Dolmen and Fairies in France

Pierre de la fée in Draguignan

The dolmen pictured above, the most important megalith in Provence and classified as a historic monument in 1889, is called “péiro de la fado” (in Provençal) or “pierre de la fée” (in French). This can be translated as “fairy stone”. The megalithic structure dates from the Chalcolithic period, i.e. it was built between 2000 and 1000 BC. Founded. As on several megalithic sites, fertility powers are attributed to this site. Women who wanted children would go there to visit the Esterelle fairy who would help them conceive. More examples can be found in the article child stones.

Contrary to popular belief, the Druids and the Celts have nothing to do with the construction of the dolmen in France. But this does not exclude that they were later reused for “magic-religious” purposes. Altar, sacrificial stone, burial…or fairy house… On French territory alone, several dozen megalithic sites bear the name “fairy”. Fadarelles, fades, fados, fadas, fadée…names that have preserved the places over the centuries.

Paul Sébillot has noticed an impressive number of “fairy caves”, “fairy stones” or “fairy chambers” from one end of France to the other, demonstrating the ancient beliefs by their designation.

The Esterelle fairy is a local fairy to whom people came to make sacrifices in order to obtain fertility, or to thank her for giving a child. Pregnant women also made use of Esterelle’s services, so that the pregnancy went as smoothly as possible. Some make Esterelle a human wizard (a “witch”). In this case, it seems that Esterelle gave fertility potions to everyone who came to see her. It is reminiscent of scraping stone dust (sacrificial stones and sacrificial stones 2) and licking stones (who built the megaliths on the Iberian Peninsula). And it is reminiscent of the importance of Stonehenge, which would have been a prehistoric Lourdes. People traveled enormous distances to reach the priestesses of Stonehenge and seek healing. And some prehistoric temples in Malta are said to have been birth chambers.

In the Provençal language, estello means ‘star’, but esterlo refers to sterility. Greco-Roman and Ligurian influences can be found in the family of fairies from folklore (predating Christianity).

The latter are probably the origin of this fairy Esterelle: the Greeks are said to have built a temple in the Estérel, dedicated to Diana/Artemis of Ephesus (not to be confused with the classical Diana/Artemis), and so the theme of fertility is with Esterelle in to relate. This Diana practices love without restraint and takes care of people and the earth.

In the kingdom of the fairy Diane D’Esterel

Daudet writes: “.. or this Estérelle fairy who runs alone on the tip of the mountains”. The allusion to the Estérel massif is very clear. Legend has it that many altars were erected on the various peaks of the Estérel massif.

According to a legend, the Pierre de la Fée in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur was built by a fairy to protect a loving couple from rain and storm.

Above: dolmen des Fées (of Morel das Fades)

Left: Pierre de la fée

An allée couverte on a hill in Pépieux-Minervois (Aude) is called dolmen des Fées (dolmen of the fairies) or dolmen du Coteau de Fees (dolmen of the hill of the fairies) and the hill is known as Morel das Fades (or Moural; hill of the fairies). This dolmen is more than 5000 years old. The dolmen was built between 3500 and 2000 BC. during the late Neolithic by the Veraza people who inhabited the region and there is evidence that its use continued into the Chalcolithic (copper) Age and into the Early Bronze Age. Human bones were discovered, as well as remains of pottery and some carved stone accessories.

During the deep plowing (drilling for planting vines) in 1903, many remains were discovered under the mound. In 1946, more meticulous excavations by Odette and Jean Taffanel revealed a necropolis of the “Champs d’Urnes” type (from about 2,800 years ago). These graves were round pits. The burial urn contained the bone remains from the cremation and decorative objects such as terracotta chain beads or bronze bracelets. Other urns contain offerings to the dead. Iron objects were rare. A few kilometers away is the Mourel des Morts (the Coteau des Morts), almost symmetrical to the village of Siran. Burial practices continued there long after the construction and use of the megalithic site.

The village of Pépieux-Minervois reproduced the dolmen on a smaller scale in the middle of a roundabout. A great initiative that makes it possible to make this testimony of the past known. The megalithic building is also called Palet de Roland and appeared in the article about Charlemagne and (the destruction of) dolmens. The structure appears to have contained a round hole, which could have been used as a passageway.

De dolmen des fées (or Morel das Fades)

Legend has it that Le Creux ès Faïes, in French: Le Creux des Fées (the lair of the fairies), near Le Catioroc on the Channel Island of Guernsey is a place inhabited by fairies. On full moon nights, the fairies emerge from the dolmen to meet the witches of the tripod dolmen, which is a kilometer away. There they dance until dawn and sing “Qui hou hou, Marie Lihou“, poking fun at the shrine of Our Lady of Lihou on Lihou Island.

According to legend, a statue of the Virgin was discovered in the nets of a fisherman. This is received as a sign from heaven. A chapel was built in Cap-Lihou, which grew into a church.

Guernsey is extremely rich in ancient stories and legends about witchcraft and devil worship. When a dolmen appears in an ancient legend or folktale, it was almost always linked to witchcraft or the devil. At the beginning of the seventeenth century, Le Catioroc was known as the nocturnal residence of the witches and wizards during the witchcraft trials held under bailiff Amias de Carteret (in office from 1600-1630). Le Catioroc was not the only ‘Sabbath’ on the island.

According to the “confessions” of the witches, the devil in the form of a black goat called “Baal Berith” or “Barberie” sat on the center capstone of the dolmen on Friday evening. The witches, warlocks and fairies danced around ‘in worship’. Led in their revelry by the terrible Heroguiazes (witches), they shouted and sang in unison.

As late as the last century, this place was strictly avoided by a superstitious population when the weekend got underway. The whole area here is littered with stones, some clearly buried and some seemingly scattered on purpose.

Creux ès Faïes

The Pierre du Crapeau is a dolmen in Baugé. The dolmen is said to be a path turned to stone by the fairies. A cavity on the capstone would always be filled with water, regardless of the season, by the work of the devil.

The dolmen Las Tombas de Las Fadas, Tombe des Fées (Tomb of the Fairies) or Pierre des Fées (Stone of the Fairies) is an allée couverte in Mazeyrat-d’Allier. A legend says that the fairies gathered there to spin white and black wool. They carried large stones on their heads to make chairs. One night the stones crushed them and formed their grave.

The building sustained a lot of damage, but it could be deduced from the description from 1880 that it was the short type 2. The room, oriented to the northwest/southeast, is 6 meters long, 2.60 to 3 meters wide and 1.60 to 1.75 meters high. Ceramic shards from the Hallstatt period were found in it.

Remains of the dolmen “las Tombas de Las Fadas” in Mazeyrat-d’Allier
La Cabane de la Fée

The dolmen La Cabane de la Fée (fairy hut) is located in the hamlet of Eyzat north of Beynat.

The Pierres Branlantes has more than 60 cupmarks. Legend has it that the stones shake when the parish church bell rings at midnight or noon. As with many other remarkable stones, treasures were said to have been buried and the ground was moved in vain. It is also said that the dolmen would contain a small cave: the room of the fairies.

The dolmen de la Tuile des Fées (the tile of the fairy), also called the Tomb of the Fairies or the Dolmen de Pinols, is located in the commune of Tailhac in the Haute-Loire department of France. Legend has it that the monument was built by a fairy to shelter from bad weather when she was tending her sheep. The visible hole in one of the stones would have been cut through the distaff during transport.

L’Usteau du Loup (wolf’s utensil), also called allée couverte d’Unsac or Cabane/Maison du Loup (hut/house of the wolf) or La Cabane/Grotte des Fées (hut/cave of the fairies), is an allée couverte in Saint-Gervazy. In the collective imagination, the monument is associated with the wolf or the fairies, in many cases the devil and the evil spirits, as evidenced by the many names it has been given.

The Peyre-Brune dolmen, also called Peyrebrune, Pierre-Brune or Bel(l)et dolmen, is a dolmen located in Saint-Aquilin in the Dordogne. According to tradition, the dolmen is said to house the funeral of a military leader who was married to a fairy. He was said to have been killed in battle. The fairy then ordered the dolmen to be erected on the site of the battle. Moreover, she cursed the one who dared touch the grave.

Dolmen Frébouchère

The dolmen Frébouchère, also called Pierre-Couverte, is said to have been built by fairies and fadets. According to a testimony from 1840, the dolmen was used as a banquet hall on holidays: young girls danced on the dolmen while wine was served to the elders in the burial chamber. This annoyed the enchanted fairies and fradets, so that in the neighboring farms the cattle succumbed to epidemics. Only the destruction of the farms could lift the spell. The dolmen is said to have a basin on its surface that corresponds to the devil’s footsteps.

The story that the building was struck by lightning could be compared to a divine punishment of this monument, considered to be pagan: in this hypothesis the choice of the date of the year of the event (1793 or 1815) would not be coincidental. to be.

La Pierre Levée is a dolmen in Ardillières. According to a local legend, the dolmen is said to be a gate of hell whose crossing would be without return. In another version, this door would be guarded by a fairy who lives underground.

The dolmen de la Pierre-Fade (fairy stone) is located in Saint-Étienne-des-Champs. The Cave aux Fées (Cave of the Fairies) or Chambre aux Fées (Chamber of the Fairies) is a dolmen in Saint-Cergues, a dolmen of the same name can be found in Brueil-en-Vexin.

Cave aux Fées in in Brueil-en-Vexin
Cave aux Fées in Cergues

The Dolmen de la Couture is located in the municipality of Saint-Hilaire-la-Gravelle. The building is said to have been built by fairies or by the Blessed Virgin. According to a legend, at a place called Val d’Enfer, close to the site, the devil appears every Christmas night shortly before midnight and invites men to descend into his lair full of treasures, which must be vacated before midnight.

According to legend, the allée couverte de la Bertinière, Maison des Fées or Grotte des Fées is inhabited by evil dwarves and supernatural hares. The farmers also reported that the fairies locked up livestock that got too close to them, and that strange noises were emanating from the structure.

The dolmen of Pierre Cesée is a dolmen in Soucelles. According to Desmazières, according to tradition, it is about a fairy who built the dolmen; she left the mark of her heel and her staff on the top of the capstone before jumping into the Loir. The name of Pierre Césée comes from the fact that it was broken by lightning (caesee). According to another tradition, it is a distortion of César, to whom in the same commune is attributed the menhir of Foucronières, known as Caesar’s finger.

Menhir, la Pierre aux Fées

Long, long ago, towards the end of April, at the time of the Rogaties (three days before Ascension), solemn processions across the countryside passed through the fields asking God to bless the crops, animals, and labors of people. On this occasion one had to pray, follow the processions and on pain of severe punishment no one was allowed to work. Despite that, despite the prohibitions, a peasant and his wife toiled hard in a land very close to the Chapelle du Genetoye. Nothing and no one could have distracted them from their work. They didn’t even stop when the procession passed by.

Such wickedness cannot go unpunished. They deserved an exemplary punishment. When the Blessed Sacrament reached its zenith, the two sacrileges were instantly turned to stones. Since then, the two great twin stones of Saint-Micaud have reminded passers-by that one does not defy divine justice with impunity.

There were therefore two menhir la Pierre aux Fées (fairy stone) in the field. One of the two stones fell at the beginning of the 19th century and was broken in 1860 to be used in the construction of a farm. The second also collapsed (in 1871) after a strong night of thaw and is believed to be due to the actions of treasure hunters. The owner decided 3 years later to get rid of this bulky stone by tipping it into a deep ditch. It was not until 1911 that Victor Berthier decided to remove the menhir from his “tomb” and erect it on the side of the road. He was assisted by Eugène Schneider who provided him with all the mechanical means to lift this beautiful block of 6.35 meters and more than 15 tons.

It is at night, under a projector, that the fairy stone reveals all its magic. The most striking sign can be seen at the top right: the famous snake with 8 meanders. If you look closer, you can also see anthropomorphs, croziers, idoliforms and other unidentified objects, such as those to the left of the serpentiform and the mysterious U. In 2014, new studies were conducted to create a 3D topography. Thus the menhir revealed to us another sign on one of its other sides: a sun.

dolmen de Ty-ar-Boudiged

The dolmen de Ty-ar-Boudiged is a dolmen in Brennilis. The dolmen is the home of the fairies (Ty-ar-Boudiged in Breton) and is said to have been built by dwarves while they were at war with the giants who lived in Mougau-Bihan.

The dolmen de la Pierre Levée (or Relevée), la Table du Diable (the table of the giant) or la Caillotte de Gargantua is according to tradition a “caillotte” that was taken in the shoe of the giant Gargantua. The giant got rid of it by taking off his shoes. According to other legends, it was supposed to have been built by the fairies and every night it escaped a melodious music.

The Dent de Gargantua (the tooth of Gargantua) is a menhir in Saint-Suliac. According to legend, the giant Gargantua, who was walking on the banks of the Rance, saw a fairy whom he fell in love with and he married her. When Gargantua returned from the hunt, his wife gave birth to a boy. Gargantua wanted to devour him, but the fairy replaced the child with a huge stone, which she hid in swaddling clothes. Gargantua broke a tooth on the stone and spat it on the ground. In anger, the giant stamped his foot on the ground, forming the plain of Mordreuc, which is now submerged at Pleudihen-sur-Rance. Then he left the place, but he was hindered by the gravel that had entered his shoes when he hit the ground. Gargantua shook his shoes to get rid of them and two blocks of granite fell out, one at the mouth of the Rance (the Rocher de Bizeux) and the other in the bay (the Rocher de Cancale).

The dolmen La Salle des Fées (the room of the fairies), also called Port Faissant dolmen, is a dolmen in Sainte-Pazanne. At the beginning of the 19th century, an antique dealer from Nantes thought he recognized a picture of a monstrous figure, which took the name of the beast of Port Faissant. Bizeul described it in 1846. In addition, some reported a sculpture depicting a human figure carved in relief on a stone of the dolmen.

The structure is now covered with undergrowth, it is very difficult to recognize the architecture. Pitre de Lisle du Dreneuc (archaeologist and first curator of the Dobrée Museum) thought he recognized an allée couverte, the corridor of which had been destroyed. Rather, it appears to be an Anjou-type dolmen. The dolmen is on private property, visible from the road near Port Faissant.

La Salle des Fées

The Pierre-aux-Fées (fairy stone) or Pierre des Morts (stone of the dead) in Reignier fascinates with its mystical and legendary interpretations, recognizing its energy power. The megalithic site is located twelve kilometers southeast of the Swiss city of Geneva in the French department of Haute-Savoie.

The underside of the capstone has been worked and flattened. It shows grooves that are 30 to 50 centimeters wide and are arranged trapezoidal. They have a maximum depth of five centimeters. However, the upper edges of the supporting stones do not fit perfectly into the grooves of the capstone. This could indicate that the capstone was already in use on an older monument and was later reused on this site. Determining the age is therefore not easy, but the construction of the complex would take place between 3200 and 2800 BC. have been located.

According to ancient testimonies, the dolmen would have been partially covered with the remains of a tumulus. At the back of the room are two large plates placed on the floor. Around these slabs and the dolmen ten blocks are arranged, in a horseshoe shape, which may be the crown stones of the cairn that covered the dolmen.

A curious block has been placed in the heart of the room. Popular tradition sees this block as an altar that could have been used for offerings.

The dolmen is first mentioned in 1819 as a Druid altar. The first known illustration was published in 1834 by Burdallet. In 1843, the owner of the land made an investigation in the room and, according to H.J. Gosse only the bones of animals (sheep and oxen). J.D. Blavignac gave a concise plan in 1847. In 1872, P. Vionnet, to whom we owe the first photographs of the monument, named it a dolmen. In 1878, Louis Revon excavated to the west of the monument, but to no avail, and published a full description of it with a very detailed plan. In 1879, Fessi, Mayor and Olivier discovered animal bones (4 teeth, 1 phalanx) that are now kept in the collections of the Geneva Museum.

According to a legend, knight Aymon de Bellecombe, brave but poor, fell in love with Alice, the daughter of the Baron du Châtelet. He asked for her hand, but the Baron, thinking that he was not of noble birth and hoping to get him away, made him a condition: he must transport four great stones from the plain of Rockeries before sunrise, so that they serve as a table for the wedding meal. Thanks to the intervention of the fairies, the table was set in time.

According to another tradition, the fairies were said to have been surprised by the storm and built a shelter of fortune with stones found in the plain.

Pierre-aux-Fées in Reignier

According to legend, the Pierre des Fades dolmen, also called the Colombier dolmen, in the commune of Saint-Jean-d’Aubrigoux was a place frequented by fairies (Fades). According to tradition, Pierre Ardoue, also called Pierre Ardroue or Pierre Ardoué in Saint-Léger-en-Yvelines was built by fairies.

Dolmen de la Pierre aux Fees in Villers-Saint-Sépulcre is an allée couverte. The first research on this monument dates back to 1758. According to the documents of that time, only the capstones came out of the ground, the vestibule and the burial chamber were filled with earth. The structure is about 9 meters long and 2 meters wide.

One of the vertical stones is pierced with a circular hole called a “manhole”, specific to the dolmens of the Seine-Oise-Marne culture from 4,500 years ago. The opening hole is about 50 centimeters in diameter. This is reminiscent of the “Pedra Formosa” in specific megaliths on the Iberian Peninsula.

Dolmen de la Pierre aux Fées

Without doubt the largest dolmen in France in the commune of Essé, a legendary place where the fairy Viviane (Lady of the Lake from the legend of King Arthur) left her traces: the Roche-aux-fées. Viviane is also associated with other structures, as told in King Arthur and megaliths.

At 6 meters wide and 4 meters high, this place is quite impressive. The structure is 19.5 meters long and oriented from the north-northwest to the south-southeast: it is oriented towards sunrise during the winter solstice. Originally, the building was covered by a burial mound. It was excavated in Roman times.

On the day of the winter solstice, the shortest day (in the Northern Hemisphere), the sun hits the rock at the bottom of the megalith at sunrise.

Legend has it that the fairies built the structure overnight. They would have transported the stones. When the building was finished, the construction fairies were late warning the fairies carrying large blocks. These had become redundant. So the latter dropped the rocks from their aprons, leaving menhirs like those of Runfort or those of the Trois-Marie. The Champ de la Pierre menhir and the Champ Horel menhir are also said to have been lost by fairies during the construction of these dolmen.

Such a monument had to inspire stories and superstitions. Certain beliefs pertain to the number of stones that would vary constantly. One of the views in particular is that at new moon newlyweds should count the number of stones by going around the dolmen individually, the women clockwise and the men the opposite; if they count the same number, their union will be lasting. There is also a “stone that testifies to marital fidelity”.

Everyone knows the Roche-aux-Fées, the famous dolmen and the meeting point of the most amazing Breton fairies.
Whether they’re called Plume, the Pipelette fairy, the Charms fairy, or the Holly fairy, their adventures are both magical and funny.
And don’t believe they stay between them!
They meet disturbing ghosts, hungry wolves, funny korrigans, unicorns from Pamplona, ​​benevolent witches, princes in love…, all magnificent actors of the 15 timeless yet so topical stories of this collection. 
Collection of 17 short, intriguing and funny stories that invite us to discover a wonderful world.
That of Plume, the apprentice fairy, to whom strange adventures happen near La Roche-aux-Fées.
We meet many korrigans, the ogre of the forest, the cow dragon, the fairy of Charms and the Wisdom fairy, the greedy king…
So many characters that are disturbing at times, but more often sympathetic!
They are called Plume, Margot the fairy, the Pipelette fairy, the Charms fairy… They all inhabit the Breton dolmen of La Roche-aux-Fées.
And luckily they have a thousand magical powers!
How else would they remain the heroines of the adventures in which they meet giants, witches, vampires, goblins, ghosts and others?
So many wonderful characters can be found in 18 magical and naughty stories in this collection.

In the fifteenth century, the Roche-aux-Fees was said to have been built like a cave by fairies to protect the souls of good people, but these fairies have fled. Since then, the whistling of the wind between the stones would be the lament of souls who no longer visit them.

In the seventeenth century it was recorded: “The people around here want it to be an ancient temple of the fairies, to whom their ancestors had great reverence; ridiculous opinion, but not surprising when we consider that it is the farmers who think so. Other people believe that this monument was the tomb of a Roman general.” A century later, Arthur de La Borderie wondered what was right; the poetic legend of the peasants or of the pedantic blunder of the sensible people.

In 1904, Adolphe Orain described the Roche-aux-Fées as an introduction to his story La Fée des Houx. A farmer tells how the stones were transported:

…they each brought three at a time, one under each arm and a third on the head. If one of these stones escaped them, it was over, the devil prevented them from lifting it. The unfortunate fairy who had befallen this misfortune had to start the journey all over again. And indeed in the adjacent fields, scattered here and there, one sees gigantic stones lying on the ground and strange to the rocks of these fields.

In this story, a woodcutter and his wife bury an unopened jar in La Roche-aux-Fées in exchange for a magical purse containing gold coins at will. In other legends, a farmer tricks a fairy who wants the newborn baby from the farm.

It is said that “whoever destroys the Essé dolmen will die within a year”.

The “allée couverte” La Roche aux Fées is the biggest dolmen of France, foto taken in 2011
Felix Benoist drawed La Roche aux Fées between1850 and 1860

The Roche aux Fées mentioned above most closely resembles the Bagneux dolmen in size and appearance. The building is also known as La Grande Pierre Couverte, La Roche-aux-Fées or Le Grand Dolman. Different traditions attribute the construction of this edifice to the fairies, sometimes to the Druids or the Goths.

The dolmen of Bagneux is one of the largest dolmen in France. According to Michel Gruet, the dolmen of Bagneux is the largest dolmen in Anjou. Due to its regularity and size, it is one of the most imposing and characteristic dolmens from the Neolithic.

A photo taken in the dolmen of Bagneux

The Pierre-Couverte is a dolmen in Pontigné. According to a local legend, all you need to do is put a plowshare and a silver coin under the dolmen and you’ll find it sharpened the next day with the change (or unsharpened if the sum isn’t enough). Another tradition holds that engaged couples go in together to find happiness. Animals that come too close to the dolmen will be removed by the fairies.

The dolmen de Bouéry, Pierre levée de Bouéry, Pierre aux Fées or dolmen du Peu-de-la-Tâche is a dolmen in the forest of Bouéry à Mailhac-sur-Benaize. According to tradition, the dolmen was built by four fairies. The table has almost forty small conical cups. According to testimony collected in the early 20th century, most of these holes were made by young shepherds with nails while tending the sheep, but some appear older.

According to legend, the Maison des Fées in Miré was built by fairies. They would also have lived in the dolmen. The capstone is said to show imprints left by the head and hands of the fairy who carried the stone.

Above and right: Maison des Fées 

One of the northernmost standing stones in France: in the Pas-de-Calais département, La Table des Fées is located in the town of Fresnicourt-le-Dolmen. The place name is named after these dolmen. Adrien de Mortillet, Claude Burnez and Jean Arnal consider it an allée couverte, while Auguste Terninck saw it as a passage grave.

According to Terninck and Lequien, it was part of an important megalithic complex consisting of four megalithic tombs that formed a diamond and were connected by alignments of menhirs, as well as a double tumulus. The complex was destroyed in the middle of the 19th century to serve as building material. It is said that this dolmen “saved his life” because lightning struck it and thus it was impossible to use it in construction.

This corner of the forest is said to be supernatural… At certain times of the year, the fairies, “les demoiselles blanches” or “the white maidens”, gather around the dolmen to celebrate ancient rites. Their silhouettes appear among the shadows, before forming a circle around the dolmen and dancing to the sound of music that seems to come from the ground… Woe to the lost travelers or the humble walkers who, enchanted by the spells, invade their circle. The demoiselles blanches, it is said, lead them to their world, the entrance to which is under the dolmen.

La Table des Fées in Fresnicourt-le-Dolmen

Le Dolmen de Hamel, Pierre-aux-savates (stone with slippers/slippers), la cuisine des fée or cuisine des Sorciers (kitchen of the fairies or kitchen of the magicians) in Pierre Chavatte is described in detail by M. Bottin, secretary of the Lille Science Society, in 1805. It had four supporting stones at the time, but two were knocked down by workers around 1830. The capstone is 3.40 meters long, 2.45 meters wide and 0.35 meters thick.

The structure dates back to the Neolithic Age, erected between 2800 -2000 BC, and it was restored in the 1930s. It is now only a small part of the original structure. Many stones were used for road construction, others remained buried in the ground during restoration.

The surface of the capstone has a dozen cylindrical cups, 7 to 8 centimeters wide and deep, eight of which are extended by trenches 10 to 12 centimeters long. They may be of natural origin, but the regularity and brilliance indicate human intervention. According to L. Desailly, their arrangement would correspond to a representation of the constellation Ursa Major (Great Dipper).

These cups “similar to the mark a violent kick from the heel would leave in the clay” gave them the name “savates”, or “stone savate”.

According to local tradition, the stones were not worked by human hands. About a century ago, the structure was a refuge for the Caramaras, who had the powers to heal, predict the future and cast spells. The forest also had an obscure name: “Bois de Saturne” (forest of Saturn/Satan).

The “common drinking glass” sized cups look so much like small pots that they were soon rumored to be used by wizards to assemble their philtres. Philtre is a type of magic potion (sometimes called an amulet or drug) intended to make the drinker fall in love with the giver. The name la cuisine (the kitchen) is said to come from the same cylindrical cups that can be reminiscent of small pots.

Le Dolmen de Hamel in 1830

According to the stories it is better not to wander too much along the path that runs along the clearing on full moon nights, near the dolmen you will certainly hear very curious sounds…

There are other explanations for the cups in folklore. One reveals that the most regular holes are actually the legs of a chair where a fairy sits as she turns… Another tells that the imprints left on the stone are those of witch dance steps… it’s easy to imagine that nighttime ritual dances take place during a witches’ sabbath. It is also said that the footprints on the dolmen are the footprints of the Virgin.

So it is fairies, wizards and witches (and the occasional Virgin) who guard the place and woe betide anyone who climbs the dolmen and disturbs their peace! A few steps from the stairs leading to the dolmen, water flows from a well. It is the “Cuisine des Fées”, a source frequented by the villagers for its beneficial virtues.

Above: photo taken before restauration

Right: photo taken after the restoration, the large pans are clearly visible (also in the stones that are now used as supporting stones)

The dolmen des Trois-Pierres, Pierre Percée or Pierre Trouée is an allée couverte in Trie-Château. According to the most current legend, the building was built by the fairies who brought the stones in their aprons. In a second legend, less classical, the monument came out of the ground by itself, like a plant. Legend has it that the pierced stone has healing properties, weak children were passed through it to restore their health, and newborn babies were placed on the capstone.

The Dolmen de Mettray or the Grotte-aux-Fées is the largest dolmen in Touraine. The dolmen is 11 meters long by 4.50 meters wide, and is 2 to 3 meters high. Two menhirs and another dolmen, now gone, were placed close to this “Cave of the Fairies.” The edifice was erected between 2500 and 2000 BC.

The Grotte aux Fées was excavated in 1910. Bones, polished flint including an “imported” ax and fragments of pottery – some decorated with simple motifs (undated) – were collected here, but have been lost.

Neolithic carvings could be found in this dolmen, but these traces were destroyed by vandalism in the mid-1960s. In the mid-1980s, the dolmen was consolidated, because the supporting stones tended to tilt inwards. In addition, fires are regularly lit in the dolmen, making the stones weaker.

Three fairies (like the number of stones) are said to have built the dolmen in one night. Indeed, the structure is covered by three gigantic slabs that form the roof of two rooms, separated by a partition. If someone moves the stones, they will return to their place the same night and the person responsible will risk dying within the year. Another story tells that the fairies took up residence in the dolmen.


The Maison des Fées (house of the fairies) is located in the Mesnil forest in the French department of Ille-et-Vilaine. In 1929, the owner of the site, Baron Surcouf, asked English archaeologist Robert Mond to excavate the monument. In 1931, Robert Mond undertook a meticulous excavation and restored the monument. The structure is oriented along a north-northwest/southeast axis.

One stone was decorated with a rectangular cartouche around two pairs of breasts carved in bas-relief. One was mutilated in the 1980s. Before 1960 there were 16 pairs of breasts. They are attributed to the dolmen goddess: Déesse Mère (mother goddess) or Déesse des Morts (death goddess). The image can be anthropomorphic, symbolic or abstract. Usually it is a half torso without a head, with two or more breasts and a chain that is made up of several layers. The dolmen goddess is found all over the world. In France, her image can be found at the allée couvertes Kerguntuil, Prajou-Menhir, Crec’h Quillé, Mougau-Bihan, La Maison des Feins, allée couverte de la Bellée, allée couverte de Dampsmesnil, La Pierre Turquaise.

According to the report of the excavations, a skeleton, pottery, a necklace of soapstone beads, a bronze ace dated to the time of Domitian and two iron fragments were found.

The fairies that inhabited the monument one day let a cow escape and it went to graze in a nearby meadow. To compensate the owner of the meadow, the fairies offered him a piece of bread that would not harden or shrink as long as the farmer kept its origin a secret. The piece of magical bread remained intact for a long time, but the farmer eventually confessed its origin and the bread became so hard that it was impossible to eat it.

Two pairs of breasts on the stone on the right
Spherical shapes on the stones

The Pierre Levée (raised or standing stone) is a dolmen located in La Jarne. Several legends are associated with these dolmen. According to the first, passers-by regularly saw animals there at night. After a resident of the neighboring town of Clavette asked a ghost about his desires, the latter replied that he would be released only on the condition that a mass for his soul be celebrated in the church of Saint-Nicolas de La Rochelle and a procession for the stone would pass. So it happened and the ghost disappeared. In a second legend, the fairy Mélusine lost the stones on the way during an air transport (during the construction of the Château de Lusignan). A third story tells that a golden calf was hidden under the monument, which contributed to the destruction of the dolmen by treasure hunters.

The Cave aux Fées is an allée couverte in Brueil-en-Vexin. According to local beliefs, the site was inhabited by fairies. According to another local legend, a white cow came out at the stroke of midnight on dark nights.

Cave aux Fées

Similar stories can also be found in other places, such as Germany. Treasures hidden under a megalith. The construction of a gigantic structure in one night, stones that automatically return to their original place and the danger of moving the stones (which one has to pay with death) occurs in Charlemagne and (the destruction of) dolmens. Similar stories can also be found about sacrificial stones. The cups and grooves were made by the devil, a giant, hero or saint (as told in stories about sacrificial stones and the sequel).

In Spain and Portugal the dolmen are also associated with fairies, here they are also called Mouras (Moors). The Mouras Encantadas (enchanted Moors) wore the stones on their heads and are associated with spinning threads. They revolved (sometimes with a spindle), as is also told in stories about the fairies in France.

The megaliths were sometimes demonized. But sometimes also assimilated. In those cases, the pre-Christian goddesses or fairies were replaced by the Virgin Mary, or by another saint, as described in who built the megaliths on the Iberian Peninsula. The stories changed, they adapt to the place and time, but the core remains…

Marinda Ruiter

This is a map from 1852 of the French department of Ille et Vilaine. The coastal area is famous for its seafood, and especially its oysters. The region is also known for its remarkable megalithic prehistoric ruins; the Roche-aux-Fées is pictured at the top.

This is a translation of a Dutch article, sources can be found in that article: Dolmen en feeën in Frankrijk


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