Broceliande, Paimpont Forest

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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

In Arthurian legend, the Val sans Retour (Vale or Valley of No Return) is an enchanted land in which the powerful sorceress Morgan le Fay imprisons her lovers. The spell is eventually broken by Lancelot. The Val sans Retour has been identified with an area of the same name in Paimpont forest in Brittany, southwest of Rennes, which tradition has long held to be the site of the legendary forest of Brocéliande.

The medieval chronicler Wace visited the forest of Brocéliande (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."

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