The Haute-Loire is full of myths and legends. To immerse yourself in their atmosphere, here is a selection of five hikes that allow you to live experiences that go beyond the beauty of the landscapes... At the borders of reality.

A walk in the footsteps of the buried treasure of the Château du Mézenc

On the highlands of Mezenc where the famous burle is rampant, it is said that a treasure would be hidden under one of the three Devil's Teeth, in a druidic crypt: it would be the gold of the Kings of Velay... Journalist Jean-Paul Bourre, Indiana Jones for years 80, ensures that it would take the form of an immense golden table which would in reality be the Grail...

How did the treasure arrive at Mézenc?

The secular legend reports that it would have been brought back by vellaves from the sanctuary of Delphi in Greece, then entrusted to the druids of Mézenc. As the Roman legions invaded Gaul, the Druids of Mézenc learned that Caesar had crossed the mountain and stormed the Antoune camp. The treasure of the Kings of Velay have stored the treasure in the underground of their castle...

A treasure under the protection of the druids

An underground tunnel dug into the side of the mountain and opening on one side into the cellars of Chastelas, on the other into the fort of Chazeaux, at Tombarel, gave access to the mysterious crypt which served as their shelter. The druids then hastened to wall up the entrance to the rock of Chastelas. But he was already too late. The druids saw the whole town of Chazeaux in flames, as well as the surrounding villages. Desperate, they invoked the sky. It was then that the fairies announced to them that, by chance, the entrance to the castle had been obstructed when the fort collapsed...

Very real places

Archaeological excavations have actually uncovered the remains of a castle. Le Chastelas is known to be one of the three Dents du Diable on the slopes of Alambre and Mézenc, in the commune of Chaudeyrolles. Le Tombarel is an old hamlet now in ruins, in the Veyradeyre valley south of Les Estables. As for Toupernas, it is the juice of Taupernas today integrated into the Ardèche commune of Béage.

Hike to the Grand Felletin in search of the 3 suns

Grand Felletin at 1 meters

At the dawn of the winter and summer solstices, three distinct suns appear!

On the borders of Haute-Loire and Ardèche, stands the Grand Felletin at 1 meters above sea level. A breathtaking view of the Monts du Pilat, the Vanoise park and the Écrins massif.

At the winter and summer solstices, three suns rise above the horizon

Legend has it that at the dawn of the winter and summer solstices, three distinct suns rise to rule the Alps before merging at the Zenith. This phenomenon has since been explained by scientists: it is the refraction of the sun on the glaciers of Mont Blanc.

A spectacular show for early risers

Even today at the solstices, there reigns at dawn an exalted tension near the orientation table of the Felletin. When the first rays appear, all you can hear is the clicking of cameras. Eyes moist from getting up so early, hope in chorus to see this privileged spectacle. The moment is magical anyway, as the already grandiose view is magnified by the morning lights.

PR 093: 20,9 km from Saint-Julien-Molhesabate. For the 3 suns expedition, it is necessary to favor a closer departure (like that of the Col de la Charousse) in order to arrive before the sunrise scheduled at 5:49 a.m. in summer! Other solution ? Sleep on the spot…

Dare to cross the Devil's Bridge in the Ance Valley

Beneath the magnificent village of Chalencon with its light stones blends the illustrious Devil's Bridge which spans the steep valley of the Ance. Legend has it that the incessant flooding prevented the construction of this long-awaited bridge. Amused by this game, the Devil offered his help on the condition that the first soul to cross the bridge would belong to him. Exhausted by the many failures, the lord accepted...

A bridge in exchange for a sacrifice

Once the bridge was built, all the inhabitants of the region had made an appointment to admire the sacrifice of the lord who advanced slowly towards the bridge under the smiling gaze of the Devil. It was then that his dog passed him. Furious, Satan had to take the animal and knocked down a large stone from the parapet before disappearing. Each time we tried to replace this stone, we found it the next day in the river. It seems that we can still observe the imprint of the devil's face, exasperated...

PR 666 (the devil's number!): 5,5 km from Saint-André-de-Chalencon

Discovering the mysterious druidic rock of Crouzilhac

In the Crouzilhac forest, north of Tence, a Celtic wind still blows. At the edge of the wood, a large rock sits this ancient presence. At its top, it is marked with cupules. Circular cuts which would have been used for sacrifices practiced by the druids. They were custodians of the tradition and knowledge of the Gauls, at the same time educators, judges and priests. This rock is not alone. All around, the arrangement of certain rocks seems to have been arranged, others are hollowed out with basins...

A ghost would still haunt the place...

Legend has it that a little man had the indelicacy to move a limit of the forest of Crouzilhac by transporting one of these markers. He was then condemned to wander without ever being able to put down this heavy stone which he carried on his back. One day, the lord of Mazel would have freed him by authorizing him to drop her off near the Mazeaux stream. The ghost of the troublemaker would still haunt the place. PR 040: 12,8 km from the Putting Golf de Tence.

PR 040: 12,8 km from the Putting Golf de Tence

Walk in the footsteps of the Beast of Gevaudan

It is here, across blueberry-covered heather moors and granite ridges that embrace the Margeride, that the terror of the Beast is still palpable.

From 1764 to 1767, this indefinable creature took the lives of a hundred victims, mainly women and children. The slaughter comes from an animal far more ferocious than an ordinary wolf. Rumors of a werewolf begin to circulate...

Those who managed to survive describe his astonishing speed, his devilish gaze or his intelligence worthy of a “cunning, sprightly and skilful gladiator”. Very quickly, the Beast becomes a state affair. Louis XV offers bounties that attract a multitude of hunters dreaming of making their fortune in Gévaudan. Faced with repeated failures, he sends his troops and even his own bodyguard. Nothing works, the attacks continue.

A werewolf, another escaped non-endemic species, a serial killer?

On June 19, 1767, Jean Chastel, a local peasant, slaughtered a huge animal. It is said to have "an ugly head and a red, white and gray coat" never seen on a wolf before. From then on, the massacre ceases...

Even today, the identity of the Beast is unknown. Popular legend believes in a werewolf, presumably because the killing blow was delivered with a silver bullet. Science hypothesizes a stray non-endemic creature, for example a hyena or even an escaped lion that the inhabitants of this rural France would not have been able to recognize. Others only imagine a group of large wolves while other theorists lean towards a serial killer accompanied by an animal...


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