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© Aurelie Polvet Tourist Office Broceliande away from L’Orient airport. A wizard in love Merlin fell in love with one of his students, a fairy called Viviane. She enclosed him in a magic circle and there he stays… “I don’t think this is his final resting place. He is a spirit. He is everywhere. Not in one place,” said my guide, a professional Merlinologist and official tourist guide for “Le Centre de L’Imaginaire Arthurien” which aims to discover and spread Arthurian knowledge. The centre has several official “Round Table” guides. “His spirit definitely inhabits the woods. That is why pilgrims come here. They seek guidance. The area is invested with memories of pre-Christian life.” The forest has lots of well-marked footpaths and is a magical place to walk and feel the spirit of the old wizard. The tomb is indisputably an ancient site of worship. It stands near an old Neolithic gallery grave. The woods contain cromlechs and burial mounds from the Bronze and Iron ages. Water from the Fontaine de Barrenton spills over the Perron de Merlin (Merlin’s steps) into a pool where Merlin reputedly inducted Vivian into necromancy. For centuries locals believed that the water had enchanted properties. Deeper into the forest, the Pont Dom Jean is believed to be the bridge of the sword crossed by Lancelot to deliver Guinevere. There is also a “Rock des Faux Amants”. The lover who betrayed Morgan, Arthur’s half-sister, and was turned into stone.
© Aurelie Polvet Tourist Office Broceliande Brocéliande is a part of Paimpont forest. The misty lakes and bubbling ponds of Les Forges and Perray and the castles of Trécesson and Pas-du-Houx are straight out of the pages of literary romance. The forest contains what many believe is the fountain of Barenton, where Merlin sat on his perron and conjured up a storm. Golden trees and a lover’s bridge In 1990, the woods burned for five days. As part of a massive re-plantation scheme, artist Francois Davin created his “L’Arbre d’Or”, a chestnut tree covered with gold leaf and surrounded by five blackened trees. Our walking tour led us to the Val sans Retour (The Valley of No Return). It’s said the witch Morgane lived here and punished knights who were unfaithful to their ladies. Surrounded by rocks which - to the guide’s eyes resemble the backbone of a sleeping dragon, we looked into the Miroir-aux-Fees (faerie pool) and sat on Merlin’s seat, a rock formation where he reputedly watched sunsets thinking up new ways of enchanting the world. A bridge over a river called Pont du Secret is where Queen Guinevere told Sir Lancelot she loved him. “Faithful lovers like Lancelet who avowed a perfect love for Guinevere can cross it without risk,” my guide explained with a sideways look. “The unfaithful remain as prisoners encaged by invisible walls.” The church at Tréhorenteuc celebrates
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Contents Features 8 Spotlight on: A
Recipes Gastronomy 96 Travel with y
‘’Now I have been happy. Now I
“My god it’s beautiful” Napol
Veyrier-le-Lac just 5km from Annecy