Venture into the wilderness of the Traouïero Valley
Discover local Breton legends with Yann
A path between the bracken and oak trees leads into the valley, and, as the sun sets, voices are hushed as everyone marvels at the stunning landscape of strangely shaped rocks. Switch on your torch beside an outcrop of pink granite in Perros Guirec, and listen as the stones tell their story – with a little help from Yann!
Yann the storyteller takes us to a secret world…
Once the torches have been handed out, we make our way along the bottom of the Traouïero Valley, past softly running water alongside the boulders of the Ploumanac'h landscape. We come to our first stop of the night. Both young and old falling under the atmospheric spell. Yann tells ancient Breton stories and legends, laced with a modern twist, in this place that is the natural lair of Breton leprechauns (‘korrigans’), mermaids and smugglers! Yann brings to life characters from Breton legend such as the lovely Rozenn, John the Fearless (‘Jean sans peur’), Marmiton, Margot, and the Miller of Crac’h (‘le Meunier du Crac’h’). Side by side now with these characters conjured from the mists of time, the group melts into a twilight world of moss-covered rocks, where the air is heavy with the earthy scent of decaying leaves. As the light fades, the foliage thickens and the mystery deepens into a dreamlike world of fairytale.
Stories that shine a light on another world
We make our way through a hidden passageway between granite boulders, carved by the passage of time, and find ourselves overshadowed by the branches of a majestic chestnut tree. Time to light the hurricane-lamps! Now we really are in another world, illuminated by flickering lights as we listen to stories of long-forgotten memories, distant horizons, kinship, and love for one’s native land. Now Yann introduces us to a funny little korrigan – “no bigger than your finger”. Our lights flickering like fireflies, we make our way to the smugglers’ cave, where the taller amongst us have to bend double to reach its end. Here a solid granite vault conceals buried treasure – a story of diamond rings on the finger of a turbaned castaway – but you’ll have to hear the rest of the story for yourself if you want to find out what happens!
A new way to enjoy the valley
Yann leads our garland of fairy-lights back out of the valley, looking for all the world like a torch-lit procession in honour of nature. A welcome rest-break in a stony glade punctuates the steepening climb out of the valley, and refreshments are brought out: apple juice, Paimpol cider and Breton galettes (savoury buckwheat pancakes) – ‘Yec'h Mad’ as they say round here! Eating and drinking are no obstacle to listening though, and there are plenty more local tales to hear as we enjoy the friendly sharing of food and drink that fuels our journey into the imagination. Then it’s onwards and upwards again amidst ferns that are as tall as we are, and before you know it the two hour adventure is over. A dream-filled night lies ahead, rocked to sleep by the stories that fill our heads – I just hope there aren’t any korrigans lurking around to tickle my toes while I sleep!
Text : Annick André