The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Roche-aux-Fées

Allee-Couverte

Fieldnotes

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.
Jane Posted by Jane
30th July 2007ce

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