Witch Rock of Montmartre - Atlas Obscura

Witch Rock of Montmartre

This oddly shaped boulder in Paris is rumored to be cursed. 


Up a hidden alley in Paris, facing the Hôtel Particulier Montmartre, lies one of the strangest rocks in the area. The craggy stone, determined to not be of local origin, is almost completely covered in vegetation. A small opening in the bottom suggests the entrance to a tiny cave that has since been closed off. Even in Montmartre, this boulder looks out of place. This is the Rocher de la Sorcière, or the Witch Rock.

Some theories have been put forward as to the rock’s origin. Some say that it was a meteorite that landed in Paris long ago. Others claim it was cursed by a witch, to ward off intruders from her property. The true etymology of the rock’s ominous moniker, however, is less mysterious and scary than you might imagine. 

As it turns out, it was named by local children for the old woman who lived in the house next to the rock, who they called “the witch.” She likely did nothing at all to earn this nickname herself, as the path was called “passage de la sourcière” (as in the passage of a water source), which may have been confused with “sorcière,” or “witch.” And that’s all the rock ever was, a piece of an old well. These days, the only watering hole on this path is the Hôtel Particulier itself, and its lovely outdoor cafe.

Know Before You Go

The Witch Rock is hidden as anything can be in Paris. To access the Passage de la Sorcière, you will need to get past a locked gate on 23 Avenue Junot or 65 rue Lepic. To get past the gates, you will need to request to visit using the intercom. A simple “Je veux voir le Rocher de la Sorcière” should get you through.

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January 17, 2024

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