The Valley of the Saints
An audacious project bridging past and future, reality and legend
The Valley of the Saints is unique: it’s a historic site, a land of legends, and the birthplace of incredible monumental sculptures all in one. A feudal moat, a 16th-century chapel and giant statues of Breton saints are found here in the undulating Poher landscape.
Carnoët: Brittany’s Easter Island
On the hillside you’ll see huge statues that look like modern rows of standing stones. This project could be seen as a bid for immortality, a fascinating saga chiselled in stone – or a slightly crazy concept created by Philippe Abjean, depending on your point of view! In homage to Brittany’s founding saints and the population’s traditional devotion to them, Abjean decided to erect 1,000 monumental statues, each carved from a slab of Breton granite and three or four metres high. He’s building a Carnac for the 21st century!
A venture for art and humanity
There are currently around 50 statues standing on the grass, representing the monks who came over from Ireland, Wales or Cornwall to bring Christianity to Brittany. Year by year, new creations are erected in the memory of these saints, each bearing the signature of a different sculptor. In 50 years’ time there will be 1,000 of them. St Tugdual, St Hernin, St Gildas, St Brieuc and St Malo were the first of the stone saints to illustrate the legendary history of Brittany. Guides are on hand to tell you all about their mysteries. You’ll find that everyone you meet here – whether a guide, sculptor, sponsor or visitor – is full of enthusiasm for this incredible project, now a permanent tourist attraction with trails, markets, storytelling and much more.
An outstanding natural and historic setting
It’s not just the statues that impress visitors and fire the imagination. The valley also has a Gaulish fountain, with waters that are supposed to cure animals, with a lovely chapel standing above it. In the middle of the stone saints, looking down over the valley, are the ancient earthworks of a motte-and-bailey castle and its moat. From this height, the views span the horizon, taking in the summits of the Monts d’Arrée mountains and the forest of Fréau.
Did you know?
You can sponsor a statue
Everybody can become a sponsor and make a donation to help raise the €13,000 needed for each statue. Currently the project has attracted Brittany’s largest network of sponsors, bringing together individuals, businesses and associations. When you make a donation, you can choose which ‘saint’ you want to support.