Become Part of a Breton Legend
It is always fascinating to hear or read legends from far away lands. It's a chance for you to become something you're not or see something that is completely out of the ordinary. It is not uncommon to hear about warring knights, fire-breathing dragons, magical fairies or powerful magicians when you read stories of days gone by. This year, the region of Brittany invites you to put down your story books and instead, completely immerse yourself into the legends and tales of this enchanting land.
Brittany is a region that is deeply rooted in a past full of myth and history. Its soil has been treaded on by the likes of King Arthur, Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin the magician, and Vivien the fairy. You can follow there footsteps and become part of a legend if you enter the Brocéliande Forest. No matter what the premise - falling in love, performing magic, searching for the holy grail - this forest was the setting for many Breton tales and Celtic legends. Within the forest, which is infused with an eerie yet magical atmosphere, you can catch a glimpse of Comper, the home of the enchantress Vivien or you can stand by the Fontaine de Barenton, where Vivien and Merlin had their first encounter and began their long-lasting bond. On the other side of the forest, take a gander at the two slabs of stone which are the great Merlin's tomb. Perhaps the most fascinating area of the Brocéliande Forest is The Val Sans Retour, or The Valley of No Return. This was the area in which Morgana, the sorceress sister of King Arthur, cast a spell upon the woods making it impossible for her unfaithful prisoners to escape. Not to worry however - the spell has since been lifted, allowing all sorts of tourists and explorers to find more magic in Brittany.
From the mystical woods, find some more magic in Carnac on the Gulf of Morhiban, where ancient megaliths are perched on a hill overlooking the coast. These stones, which seem to be scattered all over, have no origin but they certainly have some legends that go along with it. While some believe that the megaliths were set up by dwarflike creatures from the Pre-Celtic era, some still believe that they are merely signs of Paganism. No matter what legend it is you choose to believe, these structures are most definitely a sight to see.
Brittany is renowned for its rugged coastline and the captivating seas which surround it. Become familiar with the tales, secrets and myths as you walk along the beautiful shore of this mysterious region. Perhaps if you get close enough, you can peer at the sea fairies that hid beneath the shallows and seaside caves or the Morgan fairies who cast spells on young and handsome fishermen.
Of all the legends surrounding this region, the Monts d'Arrée is most certainly the darkest. The Monts d'Arrée is a barren and hazy mountain range located in the Finistère region of Brittany. Supposedly, this mountain range is haunted by Ankou, a ghostly grim reaper and leader of the Korrigans. The mist and haze that descends upon the mountain every day gives the legend more validity as you almost feel a shiver up your spine. At the foot of the Monts d'Arrée, you can find the Yeun Ellez, a large space of eerie marshland which has been believed to be where the "gates of hell" are located.
To top it all off, Brittany offers a large number of activities and events that incorporate the region's fascinating legends. On November 26 - December 12, the Paroles d'Hiver takes place in the Côtes d'Amour region. This is a special storytelling festival where you can hear legend infused stories and tales as well as watch a number of theatrical performances, poetry readings and musical acts. The Celtic Walks in Brocéliande are slated to take place next year, in the month of April. Stroll through the magical forest while learning about Celtic traditions, way of dress, festivals, and beliefs. There is also an informative yet entertaining historical speech which is peppered with popular Irish, Celtic, and Welsh tales. Although the Hike in Yeun Ellez is intended for children, that doesn't mean that a mature adult can't enjoy it. With a dynamic guide, children discover the legends through music and animated stories, particularly the stories of the Korrigans and the tales of the Mont d'Arrée.
A region which keeps no secrets, Brittany is perfect for allowing your imagination to run wild. Whether walking through the Brocéliande Forest or biking along the rocky coast, there is a legend waiting to be told. And some you may just have to go and hear for yourself
For additional information, please visit the Brittany Tourist office.