Since our earliest childhood, we’ve been lulled by tales and legends about King Arthur. The story of this young mistreated boy who turned out to be the chosen one to rule Brittany‘s crown is fascinating and very mysterious because it has a big connection with magic and the inexplicable. When we were given the opportunity to discover this region of Brittany, it was obvious : we had to visit the mythical forest of Brocéliande! We were hoping to feel some of its legendary magic and we really were not disappointed!
The experience begins with La Porte des Secrets (The Door of Secrets), in Paimpont. This scenographic show of sounds and light proves to be the perfect introduction to the secrets of Brocéliande. For 45 minutes, we’ve listened to Pierre, a malicious ranger, telling us about the remarkable places of Brocéliande and their legends. The magic fountain of Barenton, the thousand-year-old Guillotin oak or the seat of Merlin are some of the mythical places presented to us. But with a certain parsimony all the same. Just enough to pique our curiosity and make us want to go see all these places up close, in the heart of the forest of Brocéliande. Unfortunately, the photos are prohibited during the show so we don’t have any pictures of this moment to share with you. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend you to discover this inventive, playful and enchanting show (that is if you understand french) before going for a walk in the forest, it is the perfect amuse-bouche! Our quest for enchantment continues with the romantic stroll around the Paimpont pond. It’s a nice little 4km walk punctuated with a few fun activities, poems, observation points around nature. Luckily, we hardly saw anyone during our ride. We felt like being alone in the world, in the heart of this verdant, imposing and silent nature. A real nice moment to simply enjoy as a couple.
Shows every 20 minutes from 9:40am to 11:40am and from 2pm to 4pm (5pm from april to october)
Full rate 7.5€ (8.8$)
Low rate 4€ (4.7$)(children, students)
Book your tickets here
Now off to Tréhorenteuc, where we’re meeting with Julie, our storyteller guide who will make us discover this forest of Brocéliande that had us fantasizing for so many years. On this September afternoon, it was cold and raining. We were shuddering a little and bitterly regretting not having packed rainwear (yep, we’re southerners!). But we were still eager to spend 3 hours walking the trails of the forest alongside the one that would exacerbate our childlike innocence, more or less forgotten. We chose to discover the Val Sans Retour, which would turn into a prison for any unfaithful person. Before crossing the entrance to the Valley, Julie maliciously warned the men among our group of visitors: “Careful gentlemen, you can enter but perhaps you won’t get out”. As we were going deeper and deeper into the forest, we began perceiving more and more its particular atmosphere. The huge trees were easily sheltering us from the rain and the wind became less and less icy. Perhaps it was because Merlin himself had joined the group. Maybe he was the one gently caressing our cheeks to make them warmer… We made many stops in the forest of Brocéliande. Each time, Julie enthusiastically told us the many legends of the place. This pond was formerly inhabited by a fairy sisters, that one is filled with tears of mischievous korrigans (little goblins of the forest), this pile of stone is actually a dragon who failed after a tedious fight and that golden tree is actually a frozen girl surrounded by the 4 boys who had gone looking for her. The anecdotes aren’t lacking. The wonder was at its peak and we gladly realized that this is really the best way to discover the forest of Brocéliande. We aren’t really sure that we would have captured all the magic of the place otherwise.
The visit was already coming to an end and we were soon back in the premises of the Tourist Office. But Julie had one more thing to show us. Have you ever heard of the Eglise du Graal (Grail Church)? Restored in the middle of the 20th century by the Abbot Gillard, then forced into exile, it’s a unique place in the world where Christian representations are mixed with Celt and chivalrous references. For example, there’s a representation of a revised Holy Supper where there are direct references to the quest for the Grail, really out of the ordinary! It was already time to say goodbye to Julie and get back on the road towards the restaurant and our bed and breakfast for the night. But before, a last little stop was necessary. We had to go see the famous 1000-year-old Guillotin oak, which is the symbol of the forest of Brocéliande. Leaving Tréhorenteuc, we followed the direction of Concoret for a few kilometers to finally follow the signs indicating the presence of the famous Oak, also called Eon Oak. Rain, wind and cold did not get rid of our determination and a few minutes later, we were already facing this impressive oak with unreal dimensions, admiring and stunned. Isn’t it amazing?
After all these emotions, nothing better to relax than a good meal in a cozy, welcoming and friendly place, right? Let’s go to Lours, a restaurant and cultural tea room located on the pond of Aleth. This brand new retsaurant is one of those places where you’ll instantly feel good after crossing the entrance. There are few tables and the dishes are all homemade, upon order. We quickly figured out that we were in a place where the quality undoubtedly takes over quantity. And we liked it very much. Lours, contraction of Loup (Wolf) and Ours (Bear) in reference to the 2 owners, is a restaurant where you have to go to take the time. Take the time to enjoy, taste, savor. This pork belly that was comfited for a whole night was a real treat. It was perfectly melting and accompanied by delicious roasted potatoes, a real pleasure for the taste buds.
Now time to go to bed and we found just the perfect place for that: The Moulin de la Fosse Noire. There’s no one more welcoming and charming than Thierry and Marie, our hosts for the night who gave us the feeling of spending the night at old friends’ home. The huge house is from the 18th century and has been decorated with a lot of taste and refinement. We spent the night in the beautiful “Bamboo” suite, with Asian influences and zen vibes, exactly what we needed after such a day! These former soldiers from the French Foreign Legion love to travel, what a great coincidence! The day then ended in a pretty good mood where we shared a small after-dinner liqueur with our hots. We spend the evening telling each other about our lives and talking about our travels. The next morning, after a delicious and hearty breakfast, we took a little more time to discover their huge property populated by many animals, what a dream! Horses, donkeys, geese, chickens, dogs, sheep and so on. Thierry proudly gave us the tour of this happy farm and as good city-dweller cliches, we quickly got to dream of such a life in the countryside … But it was already time to go back to new adventures in Brocéliande. If you ever go to the Moulin de la Fosse Noire, do not make the same mistake we made: you should plan half a day to properly enjoy the property, the animals and Thierry and Marie’s hospitality. Our only regret was not being able to stay longer…
This article is the result of a collaboration with Destination Brocéliande. All opinions expressed here are ours and have not been subject to the influence of any third party.