Cairn du Petit Mont

2467 Reviews

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3/5

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Things to do

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Date of travel

2011

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Cairn du Petit Mont is on a headland covered with tall scrub, close to the built up area of Arzon and Port Navalo.. There are a series of footpaths across the headland but no views as the vegetation is so tall. It would be easy to get lost. It is a 5 minute walk from the car park to the cairn.

There is a small visitor centre selling postcards and a few books. Large bags and cameras have to be left in the visitor centre and no photography is allowed in the cairn although you are allowed to take pictures of the outside.

There were guided tours in French. We were given a leaflet about the cairn in English.

The cairn is in a grassy area and is made up of four stepped stone platforms. It was built and extended over a considerable period of time. About 4600Bc there was a low oval burial mound. Around 4000BC this was replaced by the first cairn was built in the shape of a trapezium without a passageway or internal chamber. Around 3500BC the cairn was extended with a passage way leading to an internal chamber. Some stones were decorated. Around 2700-2500BC a further extension was added round the whole structure. This had two new chambers but blocked the entrance to the original chamber.

I'm aware this sounds a bit complicated. There is a plan of the cairn showing the stages of the development and some photographs here: tinyurl.com/68tbk94

In 1943 built a bunker and flak emplacement in the south east corner of the cairn. This destroyed one of the newer chambers. All that can be seen are some fallen stones from the entrance. The bunker did break into the blocked original chamber.

There is access to the undestroyed 3500BC chamber. You need to watch your head and back when entering, but the end chamber is tall enough to be able to stand easily. We wished we were able to take pictures as one of the stones had a series of snake like patterns and another had two very clear footprints.

The German bunker is reached down a long tunnel into the underground rooms which now house an exhibition. There are steps up to the the flak emplacement on the top of the Cairn which has good views across Port Navalo, Arazon and the coast. There is access from the German Bunker into the original chamber which is lined with massive slabs and has huge stones on the floor. The central chamber had more carved stones. One had a prominent L near the base. This is thought to be a crook, a sign of power. Another had wavy lines.

There is a charge of €5 to visit the site (or €3.50 if you have visited another megalithic site in Morbihan and been given a reduced entry card). We felt this was expensive for what there was to see. It was interesting, especially seeing inside the German bunker. We were pleased we went but wouldn’t bother another time. As a site Cairn de Barnenez is more impressive. Dolmen de la Table des Marchand at Locquermairquer is an impressive and it is possible to take photographs inside.

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