It’s October 31st! The one where witches, fairies, Devils and ghosts come out of their lairs: Halloween. And it’s already time to try a new thrilling hike. After Perbet mill last year, this time I ventured into the Bois de Breysse between Alleyrac and Presailles, to sit on the Devil's Chair. Beware of the demons of the night!

To reach the Breysse woods, you must cross the Monastier-sur-Gazeille and head towardsAlleyrac until you see the sign of the Breyssous Farm on the left. Turn and drive until you see the farm. Then borrow the path of Devès to go a little deeper into the forest. But not too far! Very quickly, a discreet water tower appears. This is where you should park. Engine shut down! The rest of the adventure is done on foot…

I then engage in the thickness of Breysse wood. It's already 16 p.m. and I have no idea which way to go. I follow my intuition… Safer than my sense of direction. But amazed by the beauty of the place, I forget to panic. I look, I observe, and I let the atmosphere of the undergrowth guide my quest.

Bois de Breysse in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

To my left, in the thicket, the remains of several stone walls. A former village of bandits it seems... “Brigands so powerful and so organized that it would have taken the intervention of the royal army to make them disappear,” describes Patrice Rey, from Museum of Popular Beliefs from Monastier-sur-Gazeille. Overgrown with moss, the remains of this village of once 1200 souls seem straight out of a fairy tale. So fiction or reality?

Former village of brigands in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

 At any moment, I expect to come across the cottage of a evil witch. But it's best not to worry, I haven't finished my research. The Devil's Chair is there, somewhere in this forest and I need to find it before night falls...

The dead leaves crunch under my feet, and through the trees, the day slowly begins to fade. Looking for that damn chair in the dark night, wouldn’t that be tempting the Devil? I have to hurry. I no longer walk, I run! Sometimes on the paths, sometimes slaloming through the trees. When suddenly two large piles of rocks rise up, lost in the middle of the forest (like me). I speed up my pace to examine them more closely.

Forest in Haute-Loire, Auvergne

I turn around, to the left, to the right, but nothing... No evil seat. False alarm. You might as well look for a needle in a haystack! CRACK! Sounds of branches, footsteps in the thick bed of red leaves... Someone approaching? No time to think or wait for a poltergeist to get in my way. I'm starting my race again!

“What if without knowing it, I had sold my soul to the Devil? »

At an intersection, a small sign appears: “Geo site” of the Grand Suc de Breysse. What if that was it? I have nothing left to lose anyway. So I follow the indication... when suddenly: the sound of hooves. Horses trotting and wheels in their wake... A carriage! What an improbable spectacle! That's it, I've definitely lost my mind! Another trap of this cursed forest. But no, apart from the presence of a carriage in this wood rich in folklore, nothing unusual on board. Just a couple out for a walk…

@Géraldine Garcia

“Hello, excuse me…” The team stops near me. " You are from here ? Do you know the woods? The Devil's Chair, does that remind you of something ? » It turns out that yes, luck is with me! No evil eye yet! I'm in the right direction, but we still have to go deeper into the undergrowth. The mood changes… or is it just the time moving forward? A clearing… finally a little light ! But it's only temporary. Between the trees, a dark and disturbing mass takes shape. And 4 clues indicate that I am heating…:

There’s even a pumpkin… Always more! It seems like everything is done to make me anxious. Brief. Let's follow the arrows, even if they don't seem to indicate anything. When suddenly, on the sides of a old volcanic chimney extends a real basalt cemetery covered with a thick green coat.

The silence is heavy. Only the wind makes the branches dance in a persistent murmur. As if it brought to my ears the echoes of ancient myths. Caution ? Maybe. And for good reason... Crashing from rock to rock, it finally reveals itself... The Devil's Chair !

The Devil's Chair in Haute-Loire, AUvergne

A story of fairies, Devil and witches

With its wide seat, its backrest which towers several heads above me and its armrest, the famous Devil's Chair imposes it. “It is said that in these woods, the Devil presided from this seat, the Witches' Sabbath and its demonic rituals, says Patrice Rey.

In the darkness of the Breysse forest, history also says that a black fairy hides: the Fachinaira. “A non-Christianized fairy, forgotten, abandoned,” describes Patrice Rey. A fairy harbinger of misfortunes who inspires fear. Under the moon, black fairies appear to men, attract them, betray them, push them towards crossing their limits. “It is said that it was she who taught them witchcraft. We have long been afraid of the black fairy of the Breysse woods! » As long as the night is still far away...

Fortunately, the forest isn't all about curses. Some protective creatures keep an eye on things. This is the case of Parisette… A extremely rare small plant with 4 (or 5) leaves, here present in number. “These plants are said to be fairies putting lost walkers back on the right path… And it is so easy to get lost in the Breysse woods,” underlines the specialist in local legends. And I want to believe that!

The Devil's Chair in the woods of Haute-Loire, Auvergne

To immortalize my find, dear Prince of Darkness, I took the liberty of testing your throne for a photo. But far be it from me to offend you... Miraculously, I found my car safely and set off home at sunset with the satisfaction of a successful mission. And will you be able to find the Devil's Chair?

Back to normality, or almost... I was finally going to leave the Breysse woods, when a final obstacle stood in my way. As improbable as a horse-drawn carriage in the middle of a mystical wood… I’m right! And my car stops, just in time to give way to… a pig.

Pig, creature of the Devil or symbol of wealth?

A pig, which in folklore is none other than a creature of the Devil. A symbol of vice and lechery. What if, without knowing it, I had sold my soul to the devil?
Fortunately, in local culture, the pig has a completely different meaning: it is a symbol of wealth and pomp. “It allows us to live in the time of the Devil: winter,” underlines Patrice Rey. In peasant medicine, pig fat is used to make famous ointments and ointments. It is also he who saves the town of Auzon of the English during the Hundred Years' War. »

Phew, finally, maybe I escaped the worst... But whatever it was, when I went to bed that night, the moon was full.

  • The PR 581 The Rock Mill : a 12 km loop and 3 hours 45 minutes of walking from Alleyrac to discover the imposing organs of the Moulin du Rocher enclosed in the Holme valley.
  • The PR 203 Circuit of Charbadeuil : a 11,5 km loop and 3 hours of walking starting from Pre-cut, in the footsteps of the Transcévenole, between two Strombolian volcanoes with incomplete craters, the Sucs de Breysse.
  • The GR 40 Tour of the Velay volcanoes also passes through the Breysse woods: 191.7 km for 9 days of roaming.
Vallat Square Abbey Castle
43150 The Monastier-sur-Gazeille
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