Merlin you say go to Paimpont and Plélan le Grand in Brocéliande!!!

And while in Brittany who needs more lol! Truly enjoying the region and one of the places we finally went as a family and after seeing reading hearing the stories of king Arthur and Merlin was here in the forest of Brocéliande.

The major town for it is Paimpont with a bit spreading over to Plelan le Grand. I like to tell you a bit more on it. Close your eyes see magic, done!

Paimpont  is a town in the department 35 of Ille et Vilaine in the region of Brittany. The town is mainly in the forest of Paimpont that in turn is in the forest of Brocéliande. The nearest town is Guer in the Morbihan dept 56. The Aff river is the limit with the camp Coëtquidan, training field for the military and 3 military schools there at Guer since the end of WWII.

The town of Paimpont encircles the eastern contour of a pond of 50 ha called the pond of the abbey. It is on its shore that the abbey of the monastery of Paimpont has settled and developed. The name of the town is from the Breton Pen-(head, end, tip) and Pont, Breton word borrowed from the Latin Pontus. As Bridgehead or the end of the bridge. The monastery founded in the 7C by Judicaël became the Abbey of Notre-Dame de Paimpont in the 13C. For a long time the village was only made up of the abbey with its associated buildings such as the hotel for the reception of pilgrims, the cemetery and some houses.

It was not until the 19C, well after the sale of the abbey as a nationalized property in 1790 during the French revolution, that the village began to take the look as   we know today. During WWI at least 157 locals will lose their life according to the list carved on the obelisk of the Monument to the Fallen inaugurated in 1923 and erected near the Abbey Place du Roi-Saint-Judicaël.   Following the nazi invasion of 1940, the mother of General de Gaulle,  Jeanne Maillot took refuge here. Leading a necessarily discreet existence, she heard on the radio that her son had been convicted by the Vichy collaborating regime. At her death, a few weeks later, on July 16, 1940, a large crowd attended her funeral although the death-certificate was censored by the authorities and she was buried in the village cemetery. On 21 August 1944, General De Gaulle, after his visit to Rennes, fifteen days after the liberation of the city, came to bow to her grave.

Things to see:  All related to the Arthurian legend of King Arthur and the round table. We have

The Abbey of Notre Dame  is an abbey and former monastery on the gothic and baroque styles built in the 13C. The edifice at the beginnig was a benedictine monastery from the 12C of which there is nothing left today.  The Abbey of Notre-Dame holds this peculiarity to house both the religious center of the parish and the center of the communal power, since the City/Town hall is located in the Grand Logis, like the presbytery.  The abbey is the central building of the Abbaye, which is linked to other buildings such as the the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, a place of prayer and meditation; the Baptistery chapel, dedicated to baptism; the sacristy where the precious patrimony of the abbey is preserved; and the Écrouettes room. The Grand Logis and Manoir Abbatial are located around the abbey.  The parish Garden is a park of trees and a place of prayer depending on the abbey. It is located not far from the pond, on the banks opposite the abbey, in the direction of the north. It consists of an altar for the major events of the parish, a cave dedicated to the cult of Notre-Dame de Paimpont, and a source of drinking water adjoining a sculptural representation of the King builder Saint Judicaël.  The Abbey houses religious silverwares and ancient books spanning a large period, from the 15C to the present day, which are exposed to the public view in glass enclosures.

It has its own webpage: Official Abbey Notre Dame of Paimpont

Paimpont

Paimpont

The Barenton Fountain, lost in the wild-minded forest; This source is the place of many Celtic legends such as the encounter of Merlin and Viviane, the battle between Yvain and the Black Knight or the legend of Ponthus son of the king of Galicia. It is famous for its miraculous virtues which allow to trigger the rain.

The Val sans Retour (valley without return) This valley aka as the perilous or even Valley of false lovers , is a legendary place of the Arthurian cycle in the forest of Brocéliande,. The legend attached to it, narrated in the Lancelot-Grail (early 13C), circulated orally before the end of the 12C. The Fairy Morgana saw a disappointment in love with the Chevalier Guyomard (or Guiomar, Guyamor), who pushed her away at the instigation of Queen Guinevere. She studied magic with Merlin and then, in retaliation, created the Val sans Retour in the forest of Brocéliande to enclose the false lovers;unfaithful knights in love. After seventeen years, Morgana was foiled by Lancelot du Lac, who remained faithful to Guinevere, who liberated 253 knights. This narrative is the most vivid action of Morgana against the Arthurian chivalry, and a reversal of male and female roles as they are conceived in medieval literature

The Hotié of Viviane or tomb of the Druids or House of Viviane, large burial chest (Neolithic), in the Val sans Retour; The Hotié, Hostié or House of Viviane, also known as the Tomb of the Druids, was described quickly during the 19C and then forgotten, but the various fires of the Val sans Retour and the local actions allowed to find it and to carry out searches. The legend makes it the home of the fairy Viviane, where she would hold the enchanting Merlin in an air prison. Another legend equates it with the transformation of Merlin. When the location of the val sans retour is moved to the Val de Rauco in 1850, the megalithic site near the Gurvant Valley takes the name of Hotié de Viviane which is sometimes assimilated to the tomb of Viviane. Previously, this tomb was located near the tomb of Merlin and the first location of the Val sans Retour in the valley of the Marette

The Tomb of the Giants, in the Val sans Retour; The Tomb of Merlin (Neolithic) and the Fountain of Youth.   The iron forges are a former remarkable industrial site of the forest of Paimpont they were the most important wood forgings of Brittany from the 18C. They will work until the end of the 19C.

Paimpont

Paimpont

Some webpages to help you further plan your trip here are

City of Paimpont on heritage

Tourist office of Brocéliande on legendary sites

Tourist office of Brittany on remarkable sites

Of course would not do justice without mentioning Plélan le Grand a nice country town on the edge of the forest of Brocéliande.

Plélan-le-Grand, Pilelan in Gallo/Plelann-Veur in Breton is a town in Dept 35 Ille et Vilaine of Brittany. The name comes from the Breton Ple (parish) and Ian (Hermitage) or the parish of the Hermitage or monastery. It is at the border of the Forest of Paimpont aka Brocéliande on the N24 road between Rennes and Lorient. The town is at equal distance from the Atlantic ocean and the Canal of the Manche or about 80 km.

A bit of history on the town

The monks of the Abbaye Saint-Melaine de Rennes built religious buildings at the Gué or forjd near the oratory given to them by Solomon, King of Porhoët County. The name of the parish thus appears from 843 in the Cartulary de Redon; The village of the Forjd is the place of the primitive parish formed around La Motte-Salomon, where the castle of Judicaël, occupied also by King Solomon, was erected in the Middle Ages. We can always discover the remains of the feudal castle, a circular platform of 2.2 meters in height, of 58 meters in diameter at its base, surrounded by a moat of 10 meters wide and partially filled.

The iron forges of above in  Paimpont are more on the side of Plélan le Grand and can be on both.  The blacksmith’s forges, part of which is located in the territory of Plélan (former canteen of the workers became Gourmet restaurant, Maison de l’évéche).

The Château de Pont-Muzard (or Château de Pontmuzard) is a historic building, attested since the 15C.

However ,other than the sites continuos to Paimpont and the legend the best to see here is the Church.

The parish Church of Saint Pierre was mentioned in the 12C. Only the chapel of Sainte-Anne remains original. It was destroyed in the three quarters, was rebuilt between 1850 and 1853. At the site of the old building still remains the North chapel, remarkable for its frame with sculpted pits that can go back to the 16C. While in the south there is always a tower, built in 1620 and whose ringing of bells calls the daily life of the Plélanais today. On entering the Church, one can admire the altar with its bas-relief representing the tomb by the Angels done in 1858-1859, as well as the choir stalls from 1852. It is built In neo-Gothic style, this red schist building has marked the revival of religious architecture in Ille-et-Vilaine and is a major heritage element for the inhabitants of the town as well as a curiosity for visitors and tourists.

plelan le grand

plelan le grand

plelan le grand

plelan le grand

plelan le grand

The city webpage in French here: City of Plélan le Grand on heritage

Brocéliande la porte des sécrets or the gate of secrets: see the video on the gate of secrets in Brocéliande

Enjoy the ride into magical Brittany, or Bretagne, or Breizh! And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

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