I am very lucky to live within less than an hour of many natural heritage sites. My family and I moved to southern France back in 2017, and we’ve been enjoying getting to know the area. I continue to be in awe of all the wonders that the region of Occitanie has to offer. The region is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, from ancient settlements to winding medieval streets, vast mountain ranges, geological wonders, and incredible views.

The Pont du Diable (The Devil’s Bridge) is a 12th-century bridge located over the steep-sided gorge of the Hérault river. The legend behind the bridge is that the villagers wanted an indestructible bridge so badly that they called on the devil for assistance. A deal was made that promised the soul of the first creature to cross the bridge to the devil. When the bridge was built, the villagers tricked the devil by sending a poor dog with a cooking pot attached to its tail.

Built of limestone from the river gorge between 1025 AD and 1031 AD, this is one of the oldest Romanesque bridges in France. At 15 meters (49 feet) high and approximately 50 meters (164 feet) long, it consists of two main arches and two secondary openings to facilitate the flow of water during flooding events. The bridge, solidly anchored in rock, crosses the river at its most narrow point and marks the entrance of the Hérault Gorge. For over 1,000 years it has resisted the torrential floods of the Hérault river and has marked the passage between the vineyard-covered plain to the south and the hilly shrubland to the north, demonstrating the strength and solidity of its construction. The Pont du Diable is considered a “Grand Site de France” because it is a jewel of culture in the heart of a natural settling.

Always looking for vital links between people, cultures, and land, I wanted to not only show the history of this magnificent architecture but also the amazing natural site surrounding it. I chose a long exposure to illustrate the serenity of the scene as well as the bridge’s ability to withstand time. Here in this vast sun-drenched landscape, between the fragrant shrubland and famous vineyards, I find myself drawn to this limestone plateau I call home.