Carnac Stones

Carnac, France

Carnac stones are an exceptionally dense collection of megalithic sites around the village of Carnac, consisting of alignments, dolmens, tumuli and single menhirs. More than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones were hewn from local rock and erected by the pre-Celtic people of Brittany, and are the largest such collection in the world. Most of the stones are within the Breton village of Carnac, but some to the east are within La Trinité-sur-Mer. The stones were erected at some stage during the Neolithic period, probably around 3300 BC, but some may date to as old as 4500 BC.

Although the stones date from 4500 BC, modern myths were formed which resulted from 1st century AD Roman and later Christian occupations, such as Saint Cornelius – a Christian myth associated with the stones held that they were pagan soldiers in pursuit of Pope Cornelius when he turned them to stone. Brittany has its own local versions of the Arthurian cycle. Local tradition claims that the reason they stand in such perfectly straight lines is that they are a Roman legion turned to stone by Merlin.

In recent centuries, many of the sites have been neglected, with reports of dolmens being used as sheep shelters, chicken sheds or even ovens. Even more commonly, stones have been removed to make way for roads, or as building materials. The continuing management of the sites remains a controversial topic.

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Address

Rue du Ménec, Carnac, France
See all sites in Carnac

Details

Founded: 4500 - 3300 BC
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in France
Historical period: Prehistoric Age (France)

Rating

4.2/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Mark Stanton (11 months ago)
Best visited when no school children around, very spiritual place when quiet and calm
Bee Ballantyne (12 months ago)
One of the most fascinating places on the planet. Recommend a little hop on hop off "train" ride around the location to start with.
Thomas Sant (14 months ago)
Hard to appreciate the wow factor here without taking some time to see the sites on foot, bicycle, or dare I say it even using the little train. However it is worth a visit even if just driving past to see the scale of the site. Would love to return out of season when less of the site is fenced off.
Ian Jindal (16 months ago)
Surprise. Just some stones? Actually, 4km of aligned stones in three areas. Visitor centre that’s compact and a well-signposted set of walks. We caught the train and it was informative and interesting. In cooler weather a walk would be great - bring water since there are no shops or cafes. The site is well maintained. If you’re in the area it’s a must. Even our teenagers dropped the attitude and got interested in why people lined up 20-ton stones 6,500 years ago.
Carol Fisher (16 months ago)
Very interesting and span over approx 4km. Slightly disappointed that you were unable to walk among them during peak season unless you pay. Off peak you can wander for free. Would recommend you explore the area around this as we visited several sites which had no restrictions and were less busy and just as interesting. The info centre is well worth a visit.
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