From Mane Rutual I walked up the road to the gate where you can look over it at the three marvels here, Er Grah, Table Des Marchands and Le Grand Menhir Brise. From the gate the big broken stone is tantalisingly close, there was no one around, so, like a very bad boy I jumped over the gate in a trice and had the trio to myself.
If I'd paid to go in I wouldn't have been able to walk on the grass, touch the stone, or even have a good look around it. But as it's after closing time there would be no getting into the Marchants table.
It's all about give and take, ive given Brittany over a thousand pounds, I wanna see the stones and no little gate is gonna stop me. Am I a bad ass or just determined?
Le Grand Menhir Brise was the biggest standing stone in France, possibly in Europe, only Egyptian obelisks are taller, but I don't really class them as standing stones. If you know of a bigger one please let me know. It may have stood 14 meters high, if it ever stood at all. Some parts of the broken stone have been removed to be capstones for nearby and not so nearby dolmens.
The four remaining pieces are most impressive, and no matter where you are in the complex your eye keeps being drawn back to the great broken stone.
Three pieces are still in such a position that you can see they still lie where they fell, but the fourth and biggest piece has somehow twisted around and away from the other three. It is difficult to imagine where the parts that were removed came from as the four parts seem to fit together.
It is a most perplexing and mysterious thing. Oh, and it's very very big.
Grand Menhir Brisé (GMB) is almost too vast to comprehend. After we arrived off the ferry in St Malô the day before we swung by the Menhir du Champs Dolent at Dol-de-Bretagne and I thought that – at 32 feet tall – was a big one.
Turns out that compared to GMB, it's a tiddler.
But GMB no longer stands. It lies fallen and broken in four mammoth pieces on the manicured grass to be marvelled at in the same way as one would view the body of a dead, beached whale. I was aware that a 'fragment' of this great broken stone had been carted off and reused to build Gavrinis which I would see later. So large is this stone that some wonder if it was ever vertical.
La glissade appears rarely to have been practised on true megaliths, for the reason that they rarely present the inclination necessary to its accomplishment. It is, however, said at Loc- mariaker, in the Morbihan, that formerly every young girl who wished to marry within the year, on the night of the first of May got on the large menhir, turned up her skirts and let herself slide from top to bottom. The menhir mentioned was the largest one known; but it is now broken in four pieces which lie on the ground; according to most authors it was still standing at the beginning of the eighteenth century. This custom, which could not be followed when the stone stood vertical, twelve meters in height, is, then, relatively modern, yet it is possible that the young girls of the locality have come to follow, on the pieces, an ancient custom which was formerly held on some natural stone in the neighborhood.
The Worship of Stones in France
Paul Sébillot and Joseph D. McGuire
American Anthropologist, New Series, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1902), pp. 76-107