Brocéliande is a temperate forest located around the village of Paimpont in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine in Brittany, France. Covering an area of 9,000 hectares, it includes the castles Château de Comper and Château de Trécesson as well as the national historical site the Forges of Paimpont, and is part of a larger forest area that covers the neighboring departments of Morbihan and Côtes-d'Armor. It has many locations claimed from the Arthurian legend, including Val sans retour, the tomb of Merlin, and the fountain of Barenton.
The forest is located in the north-western French region of Brittany, about 30 km south-west of the city of Rennes. It occupies mainly the territory of the commune of Paimpont but extends to bordering communes in the department of Ille-et-Vilaine, mainly Guer and Beignon in the south, Saint-Péran in the northeast, and Concoret in the north.
The forest is an area of ZNIEFF and Natura 2000. It is owned mainly privately by those who maintain and exploit it for timber and for hunting; only a small part in the northeast (10%) is state owned and managed by the National Forest Office. This situation prevents free movement in the forest, even on the outskirts of the village and its lake. The owners have however signed an agreement authorizing the hiking, although some paths of the forest are closed during the hunting season. Forest guards watch for behaviors that threaten the forest and its flora and fauna.
Brocéliande, earlier known as Brécheliant and Brécilien, is a legendary enchanted forest that had a reputation in the medieval European imagination as a place of magic and mystery. Brocéliande is featured in several medieval texts, mostly related to the Arthurian legend and the characters of Merlin, Morgan le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, and some of the Knights of the Round Table. It first appeared in literature in the Roman de Rou chronicle by Wace in 1160 and today is most commonly identified as Paimpont forest in Brittany, France.
The forest is also home to one other entity that is a legend all his own: the beech tree Lord Ponthus, who rules from deep within the forest itself.