On our motohoming odyssey we saw more than twenty sites but this was the most spectacular. The car park was nigh on full because of a summer fayre or something (games, stalls, etc)
Yep there was lots of local people there but because they live with this Loire type dolmen they can almost ignore it and get on with the party. It was a beautiful summers afternoon the light shone through the leaves in that wonderful way that it does and all was perfect.
The entrance is amazing, the lintel is perfectly horizontal and low enough to make you stoop or bow to enter but then the capstones soar way above you. No finds of any kind were found here no burials or anything which just deepens the mystery surrounding this place. The entrance faces the mid-winter solstice
Fifteen miles or so to the south east of the city of Rennes, near Essé is one of France's most famous prehistoric monuments: the super-sized La Roche-aux-Fées.
Well-signposted from the main roads and now with its own small village close by, this colossal construction is more megalithic hall than over-sized allée couverte. Indeed, the size of its groundplan is pretty much the same size as the ground plan of our house.
We've all seen pictures in guidebooks and on the telly of famous iconic buildings throughout the world; the Taj Mahal, the Alhambra Palace, the Giza Pyramids, Angkor Wat, and so on. But just like all those places, the familiarity with them doesn't lessen the impact when you stand face-to-face with them.
And so it was for me at La Roche-aux-Fées on this miserable chucking-it-down April day. It is jaw-droppingly vast; made up of 40 giant slabs of purple cambrian schist, obtained from at least 5kms away. Its six gigantic capstones weigh between 40 to 50 tonnes each. Surely this wasn't only ever a tomb? Today it wasn't.
Today it served as a wonderful and roomy shelter from the pelting rain, a place for me to sit, think quietly and sketch; have a cuppa and feel its stones enclose me and protect from the dreary outside world.
The large car park suggests hundreds of visitors come here in good weather but today it was almost entirely ours. I wasn't going to be rushed here. Feeling safe and dry inside, I got out my paints and make a little sketch. I loved the way the damp stones glistened in the wet and made the massive slabs hanging above my head seem to loom even larger still.
The Roche aux Fées is about six leagues S.E. of Rennes, and a mile and a half S. of Esse, and is situated in a field which takes its name from the monument, and is called the field of the Roche aux Fees..
.. Formerly a forest surrounded it. It was at one time preserved with great care; but since the revolution, much injury has been done to it by the wanton folly of the peasantry, who imagined that a treasure lay buried under it.
Yeah, yeah, those awful revolutionary peasants. p85 of the Foreign Quarterly Review v26 (1840/1).
The eponymous fées are of course the Brittany fairies - and we shouldn't forget their husbands, the poulpicans.