The Cote Sauvage or ‘Wild Coast’ is just that, a meandering jagged coastline of rocky coves and cliffs pounded by Atlantic breakers, which stretches down the west side of the Quiberon penisular, just to the south of Carnac. It is also dotted with more menhirs than you can shake a stick at.
Heading along the coast of the peninsular within two minutes of leaving the town of Quiberon we had already encountered a fine pair of megaliths, and every few minutes the breathtaking views were punctuated with shouts of ‘Oh look there’s a standing stone!’, but there are simply too many to stop at each one (or at the very least to give each visit the time it deserves), that is until you reach the Menhirs Beg-er-Goalennec.
Here two wonderful stones stand on either side of the D186A, one right next to the Les Mouttes restaurant, the other right on the shoreline. Plenty of space to be had for parking here next to the restaurant, so we just couldn’t pass them by. There’s no little ‘property of the state’ marker to give the name of the site, so I’ve no idea what the stones are called until later when I manage to look them up, but I do at least think to get the co-ordinates from the sat-nav!
The more northerly stone stands uncomfortably close to the restaurant, and is a slim rectangular block, somewhat sadly diminished by having had the top five feet or so break off the menhir at some time in the past. Standing behind it and focusing on its shorter companion across the road you get a lovely view along the aligned stones and out to sea. It is busy today though, unseasonably warm weather (well it would be unseasonable in England, maybe late October is always this warm in France?) has bought people out in droves to this popular coastline, and a steady procession of motor homes drives past to obscure the view.
It’s on the shore though that I really fall in love with the place, when I stand next to the heart shaped stone and stare out to sea. The placement of the stone is sublime, along with the great shaping along the top of the menhir (probably due more to the luck of the way the stone has weathered than the artifice of the stonecutter, although you never know?) this second menhir is a bit shorter (but still taller than me, although that counts as tiny in these parts!) and is now set in concrete to keep it stable.
With the sun still warm, and the stone at my back I look out along the coast, and for a minute all the tourists, cars and caravans enjoying their day out at the seaside seem far distant and I imagine the wild coast as it would have been to our ancestors, and it’s clear why they went to such efforts to raise these stones here, the beauty of the land calls out as much to us now as it did 5,000 years ago.