Granite boulders around Noirétable


In the area of Noirétable, there are numerous granite boulders, single or in groups, sometimes balanced on eachother or with suggestive shapes. It isn't surprising that in the past men attributed a religious role to them.


Today, it is often difficult to differentiate between natural and man-made. These boulders, called ''rocking stone, dolmen ou rock with basins'' are scattered throughout the area of Noirétable (Puy du Faux in St-Didier-sur-Rochefort, Mont Mory in St-Priest-la-Vêtre, la Baronnie in Cervières,...). They were censused at the end of the XIXth century by a local doctor, Dr. Bertrand, according to various categories: menhirs, dolmens, rocking stones, rocks with basin, rock with a legend. This General Councillor of the Loire Department, who reported to the National Department of Fine Arts, attributed a religious origin to the stones. Considering these rocks as druidic altars, he notably interpreted the hollows in some of them as human footprints carved by druids, and oriented to indicate the way to a sanctuary close to the Hermitage in Noirétable. This site, where a monastery was established in the XVIth century, could have been the site of an important druid college, according to his hypotheses. Scientific studies carried out by Ernest Chantre of the Lyon Anthropology Society, reported during a Novembre 4th, 1898 session that "these boulders with original shapes were the result of erosion in granitic terrain, which resulted in sets of a ruiniform appearance". These studies therefore counter the fanciful enterpretations that developed on the religious origins of these stones. The classification carried out between 1898 and 1908, was accompanied by numerous conventions so that each owner sold to the Loire Department, for a token Franc, all the plots with these boulders and stones, including "the paths to walk to the monuments".


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Granite boulders around Noirétable