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Cairn of Gavrinis

Old Feb 1st, 2011, 07:23 PM
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Cairn of Gavrinis

I want to tour the cairn of Gavrinis near Larmor Baden in Brittany. The local tourism website said it's open beginning in April. We'll be there on Thursday, March 31. I emailed twice to find out if we can see it on the 31st but no one has responded. Does anyone know how I can find out whether they'll be open when we're there or not? I'll head in a different area if it won't be open.
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Old Feb 1st, 2011, 11:10 PM
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It is a national monument located on a tiny island that can only be visited by officially commissioned boats so there is likely no chance they will open even one day early. And just so you are aware, the guided tours are in French only.

Although the cairn is certainly one of the most outstanding examples of megalithic art there are other megalithic sites in the area that also feature some nice examples of engraved art. I happen to be a big fan of megaliths so if you'd like to know where you may be able to visit other megalithic sites in this area with engraved art just let me know. If it helps I've got a trip report I wrote about visiting the Gulf of Morbihan this summer with a heavy emphasis on megaliths and you'll note when I visit a cairn or dolmen that has engraved artwork. Some of them, such as Pierres Plates, are just sitting there open to the public 24/7. Here is the link to my report:

http://tinyurl.com/6du5mp3
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Old Feb 2nd, 2011, 05:12 PM
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Many thanks for the photo preview! I was especially intrigued by the rock in the forest near Josselin, the Dolmen du Mane Rethual, and Pierres Plates. Can you give me directions to them or would I find directions if I googled them? It looks like you guys spent a lot of time thoroughly investigating the area. I won't have that kind of time, but I'd like to see a few. I'm also interested in the Foret de Paimpont and Huelgoat. Have you been there?
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Old Feb 3rd, 2011, 07:28 AM
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Let me give you some general tips that might help answer your questions. I suggest you get Michelin maps for whatever region you are driving in. Make sure you get the ones with the scale of 1:200,000. The maps are loaded with icons for things of touristic or historic interest such as châteaux, churches, abbeys, ruins, caves, megaliths, designated scenic roads and a whole host of other things. The megaliths are marked on the map with a symbol that somewhat resembles the mathematical symbol for pi. Around the Gulf of Morbihan you will notice a very heavy concentration of these icons as this is one the richest regions on earth for these features. However, the Michelin maps only show a small percentage of them.

If you stop in the tourist offices in Carnac and Locmariaquer and ask for the megalithic maps they will be much more detailed and in addition the maps will show you all the local roads, which will not be shown on the Michelin maps. The Michelin maps do label, in writing as well as with a megalith icon, the location of Pierres Plates at the end of the Locmariaquer peninsula. A place you may want to visit in Locmariaquer is the Sites des Mégalithiques, a small complex of restored megalithic monuments that offers guided visits and has a small museum. Note their opening hours and you may want to check for hours of English language guided tours. Here is a link to their website:

http://locmariaquer.monuments-nationaux.fr/

Here is a link to the Locmariaquer tourist office website:

http://www.ot-locmariaquer.com/

Here is the site for Carnac:

http://www.ot-carnac.fr/en/liste/pat...-magalithiques

I don't remember the specific directions to Mané Rethual but it is very close to the above mentioned site and I believe there are also signs on the road pointing the way. A stop at the tourist office will give you the specifics. Note the opening hours of the Locmariaquer and Carnac tourist offices. They are usually closed on Sundays and during the week from noon to 2:30, and open from around 9:30 to noon on Saturdays.

The rock in the forest that I discovered on my way home from Josselin would be difficult to locate as it is not marked on the Michelin map and I only saw a sign for it as I was driving by. Once I parked my car it was still hard figuring out which trail to take into the woods because it wasn't well marked and I more or less just stumbled on it. Really, around Carnac and Locmariaquer there are much more spectacular megalithic sites.


If you look at my trip report again you'll notice I did visit the Forêt de Paimpont but only briefly. I didn't find it all that interesting but if you are a big fan of Arthurian legends it might interest you. I believe there are some guided tours offered and I would think this would be the best way to get the most out of your visit. If you do some google searches you'll find all kinds of info about the Forêt de Paimpont aka Forest of Brocéliande. If you are a Merlin/Arthur fan there are loads of sites in the forest associated with the legends. The Michelin map will mark some of them. Here is a link to the website for the Forêt de Paimpont:

http://www.tourisme-broceliande.com/spip.php?article159

A few years back I also spent about a half-day walking in the forest of Huelgoat, which is also associated with Arthurian and other fairytale legends. Here is a link to the tourist office website for Huelgoat:

http://tourismehuelgoat.fr/index1.htm

If you are looking for a nature walk in the forest it is enjoyable and we visited some of the sites of legend, such as Le Camp d'Artus (Arthur's camp), Le Champignon (The Mushroom Stone) and a few other sites. This site is somewhat removed from the Gulf of Morbihan area and if you have limited time here I would recommend just exploring around the gulf. Hope this helps.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2011, 08:10 AM
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Wow - I really appreciate your suggestions and the links, in particular. Thanks for taking your time to provide such detailed information. I'm excited for our trip.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2011, 10:50 AM
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Always happy to assist anyone interested in megaliths. I think all the links I gave you are in French but some google searches should help you dig up info in English if you need it. For example, google "Forest of Paimpont" (instead of using the French spelling) and you'll get lots of info in English. I hope you have a great time and I'll be happy to answer any other questions you have. And don't forget the Michelin maps (scale 1:200,000), absolutely invaluable.

P.S. - If you happen to be in northern Brittany my favorite megalithic site is The Great Cairn of Barnenez:

http://barnenez.monuments-nationaux.fr/
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