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Ancient stones of Brittany question from radio interview

I am trying to find the place that Mark Seymour describes in the radio interview but I am having trouble. I must not be hearing it correctly or looking in the wrong place. I am trying to find the place he describes at the end of the interview called San Just which is an old stone mason's yard. I searched on line for a transcript but an unable to find it. Any help would be appreciated.

Posted by
531 posts

Thanks but no. The program discusses the Carnac stones but it is my impression this was a separate "site" area.

Posted by
967 posts

I don't typically reply as that isn't my role here, but I got curious and know enough info about the area to guide you.

For other reading along, it is discussed at the 14-minute mark here:
https://soundcloud.com/rick-steves-audio-europe/ancient-stones-of-brittany

As there are many "Saint Just" entries out there, I can confirm that what you're looking for is Saint-Just, Ille-et-Vilaine (a dept in Brittany).
The english wikipedia entry is sparse, but the french entry is much more complete (use Google Chrome browser and it will ask if you'd like the page translated): https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Just_(Ille-et-Vilaine)

In case it helps, this is the location on maps given Mark's description:

https://www.google.com/maps/place/35550+Saint-Just,+France/@47.7672818,-2.0001727,13z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x480f0b17fbe62ca9:0x40ca5cd36e4a840!8m2!3d47.766133!4d-1.962578

I hope that helps you get on the right path with what you're looking for!

Posted by
12193 posts

I know the guy on the radio interview says Saint Just is his favorite. I'd suggest looking elsewhere. Compare Google images of what is at Saint Just to Carnac, there really is no comparison. I can see why a local, who has visited Carnac many times might like a small non-touristed place but there's a reason so many people visit Carnac. Carnac has the most alignments plus some Dolmen in the immediate area.

If you want an out of the way place that's in the area, and I think much more interesting than Saint Just, try the Cairn of the Isle of Gavrinis, http://www.brittanytourism.com/to-see-to-do/other-activities/cairn-de-gavrinis

It's completely different than anything else around there. It's a relatively recent find (I think the 1980's).

You have to catch a ferry to the isle from Larmor-Baden (near Vannes). Group sizes are limited. The tour and signage are only in French. If you're French isn't great, you may be able to find an English speaker on your tour who is willing to help. Two Australians and I followed a nice French woman, who lived in America for awhile, around. She did her best to translate the fast talking guide.

Posted by
677 posts

Brad, is the signage clear enough that the google translate app can read it? It's not perfect but works decently well.

Posted by
12193 posts

I didn't try the app. I wish I would have, It's a really good idea.

My French is good enough to make out the gist of the signage but not to follow someone who speaks very quickly. Fortunately most of what she was saying was repeated in the signage - except she added a lot about recent study that made the signs somewhat obsolete. They are still studying the place and there are at least two prominent theories about it (plus a bunch of other ideas).

Most of the signs are about 2 feet by 2 feet, or larger, and the text (as I recall) is brown on cream. I think most of the signs are in good enough shape, hopefully with enough contrast, to scan and translate.

Posted by
12193 posts

There are also megaliths (huge stones) at Locmariaquer. It's close, as the crow flies, to Gavrinis but a pretty good drive around the bay. At least one of the huge slabs used in construction of Gavrinis came from these megaliths. The tour/ferry to Gavrinis also shows you some stone circles that are part above water and part below water. 5000 years ago the sea level was much lower, so some of the hinges they built are under water now and the bay is now between Gavrinis and Locmariaquer.

One other bonus of this tour is you can see the amazing tidal currents right in front of Gavrinis. I think the guide said they were some of the strongest currents in the world. While we were there boats were using them like white water rapids between the isles.

Posted by
151 posts

There are quite many interesting places in Brittany related to various kinds of megaliths. There is a higher concentration of them along the coast in Morbihan, but also the most touristic ones. For those willing to go astray, there are pleasant hikes to discover megaliths on the way in other areas : Saint Just, la Roche aux Fées (Essé), Barnenez...