The mystery of the Carnac standing stones and keeping “a-Brest” of things

One of the main reasons for our trip to Brittany was to visit the Carnac standing stones – one of the most extensive Neolithic menhir collections in the world.

The standing stones at Carnac

For that reason we only lingered in Brest long enough to take some photos of the city’s incredible fortifications.

The Medieval Château de Brest

Like other strategic French ports Brest was almost totally destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II with only a tiny number of buildings left standing. However, the medieval Château de Brest and Tour Tanguy, a medieval tower on the opposite side of the Penfeld river, still stand proudly today defending the city as they have done since Medieval times.

The keep in the Château de Brest

Tour Tanguy

We also saw the American World War I Naval Monument which stands on the ramparts of the city overlooking the harbour. Brest was a major base of operations for American naval vessels during WW I.

The US naval World War I monument

As we drove towards Carnac we were amazed to see Neolithic standing stones here and there along the road side. Sometimes there was just one stone and at others there were several but they were just “there” – with no information notices or protection.

Amazing to see these monoliths at the side of the road
Always love to see a square rigger
Surfs up!
The old town wall at Benodet

An (almost) Island fort near Plouhinec
Our lunch stop at Plouhinec

We arrived in Carnac in the afternoon and found a free camper van site just a short bike ride from the fantastic Carnac museum and the standing stones.

The campervan site in Carnack
The bikes came in very useful to cycle to the museum and to the various standing stone sites

There are more than 3,000 prehistoric standing stones in Carnac and the surrounding areas, erected around 3300 BC although some date to as early as 4500 BC. It is truly breathtaking to see the stones in their immensely long and straight lines, looking for all the world like stone soldiers about to march off into battle.

Row upon row of stones
They were also impressive up close

It is a mystery as to why these stones were erected but there are many theories – as a place for Druidic gatherings, to depict the stars in the sky, to record the directions of sunsets at solstices, to act as astronomical observatories, to be family memorial stones etc.

No one knows for sure the reason for their existence

The first day we were there we met a fascinating lady in the gift shop called Dame Anne-Marie Delmotte who had a different theory – that the stones were a source of life enhancing energy that can still be measured today and which she believes, could still be utilised.

A chance meeting uncovered a relatively new theory

The fact that Anne-Marie Delmotte has an Associate’s Degree in Clinical Chemistry and works as a scientist at the Belgian Government perhaps makes her theory more plausible. In 2018, she received the title of Knight in the Leopold Order from the King of Belgium for her work (unrelated to her work with standing stones). As a scientist she has set out to objectively research her theory and has spent years measuring these energies using a Lecher antenna which is an instrument rather like a divining rod but able to detect the length and frequency of electric waves.

Do the stones exert a special kind of energy?

Whatever the reason for their existence, the stones are magnificent and extremely impressive. Unlike at Stonehenge you can wander through the stones, touch them and enjoy trying to make sense of them.

There are three major groups of stone rows – Ménec, Kermario and Kerlescan. The largest – Ménec – has eleven converging rows of menhirs stretching for 1,165 by 100 metres with what could be the remains of stone circles at either end.

Whatever the reason for their existence, the stones are magnificent and extremely impressive.

Having our bikes meant we could cycle easily to the smaller groups and really soak up the atmosphere of these ancient and mysterious stones.

Close by to the standing stones are a number of tombs (dolmens) including the Kercado which is on private land and is one of the few dolmens in Brittany that has survived under its original cairn. Amazingly we were able to enter the dolmen and walk around and over it unimpeded.

The entrance to the dolman was obscured by shadow
We were able to go inside the tomb
The atmosphere was peaceful and calm
The skill involved in the stone work was remarkable

We left Carnac feeling inspired, intrigued and full of wonder at this amazing feat of Neolithic man.

Those slabs were massive
Looking from the inside out

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Salty tales from Bali Hai

In 2015, after a break from cruising of almost 30 years, my husband and I sailed off into the sunset - this time to the wonderful Islands of Indonesia and beyond. Three years passed and we swapped sails for wheels driving through Scandinavia and Europe in a motor home. Now we are on the brink of another adventure - buying a Lagoon 420 Catamaran in Athens. This is our story.

2 thoughts on “The mystery of the Carnac standing stones and keeping “a-Brest” of things”

  1. How lovely to read this. I do remember our conversation at the “Maison de mégalithes” very well. Thank you for including me in this blog. FYI: I am happy to say that my book about my energy research in Carnac Brittany compared to my results in Ireland is finished and published in English and French. It’s called: “Signpost to the Holy Grail? Infinite Energy with Infinite Possibilities? Dowsed with the Lecher Antenna in Carnac and Brittany France”.
    Best wishes to you. Anne-Marie Delmotte

    Like

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