Legendary French ‘Excalibur’ Sword Has Mysteriously Disappeared After Being Stuck in a Rock for 1,300 Years

By: Julia Mehalko | Published: Jul 03, 2024

Durandal, the legendary French sword likened to King Arthur’s Excalibur, has mysteriously disappeared from the rock it has been stuck in for nearly 1,300 years.

This sudden vanishing of the famed sword has caused locals in the French town of Rocamadour to lament the disappearance of the sword that has been in their region for centuries.

The Popular Durandal Sword

The Durandal sword has long been a tourist attraction in Rocamadour, France. Interestingly, the sword was stuck in a rock wall about 32 feet off of the ground.

A close-up of the Durandal sword in stone.

Source: Traumrune/Wikimedia Commons

This high presence of the sword makes its disappearance even more strange. Nobody in town yet knows what happened to Durandal, though an investigation has been launched.


The Theft of Durandal

Local police have come out to reveal that it appears Durandal has been stolen, even though they haven’t yet figured out how someone could have gotten high enough to truly remove this sword.

A view of castles and buildings seen by a rock wall in Rocamadour, France at night.

Source: Jacques Dillies/Unsplash

There’s simply no easy way to access the sword and then steal it — without being caught. However, police are now conducting an investigation into this theft, hoping to bring Durandal back to its home.

The Legendary Tale of Durandal

Durandal remains the most legendary ancient sword in all of France, thanks to the myth and tale that is attributed to this sword’s existence.

A Wolfgang von Bibra painting of a battle featuring Roland and Durandal.

Source: Carl von Bibra/Wikimedia Commons

Roland, a notable knight and officer of Charlemagne who is often talked about in old epic French literature, was the original wielder of Durandal.

An Epic Poem

The many interesting qualities attached to Durandal are all told in The Song of Roland, an 11th-century epic poem that is the oldest surviving major work of French literature to this day.

Old art depicting knights and the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

This very old tale is beloved by the French and literature enthusiasts worldwide. The only existing manuscript of this epic poem, which was written in Old French, can be found in Oxford at the Bodleian Library.

The Sharpest Sword in the World

According to the original French legend, Durandal is the sharpest sword in the entire world and in all of existence. It’s also indestructible. Therefore, the old stories warn that, in the wrong hands, the sword could be dangerous and deadly.

A tapestry depicting Roland and Durandal’s final battle.

Source: Marie Therese Ross/Wikimedia Commons

Legend also has it that this sword can cut through just about anything. It can even successfully split giant boulders with just one strike.


Local Myths and Legends

While the epic poem The Song of Roland tells many stories about Durandal and its magical qualities, local myths and legends in Rocamadour itself have also been told.

An aerial view of Rocamadour, France in the daytime.

Source: Jacques Dillies/Unsplash

According to locals, the sword hanging above the town in a cliff wall is Durandal. This site is also above the River Dordogne, which has a sanctuary that has attracted many pilgrims over the centuries.


Old Rocamadour Myths

These old myths and stories explain that Charlemagne first received this epic sword from an angel. Charlemagne then gave this magical and powerful sword to his trusty knight, Roland.

A view of the village of Rocamadour in France in the daytime.

Source: Schafer Sebastien/Unsplash

However, Roland eventually would face death at the Battle of Roncevaux Pass. This led to the knight’s great worries over who would get this powerful sword upon his passing.


Roland’s Attempt to Destroy the Sword

Before his death at this battle, Roland tried everything in his might to destroy Durandal. He didn’t want his enemies to obtain the sword and then bring about great destruction with it.

Old art depicting Roland’s death near the Durandal sword.

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Though Roland tried to desperately break the sword upon rocks, he wasn’t successful. Finally, he decided to throw it up into the air before he died — and it traveled all the way to Rocamadour, where it got stuck high up in a rock wall.


Centuries in a Rock

Durandal has reportedly been stuck in this rock for nearly 1,300 years. It has since become a hotspot for locals and tourists alike.

A close-up of the Durandal sword in a rock.

Source: Traumrune/Wikimedia Commons

Residents of Rocamadour have always been incredibly protective of the sword. Therefore, the theft of Durandal has hit many of them hard.


A Devastated Town

Dominique Lenfant, the local mayor, has explained that the town is now devastated by the sudden disappearance of Durandal.

People walking around the town of Rocamadour, France.

Source: Ray Harrington/Unsplash

“We’re going to miss Durandal. It’s been part of Rocamadour for centuries, and there’s not a guide who doesn’t point it out when he visits,” Lenfant stated.


Durandal and Rocamadour

So much of the myth of Durandal and the town of Rocamadour has been intertwined for centuries, according to Lenfant.

An aerial view of the town of Rocamadour, France seen in the evening.

Source: le Sixième Rêve/Unsplash

He said, “Rocamadour feels it’s been robbed of a part of itself, but even if it’s a legend, the destinies of our village and this sword are entwined.”