©Vue du Roc au Chien à Bagnoles de l'Orne|Image par Cœur

The mysterious rocks

Discover the legendary rocks of Bagnoles de l’Orne

There is a legend attached to each of the rocks that surround the hot springs at Bagnoles de l’Orne. From the flat sided, needle-shapes rocks of “Saut du Capucin” to the “Roc au Chien”, these rocks each reveal in turn a magical story.

Le Roc au Chien

When you arrive at the spa you might notice a large cliff with fallen rocks below it. This is called “Le Roc au Chien” or “Dog Rock” and is named after two legends.

The first tells the story of a careless child who was playing too close to the edge and fell into a crevasse. Fortunately, the child’s dog had followed, and thanks to its barking, the child was found and rescued.  When the dog died, it was buried on the site and the location was known as “Dog Rock” in recognition and remembrance.

The second legend tells of an evil lord who brutalised a whole convent of nuns on the eve of his wedding. Of course, the wrath of God descended upon him and he was transformed into a monster with a dog’s head and tiger’s paws before being petrified in the rock.

Le Saut du capucin

Two rocky needles known as Le Saut du capucin, or “the capuchin’s jump” tower over the thermal spring of Bagnoles de l’Orne. The legend tells of a Franciscan friar whose legs ached so much he was practically unable to walk any more. He came to Bagnoles to be healed.

He promised to jump from one needle to the other if he regained the use of his legs after taking the waters of Bagnoles. The friar, who was a member of the Capuchin order, miraculously regained astonishing sprightliness. He therefore kept his word and jumped the four metres between the two rocksin one bound.

Les Pierres Plates

The Pierres Plates, or flat rocks, is an ancient place where the devil once came to milk his cows at nightfall. As you approach you can see the circular marks left in the sandstone by his bucket and the cows hooves.

From a geological point of view, this site is extraordinary. Several hundreds of millions of years ago, this was a sandy seabed. Sea creatures such as lingula and trilobites lived here. Geologists can therefore see the impression of these creatures of the ancient sandy seabed that has solidified to become Armoricain sandstone.