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 Location: Between Samur and Blois, France.  Grid Reference: Various


      The Loire Dolmens: (Dolmens).

Bajoulerie Dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com)madelaine dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com)Bagneux dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com)Bagneux dolmen (aqncient-wisdom.co.uk)

This group of dolmens is congregated between Samur to Blois, on the river Loire are some of the most impressive in France. They are puzzling to archaeologists as none of them appear to have ever been covered with earth, and there have been no human remains found in them, which precludes them from having been intended for passage mounds or funerary structures. (1)

Quick Links:

Madelaine Dolmen.
La Pierre Couvert.
Bagneaux Dolmen.
Bajouliere Dolmen.

Several of these giant dolmens include stones weighing between 50 and 100 tonnes apiece.

The Loire dolmens were constructed with huge granite slabs, often seen with squared-off edges and corners, the largest chamber at Bagneux is so big that one has the feeling that one might be entering a temple or meeting chamber.




   The Grand Dolmen of Samur:


Privately owned. Entrance fee. Restricted viewing hours.


Location: Saumur, south of the Loire.

The largest 'dolmen' in France - It has has four massive capstones each about 2ft thick with the largest estimated 'very accurately by Vice-Admiral Boyle Summerville to weigh just over 86 tons'. (1)

Grand dolmen of Samur.

Bagneux dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com) Bagneux dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com) Bagneux dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com)

When we consider that the walls of the dolmen were also made of the same gigantic slabs, the overall estimate for the amount of stone used at the site to be around 500+ tons.


A plaque at the site tells us that the overall length of the dolmen is 23m (75ft), with the internal chamber at over 18m (60ft) in length and at least 3m high. There are no carvings or markings present. This site is unlike any other (remaining) and the specific design suggests a function. As with the other Saumur dolmens, it was built with large stone slabs, squared and trimmed in a style particular to this area.

Bagneux Dolmen. (ancient-wisdom.com)

Inside the Dolmen there is a stone bench and a supporting pillar under one of the capstones.

Although the Dolmen was built next to the Loire, it doesn't face it, but was orientated with its opening facing east, and may have once overlooked the distant junction of the Loire/Vienne, although all such views are now restricted by modern development.




   Bajouliere Domen:

Location: Along a beaten track, La Fontaine.

This spectacular 'dolmen' is one of the largest in all Europe. Although the capstone is now broken into four pieces, it is estimated to have originally weighed in at around 100 tons. This is strictly not a dolmen, but rather a 'portalled chamber', with a distinct portalled entrance and several internal supporting stones (under the cracks in the capstone), which now divide the chamber into smaller sections. It opens to the south-east, suggesting a possible orientation towards the winter solstice sunrise.

Bajouliere was constructed in a secluded location with a poor view, making one wonder what the reason for its location was.  The adjacent rocky outcrop offers a possible explanation for this, which apart from being a good source of stone, has several interesting features in the rocks, as the following photos show.


An 'Ape-like' rock in the undergrowth next to the Dolmen.



This long natural granite outcrop runs like a 'vertebrae' for over 20m. One end has this 'egg-shaped' rock lying under it.




   Dolmen de la Madelaine:

Location: On the D69 just south-east of Gennes, Nr Saumur.

This 'Dolmen' is located on a hill with a good view of the surrounding countryside. It is approximately 10m long, 4m wide and around 3.5m high.  The structure, when compared with other giant local dolmen, has less squared stones, and a more 'natural' feel to the shape of the stones and the way they were put together, suggesting an earlier construction.

Dolmen de Madelaine (ancient-wisdom.com)


The Dolmen de la Madelaine has a (Possibly incidental) side entrance at one end and is open-ended at the other. This design is unlike any other of the Saumur 'dolmens', although the three cap-stones and overall style, size and 'square-ness' are.


Cunault dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com)Madelaine dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com)madelaine Dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com)

The bread oven in the picture above is inside the dolmen.




   La Pierre Couverte:

Location: East of Bauge and accessible along a track through woodland.

It is constructed in the same style as the other dolmens of the region, with a portalled entrance and a huge cap-stone which is now broken in two.

La Pierre couvert (ancient-wisdom.com)

The rounded stone at the end of this dolmen is reminiscent of that seen at La Table des Marchands at Carnac, as is the portalled entrance. The giant lozenge-shaped capstone is split cleanly in half.

 La Pierre couvert (ancient-wisdom.com) La Pierre couvert (ancient-wisdom.com) La Pierre couvert (ancient-wisdom.com)




   Other Dolmens in the Region:

Landes de Gaulois dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com)The smallest dolmen in France? - There are several other dolmens along this stretch of the Loire, mostly built to the same scale as those above, but it is ironic that in this very same area of such giant structures, that the smallest dolmen (That I've seen) in France can also be found.

This dolmen lies east of Landes de Gaulois, near Blois. It stands under 1m high, and is just over a metre in width and depth. The similarity in design to its giant neighbours (such as the six completely unnecessary supporting stones), gives it the appearance of a 'dwarf' dolmen, or possibly a scale model, anyway the stark contrast with other structures in the area results in a guaranteed chuckle  for any intrepid hunter.


La Pieree levee (ancient-wisdom.com)Not far from this miniature dolmen, is La Pierre Levee, (or 'La Table-du-Diablo' - The Devil's table), which is constructed in the same style as, but nowhere nearly as grand as its giant Loire neighbours. It has good visibility, and was made from noticeably different rock to the ones near Saumur and Tours. It is dated at around 3,500BC.

This dolmen lies on the D957, just north of Blois. The information plaque at the site identifies another ten dolmens and menhirs in the immediate vicinity. As with other dolmens in the area, it has a portal entrance and it is orientated east/west with its entrance facing the sunrise at the equinoxes.



'Bouche Dolmen' - This dolmen is located in a farmers field near Bouche. It is partially collapsed, and has the appearance of having had one or two of the support stones pulled out from under one side. Before its collapse, it would have had a portalled entrance, and is similar in size to La Pierre couvert (above). The capstone is split in half as at La Pierre couvert, but with squared-off ends.

Bouche dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com)


Bouche dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com) Bouche dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com) Bouche dolmen (ancient-wisdom.com)


Other dolmens can also be found north of the Loire at Soucelles, La Roche Thibault, Bauge, Nr Mettray (La Grotte des Fees). South of the river in the Samur region there are more west of Gennes and in a farmyard near St. Hilaire (Dolmen de la Pierre Boire), and the massive Le Gros-Chillou at Briancon, Cravant, which is 50 ft (15.2 metres) long and 10 ft (3.1 metres) high.



   Standing Stones in the Area:


The stone on the left is approx' 2m high and stands on the D766 between Beamont and Neuille-Pont-Pierre. The stone on the right is approx' 3m high and  stands on the N751, just outside of Gennes.


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