The Legend of Bergerac’s Dragon

Cyrano is not Bergrac’s only legendary character. A strange creature was said to inhabit a cave near Lalinde on the Couze cliff.

What if the Scots weren’t the only ones to have a monster?

In occitan, coulobre means snake. According to the coulobre legend, a gigantic winged reptile with a huge mouth, horns, ears and claws was holed up in a druid’s lair. It is said that the creature was so large, that when it drank out of the Dordogne river, its tail reached the top of the Couze cliff. It attacked people and cattle, abducting them to devour them in its cave.

Legend says that the coulobre’s colossal force is behind the creation of the dangerous passage known as the Saut de la Gratusse, where whirlpools and strong currents led many a sailor to his untimely death. The Bishop of Périgueux, Saint Front, saved Bergerac’s inhabitants by traveling up the cliff to confront the creature and chase it away with the cross. A chapel overlooking the river was built in that spot.

The Bergerac coat of arms is divided into two parts : on the left, three golden fleur de lys on an azure (blue) background and on the right, against a red background, the flying golden dragon. The three fleur de lys were a symbol of Bergerac’s attachment to the crown. In 1322, under pressure from Charles IV, the Lord of Bergerac, Renaud de Pons signed the Statutes and Customs of the City of Bergerac. This officially recognized it as a consulate with a community, city body, seal, a house and a common safe!

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