Brittany’s myths and legendsCategorized | Brittany, Domaine de Kerlann

Brittany’s myths and legends

Posted on 17 June 2015 by

Brittany’s myths and legends

Brittany has a rich repertoire of myths and folk legends, visiting the places where these adventures took place is a fantastic way to entertain the family while holidaying. Many Breton tales share their roots with Celtic folklore so characters should be familiar to all.

It’s not only myths which give pizzazz to Brittany, if your industrial bounce house family love watching series such as The three Musketeers, in Brittany you will be able to follow the heroes’ trail and remember pirates stories are never far either.

When it comes to legendary heroes, none are more celebrated than King Arthur and Merlin.

The King and his Wizard

To follow in the footsteps of King Arthur and his protector, Merlin, you’ll need to head to the Broceliande forest, now part of the Forest of Paimpont, situated about 18 miles west of Rennes.

The local tourism office will help visitors with maps, trails and tours led by professional story tellers. Start at the turreted Château de Comper (pictured) near Concoret where Merlin steals the show once more. His tomb is nestled in the forest. It is said that it’s in the crystal clear waters of the lake near the castle that he was sequestrated by his pupil Viviane. She was so infatuated with the wizard that she kept him captive at the bottom of the lake, in a glass prison. Reminds you of something…?

Château de Comper

Southwest of here, near Tréhorenteuc is the ominously named Val Sans Retour (valley of no return) where the sorceress Morgan le Fay, half-sister of King Arthur, is said to have imprisoned her lovers. Visit at your own peril.

Megaliths, Asterix and Obelix

Brittany is renowned for its stone circles and prehistoric sites. Of course, where there are standing stones, Obelix, the famous menhir deliverer and his best friend Asterix are not very far. Or are they?

A few years back, a Franco-British team of archaeologists claimed to have dug a village which was never stormed by the Romans but the story died down. It may have only been an April fool after-all, but it was enough to place the bay of Lannion and the prettiest of villages, Ploulec’h, in the spotlight.

Nearby at Yaudet, swimming is a delight, the waters are shallow and granite houses which cling to the hillside bring a unique charm. If you are not too worried about twisting the arm of History, no doubt, you’ll find a few Celtic coins bearing the image of wild boars in the local souvenir shops. For the real deal, you’ll have to head for The Cairn du Barnenez, a site known for its pyramids and Carnac, Europe’s oldest town.

Pixies, Hobgoblins and Lutins

Story telling opens the doors to the natural world and Bretons are not shy when it comes to retell the tales. If you want to enter their mystical world, you’ll need to head for Morlaix and the moorland around Arrée Mountains, south West of Roscoff but before venturing that way, knowning your korrigans from your geants is a good idea.

According to the legends, it’s here that the korrigans roam happily. Korrigans (another name for pixies) can be extremely mischievous and cruel, stealing children, or demanding a hand in marriage. They are rarely visible but you can spot evidence of their shenanigans, for example in the chaos of vast boulders they left here and there.

Lutins are the troublesome tiny cousins of the Korrigans and their favourite activity is to topple people off their bicycle or put salt in their soup. You have been warned. Breton fairies and giants can also show prodigious strength, going as far as moving dolmens.

To know more about the legends and the thousands of myths which make Brittany what the land it is, head for the Musee de Bretagne in Rennes.

Pirates and Corsairs in St Malo

Along the coast, there is a different kind of magic. It’s here that mermaid and sea-sprites rule. Their harmonious songs can be heard between Saint-Cast and Quiberon, or on the islands between Bréhat and the Gulf of Morbihan.

No stay in Brittany is complete without a visit to the coastal town of St Malo. The inhabitants, the Malouins, are so proud of their town that they insist they are not French – not Breton – but Malouin! Engage them and they will tell you pirate tales alternatively take “le petit train” around the town to hear the stories.

Not all sea-stories have a happy ending. Coastal tragedies and seashore disasters are also woven in the plots. Take Belle-ile, for example, this beautiful island saw the demise of one of the most loved fictional characters in French literature, Baron du Vallon de Bracieux de Pierrefonds better known as Porthos, one of the formidable four musketeers.

In Brittany you are never far from magic, all what you have to do is listen.

Want to find out more?

For holidays in Brittany, go to

To own a holiday home in Brittany, visit

For more reasons to visit the region, see our Brittany holiday guide.




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