As you can probably tell from the above paragraph, I'm a bit of a sucker for Breton history and legends. Over the past couple of summers, Understanding Frenchman and I have done a fairly thorough exploration of the Forêt de Brocéliande, home to the Chêne à Guillotin, the Miroir aux Fées and the Fountain of Eternal Youth. This year, however, was the first time that we had been out west to the Forêt de Huelgoat, where there was even more to be discovered.
|La Grotte du Diable|
A little further into the forest is Le Chaos, a large boulder field through which the river flows. The geological origin of the boulders is volcanic: the granite rocks were pushed up from the bowels of the Earth, then developed cracks as they cooled. Rain water running through the fissures changed the shape of the rocks to the heaps of boulders stacked haphazardly on top of each other that you can see today. In the legend, however, they were hurled there by a hungry giant!
|La Pierre Tremblante|
There are a couple of sites with links to Arthurian legends: the Camp d'Artus, and the Grotte d'Artus, where Arthur kept the treasure which Merlin revealed to him in the Val sans Retour in Brocéliande, guarded by flying demons in the form of will-o'the-wisps. And there were some places we didn't see, as we had another mission to complete in Finistère before the daylight faded (more on that another time), but we did make it to the Gouffre de Dahut, the chasm where the dissolute Princess Dahut liked to throw her lovers once she had had her wicked way with them.
Inland Bretagne is always so much quieter than the coast in the summer, and this particular area is so isolated (it takes six or seven hours to drive there from Paris) that even at the height of the holiday season, we had plenty of the sites to ourselves a lot of the time. I would imagine that if you go off-season, it really is absolutely magical.