the east of the Dolmen, I entered Bois Saint-Michel, a hiking trail which a honeymooning couple had taken, an hour or so earlier. It would lead me back to Carnac-Plage.
There are two landmarks associated with St. Michael (the man, not the Archangel), on this path. First, I came upon his fountain.
The tomb of this French patron saint is at the northern edge of Carnac-Ville.
I saw a similarity between the tumulus, and Mont St. Michel.
The “cone” turned out to be Chapel St. Yves.
It was late, but still light, so I was fooled a bit. My arrival back in town left only one mode of transport available. A kind boulangere called the first taxi, which got me to Auray. After I used the ATM, a gentleman on business in Auray called the second one, which brought me to Place Verlanne, from which I was able to use my legs to get to the hotel. All’s fair in love, war and an extended evening at a remote place of interest. Carnac shows that we indeed come from highly intelligent, imaginative stock.
Thank you, Kate.