The Carnac Alignments (Alignements de Carnac) are rows of more than 3,000 standing stones (also called mehirs) erected during the Neolithic period, over 6,000 years ago. The lines of stones are in adjoining fields north of the towns of Carnac and La Trinité-sur-Mer in south-eastern Brittany, near the coast. This is the largest group of prehistoric stone alignments in the world. There are several other prehistoric sites in this part of Brittany.
Location: France - Brittany - Morbihan - Carnac
Tags: Standing Stone
Note that standing stones are called Megaliths or Menhirs in France. Road signs may point to Megaliths or Alignements. The alignments are a mile or two north of the town of Carnac, along Route D196 which runs east-west.
Park at the Visitors Center (Maison des Megaliths) on the western edge of the alignments. From here you can walk or drive along the alignments. The alignments stretch along the road for 4km.
Start with a visit to the Visitors Center. They will give you a map of the alignments and show you where to park if you decide to drive, or where to walk. If you drive there are parking lots beside each alignment. If you walk, the walking trails are clearly marked and the paths are good. Some parts go along the road but it is not busy.
If you don't want to drive or walk, a tourist train and open-top buses leave from the Visitors Center and Carnac.
All the alignments, except for Le Petit-Ménec, are in large fields that are fenced. You can go into the fields only with an organized tour (run from the Visitors Center) or in the off season. Paths run along the fences and these give you a closeup look at the alignments. Some stones are at the fence line. You can walk in the Quadrilatere du Manio and can walk up to the Giant (Géant du Manio).
When we visited in June 2018, we first drove along the alignment and stopped at each parking lot to get a closer look and to walk around the field. The next day we did a walk described in the tourist information, starting from the town of Carnac and walking to Saint-Michel tumulus. From there we walked to the alignments, along them, climbed the viewing tower in the Kermario alignments, followed the trail into the woods to see the Quadilateral and the Giant, then continued to Le Petit Ménec. From there we walked back the way we came. It took us a few hours and was a very nice walk.
Website: Carnac Alignments
Day trip contributed by Pauline Kenny
There are five stone alignments in the Carnac Alignments. Going from east to west these are: Le Ménec, Kermario, Le Manio, Kerlescan, and Le Petit-Ménec.
- Le Ménec, across from the visitors center, contains 1050 stones and runs for 950 meters.
- Kermario has the largest stones of all the alignments. There is a large dolmen along the road in this group of stones. There is a viewing tower in the middle of this alignment which gives you a good view of the stones.
- Le Manio is the next field of menhirs. In the woods behind Le Manio, a short walk in from the parking area on the road, is the Manio Quadrilateral (Quadrilatere du Manio), a rectangle of smaller stones, and the Giant of Manio (Géant du Manio), a six meter high mehir.
- Kerlescan has 13 rows of the best preserved menhirs.
- The final group, Le Petit Ménec, is separate from the others and is rarely visited. This is a charming alignment in a woods across the road to La Trinité-sur-Mer.