Petrified Fountain of Réotier – Réotier, France - Atlas Obscura

Petrified Fountain of Réotier

Réotier, France

This otherworldly French waterfall looks like its waters have turned to stone. 


Located in the small of beautiful French area known as Réotier there is a slowly trickling waterfall that has brought millennia of sediment out of the ground to form an alien rock formation known as the “Petrified Fountain.”

While technically petrified water is just ice, this wondrous landmark is something much more special. Thanks to an odd natural confluence, the waters that flow off of nearby hot springs seep down into the ground before bubbling back up and bringing buried minerals with it. The warm water drags gypsum, dolomite, limestone, and other components along as it travels underground, and by the time it actually comes to the surface at the Petrified Fountain, the resultant temperature changes cause the stowaway minerals to create the effect that the stone itself was made of hardened water.

Given the remote formation’s somewhat monstrous appearance it is unsurprising that local legends have sprung up around the site. As the story goes a peasant was returning to his wife in Réotier when he got caught in a hellish storm. After his cries to the gods went unanswered, he carried on blindly until a lull in the storm revealed to him what he thought to be a massive beast. The peasant went to defend himself before realizing that the monster was in fact just the Petrified Fountain. Relieved, he was able to make it home just in time for the birth of his child.

The Petrified Fountain likely does not have beastly pregnancy powers, but it is a wonder to behold, just try and visit when its not storming.  

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December 12, 2014

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