Les Cinq Pineaux located Saint Hilaire de Riez in the Vendee

The Legends of the Pinecones

"Les Cinq Pineaux" and the "Trou du Diable" can be seen near Sion-sur-l'Océan in Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez, Vendée. The "Five Pinecones" and the "Devil's Hole" used to form a piece of land jutting out into the ocean - a cape that has eroded by the wind and the pounding of the sea over the years. In local folklore exist the legends of how these natural phenomenon came to be!
Legends of the Vendée
A bridge to reach the island of Yeu

In the VIth Century, Saint-Martin -Bishop of Tours- came to the Vendée region to preach the Good Word. One day as he worked along the beaches, he noticed the shimmering of an island off the coast (Ile d'Yeu) and promptly expressed that he wanted to go there to continue the quest of evangelizing the population.

For reasons unknown, no boat could take him there.

The devil, having heard about the plight of Saint-Martin, schemed in the background and before long approached Saint-Martin, proposing a pact: he would build a bridge for Saint-Martin to cross to the island in exchange for the first soul to cross the bridge to belong to him.

Les Cinq Pineaux located Saint Hilaire de Riez in the Vendee

Saint Martin gave the offer a good deal of thought and, committed to his work, decided to accept the Devil's offer. Hoping it would get the job done more quickly, Saint Martin countered he had but one condition: that the bridge would be completed by the next day's first crow of the rooster.

But the Devil found a way to plot more time to build the bridge (and thus delay of God's word). At the same time as employing leprechauns to build, the devil also called in some goblins to get the rooster  drunk to delay his crowing. It had the opposite effect: during the night, the rooster starts to crow at the top of his lungs. So loudly it caused the leprechauns to drop the blocks they were holding for fear of the devil's wrath.

le trou du diable at Saint Hilaire de Riez in the Vendee

The next morning, determined not to sacrifice a human's soul to the devil, Saint-Martin cleverly released a black cat on the bridge, chased by a dog. The devil was quite annoyed at having been outwitted by the saint. He kicked the cliff in anger and thus created the devil's hole.

Five petrified monks

According to the second legend, the devil was once imprisoned in the rock ledge. It was thought so because of the loud crashes that can be heard at the le Trou du Diable (Devil's hole). To guard his prison, five monks are said to have been petrified, thus becoming Les Cinq Pineaux.

Visit: practical information

Beach Sion-sur-l’Océan 10km+
Shore fishing – yes
GPS coordinates – 46° 43′ 19″ N, 1° 56′ 39″ W
Address – 85270 Saint-Hilaire-de-Riez
Nearby le trou du diable (devil's hole) 46° 41′ 50″ N, 1° 58′ 22″ W
Nearby Sion forest – The bay of Sion featuring the nearly 500 hectare Forest of Sion with extensive hiking trails among maritime pine trees, cypresses, and holm oak forest and wildflowers as well as a hiking and cycling path of 9km to Saint-Jean-de-Monts along the dunes between sea and forest,
Images – Copyright_A.Lamoureux_Vendee_Expansion