Many French prehistoric tombs are impressive.
But few are beautiful in the charming way that Irish portal-tombs
and many wedge-tombs are beautiful.
Many of the thousands on the causses are just stone boxes
whose charm comes entirely from their woodland setting:
many lack such a charming setting.
my opinion that the most charming tombs in France tend to be
in the Limousin and adjacent areas.
Le Puyol (Haute-Vienne)
Dolmen de Passe-Bonneau, St-Benoit-du-Sault,
for high-resolution pictures of this and other nearby megaliths
for high-resolution pictures
La Peyre Cuberte, Naillat (Creuse)
La Pierre Folle,
Dolmen du Cluseau, Saint-Yreix-les-Bois (Creuse)
This tomb has been relocated close to the
centre of the county town of Guéret.
for more pictures
Dolmen de Blanc, Nojals-et-Clotte (Dordogne)
One of these has a fine
array of chocking-stones to keep the roof-stone steady and at
the right angle.
But the settings of some tombs, however damaged and ruined,
make them truly poetic.
Dolmen de Curton, Jugazan (Gironde)
for large photos
Dolmen de Nougayrol, Trévien (Tarn)
on the picture to enlarge and to see another impressive tomb
Neuville-en-Poitou (Vienne): remains of a
long gallery tomb,
some of whose broken roof-stone can be seen to the left.
on the picture to enlarge
Les Pierres Pouquelées:
a ruined gallery-tomb on a cliff-top at Vauville
on the Cotentin Peninsula near Beaumont-Hague (Manche).
On the other side of Cherbourg, not far from the port at Bretteville,
by the side of a little road (D.320) which climbs up from the
shore to Le Theil,
is another allée-couverte in a very good state
of preservation -
for high-resolution pictures
is the similar
Table au diable, or
Pierre des Sacrifices, Passais (Orne).
La Pierre Folle, Montguyon
Dolmen de la Pierre Couverte, Baugé (Maine-et-Loire)
There are several tombs and at least one menhir
close to Gennes.
for more photos
Dolmen de la Bajoulière, Saint-Rémy-la-Varenne
(Maine-et-Loire) at dusk.
Dolmen de la Chevresse
Dolmen de la Frébouchère,
one of three tombs near
Le Bernard (Vendée)
Les Pérottes, a
pair of dolmens at Fontenille (Charente)
Remains of a massive Allée-couverte
in the park at Brantôme (Dordogne)
Dolmen du Gouty, Valderiès (Tarn)
Tomb with pierced 'port-hole'
door-slab, La Pierre Trouée,
Trie-Château, near Gisors (Oise)
Tomb with remains of 'port-hole', Dampsmesnil (Eure)
Tomb with port-hole/kennel-hole entrance
from Dampont (Val d'Oise)
now outside the Musée Tavet in Pontoise.
La Pierre Turquaise, forest of Presles
La Pierre Courcoulée,
a small dolmen simple composed of pudding-stone
at Les Ventes (Eure) - where there are no fewer than three other
Another pudding-stone dolmen known as La
Pierre Couplée at Verneusses (Eure)
with a capstone some 4 by 3.5 metres sitting on top of six orthostats.
It was messed about with in the early 1800s.
La Pierre Gargantua, Neaufles-Auvergny
taken through a 400mm lens.
Another of many menhirs called Pierre
Gargantua, at Crasmesnil (Orne)
3.3 metres high, with many cup-marks -
those on the S face thought to represent the constellation of
(The Plough, The Great Bear).
(Picture and information by courtesy of Claude Corbin.)
de Gargantua at Péronne in the S of the département
of the Somme.
As might be expected, an exceptionally sculptural
menhir at Pionnat (Creuse),
close by the Dolmen
An even more impressive megalith-menhir can
be seen in southern Auvergne
in the south of the départment of the Cantal:
le Roc Roti,
crudely Christianised like many in the second half of the 19th
Le Menhir des Trois Paroisses, one
of dozens to be seen at La Cham
des Bondons (Lozère)
the southern Dordogne, a megalith remarkable not for having
but for having been a stone on which axes were ground and polished.
for a description
All the preceding megaliths were
found using maps, printed information or local informants.
click the picture for high-resolution
In 2007, however, on my way to study the Romanesque apse of
the church at Lunac (Aveyron)
I came across this fine stone-row by the roadside: not marked
on the 1:25,000 IGN map,
and no reference to it anywhere on the Web, not even on the
page of the nearest village.
Given the quality of the alignement, and the rarity of
alignments generally in France,
this is utterly amazing. So I shall conclude this brief introduction
to the megaliths of France
with a mention of a fine monument seemingly not previously mentioned
in the public domain.
The photographer enjoying
coffee in the Limousin.
Click the photo
to visit two of the most imposing tombs
Click here to
see a group of monuments around Arras
in the Pas-de-Calais
These pages are just
an introduction to the megaliths of France.
Should you wish to discover more, visit
very well-designed, ongoing website
(with satellite maps and GPS co-ordinates)
moving ever-outwards from the Paris Basin, which
will allow you to find just about all the megaliths in your
Dolmen de la Cour du Breuil
For a neat, well-illustrated itinerary-
Guide to megaliths in the South
of France, see
'Dolmens et menhirs
en Languedoc et Roussillon'
by Bruno Marc
Les Presses du Languedoc
ISBN 285998190X - price 16,77 euros
available from amazon.fr
from the same publisher, around the same price:
et menhirs des Cévennes (2003)