Francis Le Lay
Local storyteller recounting tales of a Brittany that may surprise you
- Guingamp - Baie de Paimpol is Land and Sea
- Your ideal day A little drizzle in the morning and sunshine in the afternoon
- Your philosophy To be in harmony with myself
- Your favorite spot En Avant de Guingamp football club
- Your favorite treat Breton butter biscuits
- Your passion Finding Nirvana in the Argoat hills.
From the Valley of the Saints, the incredible Breton ‘Easter Island’, to the mysterious secrets of the Corong Gorges, set off on a voyage of discovery around the heart of inland Brittany, delving deep into its history, legends and timeless landscapes.
The Valley of the Saints
From the summit of the butte Saint-Gildas at Carnoët, it’s the 360-degree panorama that grabs us first of all.
What a remarkable setting for the 126 granite giants who live here, seeming to watch over the Argoat for all eternity. The Valley of the Saints is definitely a great starting-point to our exploration of inland Brittany !
At the foot of Saint-Pol-Aurélien, Amandine tells us the story of this gargantuan project, an open-air cathedral with the goal of gathering together the 1000 evangelical saints of Brittany... Children will be enchanted by tales of slain dragons and tamed wolves. As we wend our way among the timeless stones our senses awaken and our fingers trace the sculpted granite, searching for clues to the incredible lives of the saints.
Spectacular sculptors of granite
Before we leave, another spectacular sight awaits us. Against a backdrop of the sounds of hand chisels and electric grinders, the sculptors in residence are busily working on huge blocks of stone... Pink, grey blue, smooth, ridged, rough, oxidised... The granite comes exclusively from Breton quarries, and offers an incredible palette to the artists who are keeping the memory of the saints alive and reinterpreting local legends. Amazing !
Our journey continues around Saint-Servais. Taking the quiet country roads, we arrive at the Corong Gorges almost as if by accident. From the car park, an ancient pathway bordered by a stone wall leads us on to an easy walk into the heart of a mysterious world rich in legend.
A magical place
The late afternoon sun shining amongst the leaves invests the mossy, rock-strewn landscape with a sense of magic. Here and there are standing stones and the tracks made by animals and mushroom-gatherers, going deep into the heart of the forest.
The Follezou river shimmers and glistens gold. Mini-beaches of granite sand invite us to dip our feet into the water.
In the land of the giant Boudédé
Suddenly, the stream becomes no more than a murmur, giving way to a giant chaos of granite blocks. Families sunbathe on the huge stone slabs. Here, everyone seems to know each other, happy to share the secrets of the forest... We’re told that the jumble of boulders is reputed to be the work of the giant Boudédé. Walking in the forest of Duault (pronounced ‘duhotte’), the story goes that he emptied his clogs of stones above the Follezou river, thus forming the incredible rocky chaos. It is also said to be a favourite otters’ playground at nightfall...
With our senses heightened and our imagination awakened, we head for home reenergised. And with the understanding that the Argoat is one of those places that can only really be understood by letting your instinct guide you along the quiet country pathways to unexpected encounters.