Morlaix and Cairn of Barnenez
Visit Chateau de Kerjean, one of the finest Renaissance buildings in Brittany.
The Cairn of Barnenez, a ‘Breton Parthenon’
A unique megalithic monument in Europe.
Guided visit of the medieval streets of Morlaix.
From prehistoric times to medieval age, a discovery of Breton history.
Level 2: Moderate - some mobility needed
Appropriate layered clothing, weather-appropriate wind and rain protection, and comfortable walking shoes.
Departure from Roscoff and drive to Plouézoc’h.
Discover the spectacular site of Barnenez Cairn, overlooking the sea. It was identified as a ‘tumulus’ (man-made earth mound) in 1850 but rediscovered in 1955. From 1955 to 1968, excavation and consolidation works were carried out and this enormous mound of stones regained its original appearance as the largest megalithic mausoleum in Europe.
The famous French writer and politician André Malraux described the megalithic monument as the ‘Breton Parthenon’. At 230 feet long and 82 feet wide at its western side, its size is astonishing. Flint tolls and carbon-14 dating carried out on pottery discovered on the site dated the construction of Barnenez to about 5000 BC.
Then it’s on to Morlaix, a little town nestled in the hollow of a spectacular estuary among the foothills of the ‘Monts d’Arrée’. The town of Morlaix, inhabited since Roman times, was a simple fishing town back in the 12th century, becoming part of the Brittany Duchy in 1187. Prospering thanks to its active shipowners, it then fell victim to several invasions and attacks. Finally, in the 16th century, the defensive structure known as the Château du Taureau was built to protect the bay—primarily from the English. The Grand Rue still shows traces of the rich medieval town that continued to prosper well beyond Renaissance times, even though none of its buildings date back earlier than the 16th century. It seems that from the 15th century, Morlaix began to build houses of a specific architectural style that you don’t see anywhere else in Brittany, and which became widespread—at least in this town—during the 16th century. Enjoy a guided visit of the town and stroll around its ‘venelles’ (little streets).
After your visit, drive back to Roscoff.
Language: English and German
Remarks/requirements: Appropriate layered clothing, weather-appropriate wind and rain protection, and comfortable walking shoes.