Val sans retour

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Morgain the fairy enchanting the Val in Lancelot en prose (c. 1494)

In Arthurian legend, the Val sans retour (Vale of No Return or Valley Without Return), also known as the Val des faux amants (Vale of False Lovers) or the Val périlleux (Perilous Vale), is a valley depicted as a magical domain of Morgan le Fay in the French medieval story recorded in the chivalric romance prose cycle Lancelot-Grail. The legend is associated with an area of that same name, located in northern French Paimpont forest.


The earliest mention of the Val, and of its association with Morgan, the fairy sister of King Arthur, is found in the 12th-century French poem Erec and Enide. It is most prominent in the Arthurian prose romance Lancelot, a part of the 13th-century Vulgate Cycle, wherein the Val is an enchanted land in which Morgan imprisons her unfaithful lover and then many more knights who have been untrue to their ladies, as well as unlucky trespassers. The latter include Galescalain, Morgan's nephew, whose misadventures there are told in detail. Her spell is eventually broken by Lancelot, who has always been loyal to Guinevere and who succeeds in freeing all the knights but is then himself captured by Morgan for the first time.[1] The story is different in the Livre d'Artus, an alternate version of the Merlin part of the Vulgate Cycle, where it is also a place of punishment of the unfaithful women.

Real world location[edit]

Val sans retour's "fairy lake" in 2017

The Val sans retour has been identified with an area of the same name near the village of Tréhorenteuc in Brittany, France, which tradition has long held to be the site of the enchanted forest of Brocéliande. Its local legend is the same as the tale from the Vulgate Lancelot.[2][3][4]


  1. ^ "L'origine littéraire du Val sans Retour - Encyclopédie de Brocéliande". (in French). Retrieved 2019-05-16.
  2. ^ "Le Val sans Retour". Brocéliande (in French). Retrieved 2018-06-02.
  3. ^ "Le Val sans Retour". Office de Tourisme de Brocéliande (in French). Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  4. ^ "Val sans Retour - site légendaire Brocéliande". Destination Brocéliande en Bretagne (in French). Retrieved 2019-05-22.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°00′03″N 2°17′09″W / 48.00083°N 2.28583°W / 48.00083; -2.28583