Milky Way behind Roland's Breach in the Pyrenees, Hautes-Pyrénées, France
© SPANI Arnaud/Alam
Roland's Breach, Pyrenees, France
The Milky Way looks like it is pouring into this giant gap, Roland’s Breach, high in the Pyrenees on the border of France and Spain. This towering natural wonder is 40 metres wide and about 70 metres deep and found on the outskirts of the famous Cirque de Garvarnie – a spectacular amphitheatre-like cliff face, from which numerous waterfalls pour.
According to legend, Roland’s Breach was created by the famous knight who served Charlemagne, the first Holy Roman Emperor. The story goes that Roland tried to destroy his sword, Durandal, after being defeated in the Battle of Roncevaux Pass in 778 CE, creating the opening in the rock face. Found at an altitude of 2,807 metres, these days Roland’s Breach and the Cirque de Gavarnie are popular destinations for experienced hikers keen to experience one of France’s most stunning natural attractions.