Notable prehistoric standing stones
www.ot-carnac.fr. Celebrated for its oysters and its menhirs, Carnac has also developed a pleasant seaside resort annexe, Carnac-Plage, which stretches along several miles of sandy beach. Carnac’s mysterious menhirs constitute one of the most important prehistoric sites in Europe, but their origins remain uncertain. Believed to be the work of a little-known pre-Gaulish people sometime between 3500-1800BC, the bizarre spectacle numbers around 4,000 standing stones arranged in parallel lines along the D196 north of town. Some groups of stones have been coralled in unsightly plastic fencing and provided with football stadium-type viewing platforms; and there is a multi-media menhir ‘spectacular’, L’Archéoscope de Carnac (continuous shows daily in season) by the Alignements du Ménec. However, it is still possible to savour, at least partially, the atmosphere by roaming around other groups planted amidst ferns and gorse. Several riding stables near the Alignements de Kermario offer horse-back tours. The Musée de Préhistoire, www.musee decarnac.com, displays literally thousands of finds from sites around Carnac. The presentation is somewhat dry: miniscule shards of pottery are not really evocative, even for the most imaginative layman. However, mention is made of the local legend that the stones were petrified Roman soldiers. Some 19thC archaeologists misinterpreted this fanciful tale, concluding that the stones (some weighing up to 350 tons) had been used by Roman soldiers to stop their tents blowing away.
Find more in: Beach & seaside