La Pierre Percée – Pierre-Châtel, France - Atlas Obscura

La Pierre Percée

Pierre-Châtel, France

According to a local legend, this peculiar mountaintop rock formation is actually a demon that was turned into stone. 


Perched atop the Matheysin plateau, the Pierre Percée (Pierced Rock) is a natural limestone arch, considered to be one of the wonders of the region.

According to local legend, the rock is actually a petrified demon, the result of a bet between the Duc de Lesdiguières and the Devil. There is actually a small kernel of truth in this tale: despite originally being a natural formation, the rock is now partially artificial. Can you spot it? At some point in the early 20th century, the thinner side of the arch was reinforced with cement, as it threatened to collapse. You can see this change when you compare its current state with photos from the 19th century.

Look through the Pierre Percée and you’ll be treated to a wonderful, panoramic view of the green plateau and its famous surrounding mountains, including the vast Vercors range and the colossal Obiou peak. It also offers multiple great hiking opportunities. To get there, you can either start from the town of Pierre-Châtel and go up the mountain’s eastern face, or leave from La Motte D’Aveillant to go up its western face. Both routes take about an hour to reach the top. Simply follow the abundant signage around town, and look out for red and white trail markers.

Along the way, you may come across an archery range, a goat cheese farm, and plenty of munching cows. At the summit, you’ll find lots of flat ground – perfect for a picturesque picnic –while the more adventurous of you can try and scale the famous rock. Just be careful not to wake the sleeping demon.

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September 20, 2022

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