You may wonder how Ambialet came to be what it is today.
Let’s take a broad step back in time. It all began like the other fairy tales
we have learned to love ~ with a giant.
The ancients say that this giant, “Gargantua,” was strolling through the countryside,
stepping from one hill to another.
The journey was tiring and it made Gargantua very thirsty.
At some point, he leaned down and drank a river whole!
Upon feeling a little twig sticking on his tongue,
he spit there, and out came a cart loaded with hay and pulled by oxen,
which peacefully crossed the river!
While taking more great strides,
a little stone got stuck in the giant’s shoe.
He took this out and threw it aside.
One of these stones landed at Ambialet.
Today, this is known as «la Pierre plantée», which in English means ‘the planted stone.’
So there’s the story!
Ambialet was just a tiny stone stuck in Gargantua’s shoe
that was later filled in and surrounded by water.
This is why Ambialet is called a «Presqu’île», which means ‘almost an island’ (or peninsula).
High on the crupper of this saddle is perched a ruined castle,
with a church below it, and a cross and a graveyard on the cliff’s edge;
high on the pommel you climb to another cross,
beside a dilapidated house of religion,
the Priory of Notre Dame de l’Oder.
A little below the summit you passed a railed box-tree,
with an image of the Virgin against it.
Here a palmer, travelling homeward from the Holy Land,
planted his staff, which took root and threw out leaves and flourished;
and in time the plant, called _oder_ in the Languedoc,
earned so much veneration that Our Lady of Ambialet changed her title
and became Our Lady of the Oder.