Les Pierres Civières

February 20, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Les Pierres Civières or from stone walls (imagined or fantasised) to imaginary megaliths (lighter and more fanciful) 

I came across “les pierres civières” in the Creuse, in the most central (and yet most isolated!) part of France, by chance. The site, marked on the map with an orientation table, aroused my curiosity enough to make a fifteen-minute detour.

So I arrived without expectation, through the dense forestry plantations, deep and dark but not quite lovely, to the clearing on the side of a hill where these great granite boulders form a jumbled mass of stone. And where a certain order and elegance emerges from the mineral confusion. Just enough to make you half wonder, without knowing better, did man have a hand in this?

But no, the “Civières” rocks are an entirely natural geological formation. The hillside used to be covered by similar blockfields, what the French call a “chaos” of boulders. But exploited by quarries, only the Civières rocks, now a protected site, remain. This and the setting within a clearing surrounded by the forest contribute to the sense of a place that has been chosen. A place where matter makes tangible the heft of history. Great boulders heaved by unknown ancestors or heroes of mythology. Just a whimsy notion. But then, the visceral human connection to rock is perhaps all the stepping stone imagination needs to take a flight of fancy.


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