Brèche au Diable

Natural heritage, 


Brèche au Diable Calvados (1)
©J. Basile
Vue du tombeau de Marie Joly
©OT Pays Falaise
Calvados Tourisme
Promeneur en forêt
OT Pays Falaise
Ruisseau à la Brèche au Diable
OT Pays Falaise
Tombeau Marie Joly dans le Calvados
OT Pays Falaise
Thierry HOUYEL
Thierry HOUYEL
Thierry HOUYEL
Le cours d’eau du Laizon à la brèche au Diable. / © Thierry Houyel
Thierry HOUYEL

The breche au Diable or Devil’s breach in English, is unique in Normandy.

This deep wooded ravine with its stream and rock formations was first inhabited in the Paleolithic with finds dating from then through to the Neolithic.

Many legends are associated with it, the most famous being that of St Quentin and the Devil. St Quentin decided to live here as a hermit to help the local people who were constantly struggling with the rise and fall of the river Laizon. He made a pact with the Devil. If the Devil opened a channel in the rock for the river waters and then performed a simple task, he could take St Quentin’s soul. The hermit asked the Devil to wash a fleece in the stream and make it white again. But the Saint had given him a goat skin rather than a fleece and the Devil couldn't get it as white as a lamb. So Saint Quentin saved his soul without going back on his word. Marie Joly was a famous 18th century French actress. She was extremely beautiful and had many suitors, but she settled on M Nicolas Fouquet Dulomboy from Caen who was mayor of Tassily St Quentin. When she died, aged only 37, he was so striken with grief he erected this romantic tomb. The tomb and the surrounding area are still looked after by the family in whose care he left his beloved.


Free for all



  • Animals welcome
  • Groups welcome