The Devil's Bridge, a legendary place to discover in Ariège

Montoulieu
The Devil's Bridge, a ...

Land of tales and mysteries, Ariège is full of historical curiosities and atypical monuments. Some are known internationally. Others, more discreet, are also worth a detour. Nestled in the heart of wild landscapes, 8 km from Foix, the Pont du Diable or “ Pont St-Antoine ” spans the Ariège river and bears a legend haunted by the spirit of the Devil. During a short pleasant stroll to discover this mystical heritage, disconnect in the heart of nature and unravel its deepest mysteries!


Devil's Bridge

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The legend of the Devil's Bridge

Located between Foix and Mercus, near the RN20 towards Tarascon, the Pont du Diable is an unusual curiosity to explore during a little adventure with friends, as a couple or as a family. On arriving at the site, a car park allows vehicles to be parked before taking the marked path through the forest which descends towards the banks of the river. After a few minutes, the sumptuous stone building rises between two rock faces. At this point, the Ariège gorges narrow and the bridge offers a magnificent view of the intense blue of the river below.

The good idea Just a 10-minute drive away, come and visit the Forges de Pyrène: a journey through time to discover the old trades.



Devil's Bridge  Devil's Bridge


The fortified medieval appearance of this bridge is intriguing. However, its origins were long forgotten to the point that folklore took precedence over its history. Legend says it was built in the 12th century on the orders of Raymond-Roger, Count of Foix, to facilitate communications with his vassals and connect Montoulieu and St. Paul. The latter demanded from the Baron of Saint-Paul to erect a bridge and gave him a month to complete the work. A dreamer and a spendthrift, the Baron had no money to hire workers and pay for materials.


The good idea The most beautiful villages of Ariège are all present in our article, organize your cultural getaways!


He decided to make a pact with the Devil who promised to build the bridge in exchange for the soul of the first living being that will cross it. The baron accepted the market and the bridge was built the next day. Taken with remorse for having sinned and having to give up the life of an innocent man, the baron went to confession to the abbot of the Saint-Volusien church. Instead of lecturing him, he whispered a few words in his ear that made him smile. The next day, the baron went to the completed bridge, awaited by the Devil himself for the sacrifice of the first comer. The baron opened the basket he was holding in his hand, letting a black cat escape, which rushed across the bridge. The angry and humiliated devil fell into Ariège and disappeared forever.

On the spot, it's easy to imagine how much this place fueled the rumors of the country with this epic tale to tell to children. However, it seems that this story was invented from scratch!


The good idea Do you like beautiful natural spaces? A 30-minute drive away, go to Roquefort-les-Cascades to see sumptuous petrifying waterfalls. Read our report!


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The history of the Devil's Bridge

Devil's Bridge

Old postcard of Pont du Diable


Oddly, this bridge does not appear on any official old map. He is not on any path of importance. It is not mentioned in any historical archive. Surprising, isn't it?

In fact, the bridge was built in 1836 by the local entrepreneur Adolphe Garrigou in order to allow his brother-in-law, the polytechnician Léo Lamarque to experiment with a waterwheel of his invention which plunged directly into the river between the two main arches of way to operate a mill. A much more realistic version that requires much less imagination!


The good idea Organize your stay in Ariège with the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide! Are you traveling in the winter? Here are several good ideas to keep you occupied during your holidays, there are plenty of things to do in Ariège in winter. Perhaps you would like to know more about the places to ski and enjoy the snow in Ariège? Click to read our article. Are you traveling in the summer? Here are the addresses of places to bathe and enjoy a moment near a water point.

A pleasant walk along the banks of the Ariège

Devil's Bridge
Devil's Bridge  Devil's Bridge


Cross the bridge to enjoy the splendid panoramic views over the green and steep banks of the Ariège. Renovated in 1946, 2016 and 2020 while respecting its architecture, the Pont du Diable site is perfectly secure even if its appearance may seem a little in ruins, its arches and the crests of the walls were consolidated on several occasions. Wooden information panels are installed on the site for walkers. On the right bank, do not hesitate to venture on the path to go down to admire its old stones up close. In this plant labyrinth, the lower part of the bridge is revealed.


Devil's Bridge
Devil's Bridge  Devil's Bridge


Local residents practice walking and contemplation during a bucolic stroll or a refreshing swim during the hot summer days. This site, classified as a Historic Monument since 1942, is located in a preserved green setting which is a delight for nature lovers and heritage buffs.


Devil's Bridge

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Report and photos produced by Lesley Williamson for the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide


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