Roland's Breach, Pyrenees, France (with Map & Photos)

Rolands Breach - The Pyrenees, a mountain range on the border of France and Spain. 435 km. length, 60-130 km. lat. The highest middle part (central P.), with peaks: Anetou (in the Maladetta mountain group, 3404 m.), Vignemal 3290 m., Mont Perdu 3352 m., to the west of it is the passage of the Rolands Breach (2804 m.), Pic du Midi d'Osso 2885 m. and east. Items are less high: top. Canigou 2785 m., Pic d'Any 2504 m.

Rolands Breach Pyrenees France
Rolands Breach Pyrenees France

Legend has it that the famous Roland, so called because at birth he fell rolling to the ground (rouland), was the son of Princess Bertha, sister of Charlemagne and the Duke of Angers.

Roland spent his childhood in places in Italy and France, in contact with Nature. Over the years, he became one of the most famous knights of the time, for his dexterity, his arrogant bearing and his extraordinary bravery.

With his uncle Charlemagne, he marched one day to the historic battle that would lead to the defeat of Roncesvalles, in which the emperor, seeing defeat approaching and his army dilapidated, fled through the mountains. Roland, like another corpse, remained there, abandoned and wounded, buried by the inert body of his horse.

When he came to, and understood his precarious situation, he got up with a superhuman effort, moving his mount away with the help of his powerful sword Durandarte, and leaning on a rock. They say that the traces of his fingers can still be seen on the stone, as a testimony to his enormous strength.

Rolands Breach Pyrenees France
Rolands Breach Pyrenees France

Roland contemplated the terrible panorama for a few moments and tried to orient himself to find the way to France; but he had to do it cautiously, because the enemy was lying in wait. After two days and two nights, of great hardships, climbing and hiding among the cliffs, Roland managed to reach the Ordesa valley.

Once there, he had only to climb the steep mountains that enclosed the valley. But the enemy was close; he could already hear the sound of the troops pursuing him, and feel the breath of the dogs that sniffed out his trail. However, seeing that night was approaching, he made one more effort and managed to reach the last slope of the mountain.

When he was about to achieve it, the pack of dogs that had been tracking him appeared. With his sword Durandarte he managed to kill them without problems, but his forces weakened even more. He looked down and saw the fast-paced troops that had already spotted him and were heading for him. He understood that he would not be able to face the troop that was chasing him and making one last show, he threw his sword Durandarte to the other side of the mountain, to send a last farewell greeting from his homeland; but he didn't make it, and the sword slid down the slope back into his hands.

Up to three times he tried, but with the same result. Knowing himself dead, with a superhuman effort, Roland threw his sword one last time, with such violence that the sword hit the mountain and split it, leaving a gaping hole. So Roland was able to see his country for the last time.

His persecutors found him dead in this historic place, today inside the Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park and known since then as the Rolands Breach.

Roland's Breach Map