Devil's Bridge (Herault)
Pont du Diable - Provence Beyond
The Devils Bridge (Pont du Diable) is a 12th-century bridge over a narrow gorge of the Herault river, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Pont du Diable, Hérault, is a stone bridge at the bottom end of the Hérault gorges, built in the year 873. This is one of the oldest Romanesque bridges in France. It's in excellent condition, and in a beautiful setting with its two arches bridging the narrow rock walls of the gorge.
The Pont du Diable is listed as a World Heritage Site on the Route of Santiago de Compostela in France. It's also part of a UNESCO World Heritage Super-Site, grouped with St Guilhem-le-Désert, St Guilhem-le-Désert Abbey and the Hérault Gorges.
You can walk across the Pont du Diable, and there's a view down to the lake-like area of the Hérault river just below, used for swimming, sunbathing and boating, with rental kayaks available for paddling up into the Hérault Gorges.
The ancient stone bridge is overshadowed by the much newer, and higher, road bridge just beside. Although the newer road bridge blocks the view of the Pont du Diable from the upstream side, it's a pretty enough arched bridge in its own right.
About 200 m upstream from the Pont du Diable (and the newer roadbridge) is another bridge arching across the Gorge. Seeming a bit mysterious because there's no obvious way to access the bridge, it's actually an aqueduct crossing the river.
Devil's Bridges Legend
The villagers want a bridge so badly they call on the Devil for assistance. Their pleas are answered by Old Nick, but with the condition that the first soul to cross the bridge would be taken by the Devil. When the bridge is built nobody will cross the bridge, sometimes for many years, unless the need is desparate. In some versions, an animal is sent across the bridge first, either a dog (for this bridge) or a cat (the legend of the Céret bridge), and that enrages the Devil who tries to destroy bridge.
The 14th-century single-arch stone Pont du Diable in Céret has this legend attached.
In the Hérault department there are two other Ponts du Diable, at the villages of Olargues (a Plus Beaux Village, 50 km NW of Béziers) and Villemagne-l'Argentière (40 km east of Béziers).
Another bridge known as Pont du Diable is the Pont Valentré: the main Medieval bridge in Cahors.
Further east in Provence is the little Pont du Diable in the village of Signes in the Var.
In the summer time parking is very, very difficult at nearby St Guilhem-le-Desert. There's a free shuttle bus (navette) between the village and the Pont du Diable. We would recommend you park here at the bridge and use the shuttle to visit the village and the abbey.