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Visiting Carnac

We are going to be in Carnac late in April. My French isn't quite good enough to follow the websites. Can anyone tell me the details about a visit/tour? We really want to walk around the stones but we know that may not be possible. What about other megalithic sites nearby? We'll have a car and two days and we'll be driving straight north to Dinan after that.

Posted by
16894 posts

I have not had the pleasure to visit. This quote is from Tourism Bretagne which also has downloadable audio guides at the bottom of the page.

The best place to start is the Maison des Mégalithes, where you can watch a film in English about the site as well as buy some books in the on-site shop. Since the stones are now fenced off to the public, it’s a good idea to book a guided tour; visits are conducted in English in July and August.

Looking at http://carnac.monuments-nationaux.fr/en/, I would say that you must pay 6 euros per person for a tour, expect it to be in French, and only groups are requested to reserve ahead. April must not be peak season.

See also a map of the alignments.

Posted by
10344 posts

So it looks like Sheila will not be able to get a tour in English in April?
Do the tours (in French in April) give access to the stones that have been fenced off from the public?

Posted by
6 posts

I visited Carnac in mid-May 2013 and loved it. I did not take any tours. You cannot walk among the stones (maybe you can on a tour), but you can certainly walk around them, and just walking outside the fence, you are very close to them. Also of course there are many groups of stones, not just one group, and some have no fences. I'd say read about them in English all you want ahead of time, and then just experience them. And it is a truly amazing experience.

Posted by
7061 posts

I agree with other poster that you should read as much about them in English ahead of time, then if you do want to walk inside the fence to see them up close and personal you can take any tour even if it's in French. The tours are the only way to go inside the fence of the main group of stones by the visitor center and I think that's the only way to see the stones that have symbols engraved on them. I may be wrong about that. As the other poster noted there are several fields of stones and some you can get pretty up close to and there's no fence, you just have to walk a little further along the road to get to them. I remember I took pictures up close of a burial dolmen there in addition to the stones and I don't remember it being inside the fence. I may be remembering wrong and I just used a high zoom for the pictures but I don't think so. The only reason I didn't take a tour to go inside the fence is because I was there too late and all the tours were filled up. It was still very worth going to, absolutely amazing.

Posted by
1 posts

We are in Carnac right now and it is fabulous! I don't understand why I hadn't heard of this place before this year. Many areas of stones are fenced off now ( started in April) but many are open. If you start near the visitor center and walk away from Carnac you will find some on a dirt road before the equestrian center and hundreds of "petite" ones across the main paved road along a marked path that very few people visit so they are even more magical. Get a map on arrival ,there are stones everywhere! We hiked through dirt paths for three hours and then drove around the rest of the day. It seems all other tourists are French right now so you don't hear any other language which is also nice ! Everyone is helpful and friendly. We spent two days in Dinan which was also very interesting. Lots of walking in these areas! The largest single stone in France is 30 minutes outside of Dinan, Dol-Brighton. Worth the trip too if you have time

Posted by
10304 posts

Ilywapp--that's Dol de Bretagne, not Brighton. Auto-correct must be in overdrive. Your trip sounds fantastic.

Posted by
1194 posts

Hi from Avallon,
read up and visit at your own pace. Yes, there are tombs and standing stones in the area. I have a picture of a couple that are enormous upright cucumbers. One says that to get pregnant you rub your belly against it. I know better, you get pregnant by kissing.
I love megalithic stones. I have visited them from the Orkney Islands north of Scotland to Spain. Carnac has so many it is like visiting a large car dealership. Suddenly your new car looks common.

I think my map from IGN-France's Official Mapping Agency had some of them located. There is also a website for megalithic stones and Mehnirs that maps things nicely. preplan.

wayne iNFR

Posted by
1 posts

We are planning a month long road trip starting in the Loire Valley at the end of August. We had planned to drive over to Carnac and spend a couple of days around September 10-13th. What will this area be closed to the public since the tours stop at the end of August? Where is the best place to spend the night as a base?