It was a cold but clear day when we visited the Valley of the Saints. While there was little information on the statues or any pamphlets or guides, here is what I gathered from the internet.
Origin of the Valley of the Saints
The idea came to Phillippe Abjean to create a single statue for every Breton saint. This is no small feat because there are over 1,000 of them, many of them forgotten or lost to history. To qualify for statuehood, the saint needs to have lived in Brittany between the Third & Tenth Century.
Each statue in the valley costs about $10,000 to create, stand about 15 feet tall and are made of solid granite.
There seems to be no logical way to view all of the statues on the hill, but that is part of the beauty of it all - you just wander among them, drawn by their unique shapes and silent gaze, all the while wondering about their origin and power.
In the absence of knowledge of each Saint, the overwhelming emotion for me this day is of the intention and deliberate mind that put these stones here - their funding, the artists, the minds behind the whole endeavour. I'm sure that in a 1,000 years from now, when all history of humans have been erased, these will remain. And visitors will stare upon them in wonder.
Photo's of Valley of the Saints, Brittany - Zac's eye view
When we first arrived at the Valley of the Saints, I was sort of like, "meh, this is sort of an attraction." What I meant by that was that it was put here deliberately and with a focus, maybe even to draw tourists. It's not natural nor even old. And yeh, I was skeptical. But as I wandered around this place, a beauty and peace settled in. I began to feel the sculptures their deliberate placement on this hill. Suddenly, instead of feeling manufactured and purposely placed, it felt magical and natural. The size of these beings and the variety of their designs is inspiring. One can feel the talent it took to make these statues, but also to commission them in the first place. This is a devotion that is felt as one wanders and weaves through each statue and experiences the beauty of the Valley of the Saints.
There were many people milling about on this beautiful sunny day but I felt utterly alone with the saints. It was after we left the Valley of the Saints and encountered some of Brittany's many megaliths that I realized these statues have much in common with ancient standing stones. There's a power and a peace that is felt in these rocks, in this place. I felt the millennia old traditions are still alive. I can't wait to come back and feel the new sculptures that are added.