Nouvelle Aquitaine Section

Pierres Jaumatres stone clusters – Limousin

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Pierres Jaumatres, strange rocks formations

Les Pierres Jaumatres are located on Mont Barlot, to the south of Boussac and about 38km west of Montlucon.

Mont Barlot is part of the Monts de Toulx-Sainte-Croix and peaks at 591m above sea level.

The eastern section of this small mountainous region, which is part of the Massif Central, has an elevation of 656m.

The Pierres Jaumatres are clusters of massive stone boulders and eccentric rock formations that are known as chaos in geology and geomorphology.

TravelFranceOnline has two other excellent examples of chaos:

The Chaos de Montpellier-le-Vieux in Aveyron, and the Chaos of the Forêt de Huelgoat in Brittany.

How did these eccentric rock formations happen?

They are the result of the glacial erosion and torrential rains of the Quaternary Period.

The soft rocks eroded and disintegrated.

The hard rocks such as granite, on the other hand resisted.

They eventually detached and randomly piled up in huge clusters, creating the most unusual shapes.

Amazingly the French word chaos also means mess!

These gigantic unusual rock clusters gave rise to countless local legends!

Our distant ancestors indeed liked to believe that supernatural forces got involved in their creation.

They therefore gave names to some of the Pierre Jaumatres boulders.

You'll therefore discover La Bascule - The Balance, Le Berceau du Diable - The Devil’s Cradle, La Grenouille - The Frog, L’Oratoire - The Oratory, Les Pains de Sucre - The Sugar Loaves and Le Siege - The Siege to name a few.

Ancient people gave also a generic name to the site.

They indeed called them Les Pierres aux Matres (Mothers’ Stones).

Matres was the name of the Gallo-Roman mother-goddesses associated with fairies, those who protected families.

The name would have simply evolved into Pierres Jaumatres.

Some also believed (wrongly) that Gallic druids carved these strange clusters of stones in order tot use them as sacrificial altars, and that the name evolved from the Gallic jo-mathr meaning bloodshed.

Department of Creuse - Limousin region
Coordinates: Lat 46.312753 - Long 2.226115

Photos via Wikimedia Commons: header - photo1 - photo2 - photo3

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