486km (302 miles) W of Paris; 37km (23 miles) SE of Lorient; 100km (62 miles) SE of Quimper

Aside from being a popular beach resort, Carnac is home to the largest megalithic site in the world. Spread out over 4km (2.5 miles), Les Alignements, as three fields of huge, upright stones are known, date back more than 6,000 years to Neolithic times. Scholars have debated their purpose for centuries, though most suggest they had astronomical or religious significance. One theory is that the stones marked burial sites. Another legend claims they are Roman soldiers turned to stone by the wizard Merlin. In all, the town contains 2,732 menhirs, some rising to heights of 20m (66 ft.).

Carnac’s five beaches stretch over nearly 3km (1.75 miles). Protected by the Quiberon Peninsula, they back up onto sand dunes and shady forests. Carnac-Plage is a family resort and camping hotspot beside the ocean and along the waterfront boulevard de la Plage. The area is packed in July and August.