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The Legend of the Gouffre

The Devil and Saint Martin

The Gouffre de Padirac has always sparked imaginations and fueled legends from Quercy.
There is talk of flames that sometimes erupt from the Gouffre and fabulous treasure that was hidden there by English soldiers at the end of the Hundred Years War. The stories often differ, but the devil is always present.

ln one of the most popular tales, the devil formed the Gouffre with the kick of his heel to challenge Saint Martin. lf the saint were able to cross the abyss, Lucifer would give him all the souls of the damned peasants he was about to drive straight to hell.
So Saint Martin, driven by his faith, spurred his mule. With a tremendous leap, the animal reached the other side of the crater, leaving an imprint of his hooves in the rock that is still discernable today.
Defeated and angry, the devil immediately disappeared to the bottom of the Gouffre…

The Gouffre de Padirac legend was born.



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