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Saturday, April 02, 2011

France 2010 - Day 11, Part 1 - Brittany: Locmariaquer and Carnac

"I believe we are on an irreversible trend toward more freedom and democracy - but that could change." - Dan Quayle

***

France 2010
Day 11 - 12th October - Brittany: Locmariaquer and Carnac
(Part 1)

At checkout the receptionist asked me: "Vous avez mangé ?" ("Have you eaten?") and I replied "Plus tard" ("Later"). My mistake was interpreting this as "你吃了吗?" ("Have you eaten yet?" - a common Chinese greeting) instead of "Do I need to bill you for breakfast?".

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This was the only bilingual bona fide sign we saw (the rest were just place names)

This day was dedicated to prehistoric sights. We would've liked to visit the island of Gavrinis, in the Gulf of Morbihan, but unfortunately the boat didn't go there on wednesdays.

The first site was Locmariaquer.

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Map of site: there were 3 stone structures - the broken Great Menhir, the Er Grah tumulus and the Merchant's Table Dolmen (listed here as the Table des Marchand cairn)
Yes, there was Breton, but this was a prehistoric site after all (and thus it was kind of obligatory)

There was a video where an archaeologist talked about the site, and the first thing he said was that it showed social and economic inequalities due to the monopolisation of power by certain people, and we didn't see this in previous eras because of the lack of this factor. Hah.

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Megaliths in Europe

The stone monuments at Locmariaquer were not from that area - they had to be transported over land and water. Rollers wouldn't have worked as the stones were more than 100 tonnes, so they used tracks.

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Part of site

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This big menhir only stood for a few centuries, and had fallen by 4500 BC.

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The Table des Marchand cairn, with the broken Great Menhir in the background

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The Table des Marchand cairn, with the broken Great Menhir in the background

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The Table des Marchand cairn

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The Er Grah tumulus. It's longer than a football field. And only looks good from the top (it's too long)

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The Table des Marchand cairn

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Various shots of the Er Grah tumulus


Locmariaquer Panorama

There was a large group of Spanish tourists waiting around the Merchant's Table, and one even asked me not to go in. Turns out a group of them were inside and were taking turns. I asked if they spoke French or English, and they proudly said Catalan (note: not even Spanish). While waiting for them to clear out we went to the museum.

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Information on the Merchant's Table Dolmen. It's been restored, with some degree of speculation.

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Information on the Er Grah tumulus.

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Information on the Grand Menhir.

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The Merchant's Table Dolmen

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Entrance to The Merchant's Table Dolmen

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Interior of The Merchant's Table Dolmen. There's some carving also, though probably not as nice as that at Gavrinis

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Not-very-well-disguised CCTV camera

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Carved stone

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Roof. I know it looks like it's just moss in these pictures, but I'm quite sure there were faint carvings, or I would not have taken them.

From the museum:

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This is what you're supposed to see on the roof

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Er Grah tumulus and path

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Er Grah tumulus

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Symbol on the Broken Great Menhir

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Another carving reproduction

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My best attempt at a shot of the whole place

The gift shop had a really cool thing:

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The history of the World in a chart (the last 5 centuries, anyway)

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Interestingly, the Yuan dynasty was considered foreign but the Qing dynasty native

The next stop was Carnac - a collection of rocks strewn over fields.

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Carnac


Carnac Panorama

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Stones

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Shoe advice lost in translation


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More stones

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And still more stones

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"L'Encyclopédie du Merveilleux. Du bestiaire fantastique"
("Encyclopedia of the Wonderful. A fantasy bestiary")

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Celtic Tampons. Yes I know that's not what it means but it's still funny.

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Pieces of History: Menhir Particles

There was a 4,5€ salle d'exposition (Exhibition Room) which seemed very steep, so I didn't enter it. But actually it wasn't guarded so I could've strolled in.
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