BROCELIANDE : A FAIRY KINGDOM!
The forest of Brocéliande is actually the mythic name for Paimpont forest in Brittany (Nord Western France ) located 30 kilometers from Rennes.
It's a beautiful forest where there are a lot of folkloric legends, some even relating to Merlin and Morgan of the
King Arthur legends. There's a Comper Castle, or what remains of it, which houses "Le Centre Arthurien." It holds medieval exhibitions, except during the winters.
The forest, in ancient times, is also supposed to have been the home to faeries.
Paimpont forest, sometimes said to be the Arthurian Brocéliande, is in the French commune of Paimpont, near the city of Rennes in Brittany. As Brocéliande it had a reputation in the Medieval imagination as a place of magic and mystery. It is the setting of a number of adventures in Arthurian legend, notably Chrétien de Troyes's Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, and locals claim the tree in which the Lady of the Lake supposedly imprisoned Merlin can still be seen today. Other recent legendary (from the 19th century) places said to lie within the forest include the Val sans Retour, the tomb of Merlin, the Fountain of Youth, and Hotié de Vivianne (castle of the Lady of the Lake). The medieval chronicler Wace visited the forest ofBrocéliande (but is it really Paimpont) but left disappointed:
"...I went there in search of marvels; I saw the forest and the land and looked for marvels, but found none. I came back as a fool and went as a fool. I went as a fool and came back as a fool. I sought foolishness and considered myself a fool."
For those living close to Paimpont, the Arthurian legend is very strong. Many names in the legend can be translated into Breton or French, for example the name Lancelot translates as "wanderer" or "vagabond" in Breton. There is also a strong influence from the Druids, and all around Brittany are standing stones or alignments, the most famous of which are nearby at Carnac; a group of the alignments at Kerlescan are nicknamed "the soldiers of Arthur."
Paimpont is a forest of broadleaf trees, oaks and beeches mainly, with areas of conifers either inside after clear-felling or on the periphery as transition with the moor, for example towards the west in the sector of Tréhorenteuc and the Val-sans-Retour (= Valley of no Return)
The forest belongs mainly to owners who maintain it and exploit it for timber and hunting; only in the north-eastern part, a small part (10%) is "domanial" and is managed by the National Forestry Commission.
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