Dating back to the 12th century, the Pont du Diable is a Roman bridge in Toulon-sur-Arroux, France. Legends surround the history of this 13-arch structure that crosses the River Arroux.
The first local legend concerns the Lord of Toulon. He had a castle at the east bank of the river, but his wife preferred to ride her horse on the other side of the Arroux. To cross the river with her horse without getting her clothes wet, she had to lift her skirts, exposing that she had clubfoot. The lord’s wife was very vain and it embarrassed her very much that everybody could see her foot. The lord ordered that a bridge be built, and she was able to cross the Arroux without lifting her skirts. Others say that the Duke of Burgundy built the bridge for his daughter, but for the same reason.
Another local story says that while the bridge was being constructed, the mason was struggling to finish on time. Fearing the consequences of a missed deadline, the mason made a pact with the devil: If the mason could not finish the bridge, the devil would have it done before the rooster crowed the following morning. In return, the mason promised the devil his daughter’s soul. The mason worked all night and wound up finishing the bridge in time. When the devil saw this, he was upset. To get the soul of the mason’s daughter, he stole a brick from the bridge and hid it.
But the devil did not count on the betrothed of the mason’s daughter, who loved the girl dearly. Expected foul play, the young man watched the bridge all night and saw the devil’s unfair act. After the devil was gone, he took the hidden brick and put it back in its place on the bridge right before the rooster crowed, saving the soul of his beloved. (Supposedly, a brick bearing the traces of the claws of the devil can still be found in the bridge, and never gets dirty or mossy.) When the devil realized that he was outwitted, he got so upset that he spent many days throwing big rocks around in the area surrounding Toulon-sur-Arroux.
Know Before You Go
The bridge can be visited at all times. The last wall of the Lord's castle can be seen on the East side of the bridge, short before reaching the bridge.