Carnac Stones, Brittany, France
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Carnac Alignments

Top choice in Golfe du Morbihan

Predating Stonehenge by around 100 years, the Carnac (Garnag in Breton) area is the world's greatest concentration of megalithic sites, with no fewer than 3000 of these upright stones, erected between 5000 and 3500 BC. One km north of Carnac-Ville a vast array of monoliths form several distinct alignments, all visible from the road, though fenced for controlled admission. The best way to appreciate the stones' sheer numbers is to walk or bike between the Ménec and Kerlescan groups.

Between June and September seven buses a day run between the two sites, as well as Carnac-Ville and Carnac-Plage. They constitute an astonishing sight, even if you are not an archaeologist, and even though their purpose remains obscure, the area hums with mystery.

Near the stones, the Maison des Mégalithes explores the history of the site and offers guided visits. Due to severe erosion of the flora, the sites are fenced off to allow the vegetation to regenerate, and certain areas are accessible only by guided tour. However, from October to March you can wander freely through parts – the Maison des Mégalithes has maps of what's currently open.

Opposite the Maison des Mégalithes, stand the Alignements du Ménec. The road along here is called the Route des Alignements, indeed the best way of getting here and exploring the region is by car.

From here, the D196 heads northeast for about 1.5km to the equally impressive Alignements de Kermario. Climb the stone observation tower – the Moulin de Kermaux (an old mill) – midway along the site to see the alignment from above.

The fascinating Tumulus de Kercado – which you can enter and explore - lies just east of Kermario and 500m to the south of the D196. About 300m east of the Kercado turnoff along the D196, lies the parking area for the Géant du Manio, the tallest menhir in the area. Further east, you can find the Alignements de Kerlescan, a smaller grouping. In Carnac-Ville, you can climb up the huge Tumulus St-Michel for terrific views over the countryside.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Golfe du Morbihan attractions

1. Maison des Mégalithes

0.06 MILES

The main information point for the Carnac alignments is the Maison des Mégalithes, 1km north of Carnac-Ville, which explores the history of the megalithic…

2. Alignements du Ménec

0.08 MILES

Opposite the Maison des Mégalithes, the largest menhir field – with 1099 stones – is the Alignements du Ménec, 1km north of Carnac-Ville.

3. Tumulus St-Michel

0.53 MILES

This huge tumulus, 400m northeast of the Carnac-Ville tourist office, and accessed off the D781 at the end of chemin du Tumulus (itself off rue du Tumulus…

4. Musée de Préhistoire

0.56 MILES

The Musée de Préhistoire is chock full of the finds from the megalithic sites throughout the region, so it serves as a fantastic primer to the area and…

6. Moulin de Kermaux

1.07 MILES

The stumpy remains of this old windmill now serve as an observation point over the Alignements de Kermario.

7. Tumulus de Kercado

1.34 MILES

The massive burial mound of a neolithic chieftain dating from 3800 BC, the astonishing Tumulus de Kercado lies just east of Kermario and 500m to the south…

8. Géant du Manio

1.47 MILES

You can find this huge, dwarfing menhir among pine trees about 300m east of the Kercado turnoff along the D196; there's a parking area just off the road…