© Yvon Boelle
Brocéliande A forest of legend

Excursions in the Forest of Brocéliande

The legendary Brocéliande forest is the birthplace of the tales of King Arthur. The land of the Knights of the Round Table is also a natural treasure, studded with a rich historic heritage. You’ll fall under its spell of myth and legend as you explore…

Centuries-old trees and tales

The Knights of the Round Table regarded it as their headquarters. Following in the footsteps of Lancelot, Arthur and Guinevere, romance and adventure lurk among the trees of Brittany’s largest forest (7,000 hectares). Reality and imagination are entwined in the stories told about these wooded, often undulating landscapes. Take the Fountain of Barenton, for example. Spill a drop of water on its plinth and you’ll cause a thunderstorm. That huge standing stone over there is the tomb of the Wizard Merlin. While it’s known for its legends, the Forest of Brocéliande also boasts a remarkable biodiversity. Large mammals, notably deer and roebuck, live in these woods, along with squirrels, hedgehogs and many species of birds. Whether shrouded in mist or glowing golden in the sun, the forest changes colour with the seasons. Light sculpts its tall thickets, dry heaths and slopes of schist. It’s a treat for the senses. From the greenwood to the clang of iron: Brocéliande is also the story of men who came here to exploit its natural resources. The former forges of Paimpont, huddled together in a harmonious cluster of houses and old stone workshops, tell tales of this industrial past. Beside a lake stands the Château de Comper, transformed into a centre for Arthurian legend. The half-open ‘Porte des Secrets’ in Paimpont Abbey continues this magical excursion…

Easy and varied walks

Brocéliande is a wonderful location for walkers who enjoy half-shaded trails and woodland-scented pathways. There are almost 200 signposted routes across the forest, all accessible on foot but also open to cyclists and riders. The GR© 37 long-distance footpath passes through this part of the forest and makes an outstanding walk. On this route into legend you’ll follow sunken footpaths, forest trails and even a towpath. The landscape is mainly flat, so it’s ideal for a family walk.

How about following a guide so you won’t miss as much as a crumb of the walk (or have to scatter crumbs as you go)? In the Brocéliande forest, storytellers, dressed as elves or mysterious white ladies, lead the way. Here, stories and footsteps are often mingled and accompanied by birdsong.

 

Official website of tourism in Brittany