|Access: In grounds of St Michel de Grandmont Priory (Prieurié de St Michel-de-Grandmont). Smallish entrance charge for priory and dolmen together and only visitable with guide on a ten minute walk on undulating gravelly paths.
Afterwards we realised that the guided tour allegedly also takes in a menhir (with interesting-sounding ruts and creases in the rock nearby) and 2 other (more battered) dolmens - the dolmens de Belvédère - but we weren't offered the option....
Take the A75 motorway to Lodève. We left it at junction 53 travelling north, then skirted the town on the D25, following signs to the priory onto the little D135 to the east. This is steep and winding to begin with as it climbs into the hills. Once onto the top of the hills, the priory is only a few km and still signposted. After our visit, we discovered that it's possible to spot the dolmen from one of the bends before you reach the priory.
Visited Wednesday 5 September
A stunner! We arrived at the priory at around 1pm and were told that the next planned tour to the dolmen was at 3pm, but that as it was quiet, the guide would take us and another couple in about 10 minutes.
This was lucky as we didn't want to hang about, but possibly the reason we weren't shown the other dolmens and the menhir. I was too excited to remember they were even there, so we didn't think to ask about them. Gah.
The dolmen was as thrilling as it looks. An impressive monument with a pretty unusual and well-preserved 'kennel-hole' entrance, a huge cuplike/ballaunlike depression on one side and a small carved 'christianising' cross on the other. The dolmen stands in low remnants of its rubble mound, on a ridge running out from the hillside. Beautiful views of surrounding hills and valleys, partially obscured by trees.
The capstone is around 3.15 x 3 metres and rubbing against it was apparently a bizarre cure for skin diseases in the middle ages (according to Bruno Marc in Dolmens et Menhirs en Languedoc et Roussilion - if my French translation is good enough!)
Posted by Moth
19th September 2007ce
Edited 20th September 2007ce