©BERTHIER Emmanuel

Cairn de Barnenez

The largest megalithic burial site in Europe

Overlooking the sea, the Barnenez cairn is altogether impressive. Evidence that Brittany was already home to a thriving community several millennia ago, the site affords sweeping views over Térénez cove and Morlaix Bay. A truly amazing sight!

Experience the Barnenez Cairn

The Barnenez site is bound to capture your imagination, whether you’re a fan of Neolithic architecture or not! You can’t help but be moved by this Cairn (which means ‘pile of stones’ in Gaelic), standing proudly on a hilltop looking out to sea. It is the largest megalithic burial site in Europe, with 11 granite dolmens (or burial chambers) across its 70-metre length. While you’re there, take the time to admire Morlaix Bay and perhaps explore it further along the footpaths.

Phew! In safe hands!

The Barnenez Cairn was repurposed as a quarry for a time, and might well have been forgotten altogether, if it wasn’t for the archaeologist Pierre-Roland Giot coming across it in 1954. Two years later, he secured its listing as a historical monument, and undertook a restoration campaign until 1968. The French politician and novelist André Malraux would affectionately refer to it as the ‘Parthenon of the Bretons’.

Did you know

A laborious challenge!

More than 3,000 cubic metres of rock, 3 tonnes of diabase and 1 tonne of granite were required to build the burial chambers. Many hands indeed must have had to pitch in!

The famous red and white waymarkers

Hiking fans can take to the GR 34 long-distance trail, with its famous red and white waymarkers, to explore Morlaix Bay. The footpath connects Dourduff to Plougasnou. 400 metres after the Cairn, at Barnenez, head down the GR trail on the left. Keep your eyes peeled as scenic views over Carantec open up before you!

Official website of tourism in Brittany