Rising 602m above sea level close to the picturesque village of Toulx-Sainte-Croix in the Creuse sits Mont Barlot and at its top lie the mysterious rock formations of Les Pierres Jaumâtres.
The area is one of outstanding natural beauty and the summit offers stunning views across the Creuse, the rocks are steeped in legend with tales of an ancient lost city, buried treasure and fairies.
The Pierres Jaumâtres get their name from the Latin word Matres or Mothers, Matres were ancient female deities that were worshiped in ancient Europe especially by the Celts and the Gauls.
One legend has it that King Arthur came to Toulx-Sainte-Croix where he fell in love with a local women and conceived a daughter who lies beneath the stones waiting for a prince to liberate her and French author George Sand used the rocks as a base for her novel Jeanne.
Geology tells us that the rocks were created by melting glaciers at the end of the ice age. Made up of granite, some of the huge rocks are impossibly balanced and some of the stones can be rocked if you stand in the right place.
There is a small parking area in the woods at the foot of Mont Barlot, once parked the Pierres Jaumâtres are easy to find – just follow one of the trails that head up to the top of the hill, the walk is very pleasant taking you through a variety of landscapes on your way to the summit and should take you around 45 minutes.
At the base of the hill on the road that runs toward La Chaume, there is also a cafe which is open to passers by and an adventure park which is made up of ropes and bridges high up in the trees.