Brittany's mythical places: The Forest of Brocéliande

Sladjana Perkovic | Live the World

November 23, 2022

Not far away from Rennes, the capital of Brittany, you can visit the Paimpont Forest, also known as a location of the mythical Forest of Broceliande. This enchanting forest is a home of many mysteries and legends. Probably, you have already heard of the Knights of the Round Table, the Arthurian legend, the wizard Merlin, the famous sword Excalibur, Lancelot, Morgan le Fay and Lady of the Lake. All those stories are related to this magical site. The forest of Brocéliande is a perfect Brittany's mythical place where you can immerse yourself in a magical universe of history and nature.

Knights and wizards

According to the legend, the wizard Merlin brought up Arthur in secret. At the age of sixteen, during one tournament, he pulled the magic sword Excalibur from the stone, in which it was firmly fixed. After that, Arthur became a king and founded the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Round Table. Later, Merlin fell in love with the Lady of the Lake. He discovered her the secret of his magic, and she imprisoned him in a tower somewhere in the forest. The wizard died in the captivity. But where is  Merlin’s tomb? According to the Breton tradition, his tomb is right in the heart of the forest of Brocéliande, under one megalith that is situated not far away from the Fountain of Youth. This site is not easy to find, but it’s part of the Arthurian trail map that you can get from the local tourist office. Every year, many tourists visit his tomb, probably hoping to find something of the wizard’s spirit. 

Golden Tree and Forges de Paimpont

Another interesting sight in the Forest of Brocéliande is the Arbre d’Or (the Golden Tree). Located in the heart of Val Sans Retour, the Arbre d'Or is a piece of art created by François Davin in 1991. After a devastating fire in 1990, the l’Arbre d’Or covered with real gold leaves was set up by this artist to symbolize the rebirth of the forest but also a fact that nature is fragile and precious. This golden tree is symbolically surrounded by five calcined trees. But in the heart of the forest of Broceliande, you can also visit something completely different - the Forges of Paimpont.  This place is an ancient metallurgical site and an exceptional industrial heritage of Brittany, classified as a historical monument since 2001. The Forges are open to the public for the guided tours, during the European Heritage Days. 

Old Mill

After your visit and hiking through the magical Forest of Brocéliande, Brittany's mythical place,* **the best way to rest is to treat yourself with a delicious and traditional Breton food. You cannot make a mistake if you choose a “crepérie” l’Orée des Sens. Situated in the middle of the forest, in a fully restored mill called "Moulin de Bréhaut*", in this restaurant you can savour a buckwheat pancake and drink a glass of cold cider served in a traditional “bolée”. 

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