DISCOVER

The valley of no return, and a visit to the church of the holy grail

© BERTHIER Emmanuel

TWO STUNNING AND VERY DIFFERENT WAYS TO IMMERSE YOURSELF IN THE LEGEND

To help you understand the essence of Brocéliande, you’ll find two amazing sanctuaries at Tréhorenteuc, one natural, the other spiritual. The Valley of No Return (Val sans retour) is an outstanding site where nature and legend come together in a fabulous setting. The church of the Holy Grail, mentioned in myth and turned into a unique place by the Abbé Gillard, is full of mysterious symbols.

DEEP IN THE HEART OF THE ELEMENTS

The Valley of No Return cuts through the red shale as far as the Rauco stream. It’s an area where nature runs wild, offering a varied landscape where stony heathland infiltrates the forest, and rays of light play over contrasting terrains. The deep valley is a fascinating, constantly changing sight, and you need to be fit – and well shod – to do the four-kilometre trail and fully appreciate its charms. The path slips between willow, pine and birch to reach the top of the rocky peaks. Down below is a sparkling lake known as the Fairies’ Mirror (Miroir aux fées), and an inviting rock suggests you sit for a while and admire the view. Up here on Merlin’s seat you can’t help but soak up the enchantment of this place.

AN ENCHANTED VALLEY

This valley, more than any other, is the domain of Morgana the Fairy. She is mistress of this region and makes herself known to those who venture here by a rustling of leaves or a ripple in the water. Taught by Merlin, Morgana used her powers to imprison first her own false companion, and then other faithless knights, inside this prison of water and rocks, from where it took all of Lancelot’s courage to set them free.

GOING BEYOND THE BOUNDS OF REALITY

Barely more than a stone’s throw from the Fairies’ Mirror, the astonishing Church of the Holy Grail (Eglise du Graal) celebrates the Christian, Celtic and Arthurian traditions. This somewhat unconventional combination turns the humble church into a museum of the legend and an introduction to the quest for the Grail. It houses several original works illustrating this fusion. The setting for the Twelve Stations of the Cross is the Valley of No Return. Christ in his suffering falls at the feet of a scantily-dressed Fairy Morgana. A mosaic of the White Stag and four red lions symbolises Jesus and his apostles, but at the same time, an episode from the Quest. Abbé Gillard has encoded multiple symbols in each representation, which can only be explained by a guide. But as the phrase inscribed on the portal tells us - ‘The door is within’ - we must all look inside ourselves to find our own path.

 

 

OFFICE DE TOURISME DU PAYS DE MAURON EN BROCÉLIANDE (56)
1 place Abbé Gillard
56430 TREHORENTEUC
Tél. : 02.97.93.05.12
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www.valsansretour.com





Text : Annick André

 

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