The Alignments of Carnac!

Ok on a cloudy cool rainy day I am writing again about the stones of Carnac oh its megalithes or line up or alignments an Unesco world site indeed. The folks come all over here to see the stones.  You have to see them at least once and even thus written bits and pieces on them before in my blog, I would like to dedicate one post just on them. Hope you enjoy it. Do need to tell you ,it is in dept 56 of Morbihan in the region of Brittany!

Then, they are just south of me about 31 km or 19 miles, and we past by the famous megalithes or stones, as well as stopping by once for the formal knowledge about them. Indeed they have been here for centuries, and very popular now. I am not much into stones, mind you,  but its very historical and folks all over come to see it. The locals have a predilection for stones even decorating their homes with it on the facades. Which we of course ,have copy for our house! Carnac is nice for the ambiance of its restos bars and beaches in summer; its a place to go eat seafood, fish, and the great Breton galettes/crêpes with the cider or the white wine of muscadet/loire or the Breton beers.

Let’s go into the technical, historical, architecture of it shall we!

The alignments of Carnac  are an exceptional megalithic  alignments located in the town’s limits of Carnac and La Trinité-sur-Mer. The area around Carnac bringing together the highest concentration of megaliths in the World, and consists of alignments of menhirs (stones), dolmens (tomb like covering of stone) and aisles covered and spread over 4 km. The alignments of Carnac are the most famous and most impressive megalithic ensembles of this period with nearly 4 000 stones lifted around 4500 years BC. The alignments are however accessible to the public in high season through the visits conferences with a guide proposed by the Maison des Mégalithes,  and are on open access in winter period. Crowd control can be assessed.

Carnac

The alignments of Carnac follow about 4 km between the bay of Plouharnel and the rivermouth of  La Trinité-sur-Mer. They mark the junction of two different territories, one coastline to the south and the other continental to the north. They include 2 733 menhirs, probably largely below what existed in the Neolithic era. It is possible that the alignments have reached the Crac’h river by spreading over 8 km. The  Kermario’s alignment, presumably contemporary of Kerlescan, appears to be built on the mound of Manio which is dated 4000-3500 BC. The construction of the alignments seems slightly posterior, so these would date from the middle of the 4C BC (end of the middle Neolithic).

The main alignments of the menhirs of Carnac  are from West to East : Le Ménec, Kermario, Kerlescan and Le Petit Ménec. The ensemble has a general direction southwest northeast . In each alignment, the menhirs are placed in ascending order in the direction of the west. A dolmen (cromlech) precedes the Menec’s alignment, 240 meters away from Kermario’s alignment, preceded by a dolmen. Kerlescan’s 390 meters  alignment is, like the Ménec, preceded by a semicircular cromlech. The menhirs are exclusively formed of local granite, a granite of anataxis with two heterogeneous micas, comprising of porphyria zones.

carnac

carnac

carnac

Carnac

The alignments of the Ménec, these alignments constitute the most representative set of menhirs with 1 165 meters long over 100 meters wide for 1099 menhirs spread over 11 files. The highest stones that compose them reach 4 meters. The alignments of the Ménec begin in the southwest by a cromlech comprising still of 71 surviving blocks some of which sneak between the buildings of the village of Ménec. A very ruined cromlech still exists in the east.

The alignment of Kermario and the Manio, these alignment are the best known and most frequented of the alignments of Carnac. Indeed, it is here that we find the biggest menhirs. It has 10 lines representing a total of 982 menhirs. This alignment is marked by the existence of the Kermaux mill which offers a point of view on the alignments. Finally, the Kerloquet  pond dug in the 19C destroyed some of the alignments. It separates in two the alignment with the Kermario on one side and the Manio on the other. The Kerloquet site, composed of 82 menhirs. Not far from this alignment is the quadrilateral of Manio which consists of several blocks of granite of 1 meter in height placed jointly. They were delimiting a tumuli mound. There is also the giant of Manio which rises at a height of 6 meters.

Carnac

The alignment of Kerlescan and the petit Ménec, these alignment contains 540 menhirs spread over 13 lines and on 3.50 hectares of surface. At its extremity is a cromlech of 39 menhirs. This is the best-preserved alignment. The alignment of Kerlescan extends into a wooded area located beyond the road leading to La Trinité sur Mer with the little Ménec, now restored.

It is only from 1750 that folks began to be  interested in the alignments of Carnac and that the first assumptions were issued. The Count of Caylus in 1764 believed that the megaliths date back to the time of the Gauls and the Romans. It is notice and mentioned of improper restoration, noting that now only 36% of menhirs are in their strict place and original situation. As any megalithic alignment the explanations for attempting to justify the constructions are brought by the many theories of megalithism. If the mystery persists, the alignments, forms of non-jointed stones of increasing size essentially from east to west, corresponding in any case to a theatricalisation of the space.

Near or around Carnac, many other monuments of this period are distinguished such as  La Table des Marchand de Locmariaquer, Le Dolmen de Mané-Kerioned, Les dolmens de Kermario, Les dolmens de Cruz-Moquen,  Les dolmens de Kériaval, Le dolmen de Clud-er-Yer, Le dolmen de Nautério, Les dolmens de Kerlescan, Le cairn de Kercado,  Le dolmen de Kerluir, Les tertres du Manio, Les tertres de Moustoir, Le tumulus de Saint-Michel and the Le menhir de Kerdeff. All very nice and mostly visited already but not all.

I will put several webpages that will help you further understand these stones and plan your visit to this wonderful area of Carnac.

Official page of Carnac menhirs stones

Tourist office of Carnac on the megalithes

City of Carnac capital of the megalithes

Tourist office of dept 56 Morbihan on Carnac things to do

Tourist office of Brittany on Carnac megalithes

France National Monuments Cultural site on the Carnac megalithes

There you go now you are loaded to come and see them. Worth the visit and let me know when in town. Carnac is special for the stones and more! Hope you have enjoy the tour.

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

2 Comments to “The Alignments of Carnac!”

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