Brittany

Carnac

The elegant town of Carnac has become famous for the largest concentration of megaliths in the world, but is also known for its beaches and thalassotherapy.
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This elegant little town looks very much like a Franch Riviera seaside resort, although there is a noticeable difference between the sumptuous Carnac-Plage and the picturesque Carnac-Ville, which is more discreet and tranquil.

But the real reason Carnac has become famous is the presence of the largest concentration of megaliths in the world. In fact, there are over 3000 menhirs in the hinterland of the Baie de Quiberon, which attract an incredible mass of visitors during the summer season.

Things to do in Carnac

A renowned seaside resort in southern Brittany, nestled between the Gulf of Morbihan and the Quiberon peninsula, Carnac is loved by the French for its fine sandy beaches and is world famous for its rows of menhirs.

Carnac alignments

1LIeu-dit le Ménec, 56340 Carnac, Francia

Nestled in the quiet countryside of southern Morbihan, the menhirs of Carnac stand out for their incredible alignment. Carnac boasts more than 3,000 menhirs, dating back 7,000 years. Within the archaeological park, three distinct sites can be explored: Ménec, Kermario and Kerlescan. These alignments stretch for almost 4 kilometres: the stones are sharpened in descending order and each alignment ends with a megalithic enclosure.

Scholars and archaeologists have tried to find an explanation for this type of construction. There are several hypotheses: religious monuments, moon or sun worship, a calendar for agriculture or even, according to an ancient legend, an entire Roman army turned into stones. Although there are no certainties, the most reliable hypothesis would be that of a sacred and funerary function.

The Carnac alignments are open to visitors from October to March. We recommend that you take a circular tour and follow a guided tour, which will give you a deeper understanding of the site’s history.

Alignments of Ménec

2Alignements du Ménec, 56340 Carnac, Francia

The Ménec site is located to the west of Carnac: here you will find the Maison des Mégalithes, a reception and information centre for alignments.

This part of the Carnac excavations consists of 1050 stones aligned in 11 rows. At this site, the lines are parallel and the megaliths are regularly spaced: the area extends over 1 km and is the most representative set of menhirs.

Alignments of Kermario

3Alignements de Kermario, 56340 Carnac, Francia

The megalithic site of Kermario is located east of the town and is the most visited, as it includes the most impressive monoliths. It consists of 1029 menhirs distributed over 10 lines. It is an extraordinary ensemble around which there are several monuments: the Manio quadrangle, formed by one-metre-high granite blocks and, above all, the Manio Giant, the tallest menhir in Carnac, at 6.5 metres high.

Alignments of Kerlescan

456340 Carnac, Francia

The Kerlescan site is the smallest but also the best preserved of the Carnac alignments. This field of menhirs consists of 13 rows on which 555 stones stand. An enclosure of 39 menhirs is located at the western end of the site. It is closed to the north by a long mound, marked by a 3.7 metre high menhir.

Passing Kerlescan, one also finds Le Petit Ménec, which, as its name suggests, is the smallest site in the entire area: located in the town of Trinité sur Mer, it is composed of a hundred menhirs arranged in 8 rows. Scholars think it could be closely linked to the Kerlescan site.

Museum of Prehistory

5Place Christian Bonnet anciennement, 10 Pl. de la Chapelle, 56340 Carnac, Francia

A must-see stop to understand the history of the region is the Museum of Prehistory, which exhibits one of the richest prehistoric collections in Europe dedicated to Neolithic peoples, builders of dolmens and menhirs.

With more than 6,000 archaeological objects, the museum traces more than 450,000 years of history: the visit is dedicated to the period of menhir construction, the Neolithic (4,900 to 2,200 B.C.). The evolution of funerary architecture is traced, from passage dolmens to covered walkways: wall art and daily life are recounted with the help of objects found at the archaeological sites.

The visit itinerary is in chronological order, from the Palaeolithic to the Gallo-Roman period: it is an excellent starting point for later visits to the various archaeological sites and to understand their historical and cultural complexity.

Best beaches in Carnac

There are five wonderful beaches in Carnac, connected by a beautiful path: protected by bays and headlands, they are characterised by fine sand and are often windswept. In fact, they are a paradise for lovers of water sports such as windsurfing.

La Grande Plage de Carnac6 is the largest of the city’s five beaches: it is frequented by hikers, thanks to its two kilometres of white sand, swimming is supervised and water sports can be practised safely. To the west of the Grande Plage is Plage de Légenèse7, pleasant and popular with families.

Before the tip of Saint Colomban, the beach at Ty Bihan8, with its shallow crystal-clear waters, stretches for about 400 metres and in the distance, on a clear day, the island of Houat can be seen.

Plage de Saint-Colomban9 is the westernmost of Carnac, nestled in the bay of Quiberon: it is a windsurfing mecca. Finally, well sheltered from the wind and shaded, Plage de Beaumer10 extends to the east of Grande Plage, after Point Churchill, and is an ideal place for shore fishing.

Map

In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article

How to get to Carnac

To reach Carnac by plane, the nearest airport is certainly Nantes Airport. Otherwise, you have to land in the French capital and then get around by hiring a car. The main stops are Paris Orly Airport, Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport or Paris Beauvais Airport.

By car

Carnac is about 14o km from Nantes, a distance that you can cover in just over 1½ hours. If, on the other hand, you land in Paris and wish to visit Carnac, you must take the Paris-Rennes motorway on the A11 and then the E50: the approximate journey time is 4 hours 40 minutes, covering 490 km.

By train

The nearest TGV station to Carnac is Auray, which is 13 km away. Convoys arriving from Paris arrive here.

Once in Auray, line 1 of the BreizhGo network connects the town to Carnac all year round.

Where to stay in Carnac

Carnac is not only famous for its prehistoric sites. It is also a renowned Morbihan seaside resort and a lively seaside village. Around the Grande Plage de Carnac, which stretches along the bay of Quiberon, you will find many hotels located between Boulevard de la Plage and Avenue des Druides.

The town is also a popular destination for thalassotherapy centres. There are many well-equipped facilities and several hotels are equipped with elegant, full-service spas.

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Best hotels in Carnac

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Carnac Weather

What's the weather at Carnac? Below are the temperatures and the weather forecast at Carnac for the next few days.

Friday 14
14°
17°
Saturday 15
14°
16°
Sunday 16
15°
17°
Monday 17
16°
18°
Tuesday 18
15°
18°
Wednesday 19
14°
20°

Where is located Carnac

Carnac is a small town in the Morbihan département, in one of Brittany's most attractive areas.

Location around