Myths and legends have populated countries around the world. While some have managed to resist through the centuries, many have now fallen into oblivion. In France, legends inhabit each of the regions, departments and municipalities. Yet only a few are part of folklore today.

It must be said that these creatures generally date back to distant periods. “Very often it is noises during the night or events that we observe in the morning that are at the origin of these legends.”, explains Amélie Tsaag Valren, co-author, with Richard Ely, of Bestiary fantastic

“The peasants noticed, in the morning, that knots had appeared during the night in the hair of the horses. Unable to explain this phenomenon, the men thought that elves had come to make stirrups in the mane of the horses to be able to ride on it” , develops the Bretonne.

Other types of legends were also interpreted through the noises of the night or to scare some people. But how did beliefs in these creatures die out over time?

According to the expert, this would be due in particular to public lighting. “When you come home from a friend’s house, there are no street lights, and you hear noise in a bush, you can imagine all sorts of things being a werewolf. With public lighting, it no longer works,” she explains.

There was a time when beliefs in legendary creatures were common in France. Discover their myths in our slideshow.