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Fears etched in stone

Given they are unique and more than 6,000 years old, the alignments of standing stones (menhirs) at Carnac should have been declared a Unesco World Heritage Site long ago. They are the French equivalent of Stonehenge.

That they are not yet classified among the Earth’s greatest cultural assets is due to local fears that World Heritage status would lead to the stones being turned into a sort of trivialised, over-developed ‘Menhirland’. Clearly, there is something wrong if the prospect of such prestigious recognition leads to concerns rather than jubilation.

Carnac may just make it out of the second division waiting list this year and if it does it should be seen as a chance to foster a high-quality, educational form of tourism rather than descending into the insensitive and commercial.

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