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Valentré Bridge

Valentre Bridge

 

Devils Bridge Imp 

A trip to Cahors in south-west France isn’t complete without visiting the majestic Valentré Bridge.  Built in the 14th century, this UNESCO World Heritage listed monument features three large square towers and six huge arches that cross The Lot River.

Also known as the Devil’s Bridge, it is the focus of a charming legend full of impatience, trickery, anger and revenge. 

After more than half a century of endless construction, it is said the architect of the bridge was so desperate to finish the project that he made a deal with the Devil. 

Satan was to be under the architect’s complete control and obey his every command until the bridge was finished.  In exchange, the architect would then give his soul to the Devil.  But if the Devil, for any reason, refused to do as he was instructed until the very end, he would walk away and the deal would be off. 

Construction moved along quickly but nearing completion, the architect began to realise what a foolish pact he had made and feared for his soul.  He devised a cunning plan to trick the devil into breaching the contract.

He commanded the Devil to bring him water for the last batch of mortar in a large sieve.  Of course, it was impossible to succeed at this task. Furious at the deceit, the Devil took revenge by sending an imp dismantle the bridge.

Every night, it broke a stone from a corner of the centre tower which had to replaced the following day, but as the cycle continued - night and day - the bridge could never be completed. 

It was not rebuilt until the 1879 restoration when the new architect, Paul Gout, added a carved imp trying to unseal the cornerstone stone in order to embrace the legend. 

The imp fails as his fingers are stuck in the joints of the stone, but hopefully it tricks the Devil once again by leading him to believe that his imp is still trying to sabotage the completion of this iconic bridge.