Exploring the cave

A grandiose but intimate guided tour

Following an introductory film showing how caves formed in the Ardèche, the first steps of the access tunnel plunge both children and adults alike into a unique atmosphere before they come face to face with breathtaking subterranean landscapes! The secure walkway, that features a number of viewing platforms, allows you to visit the Cave in complete safety.


The de Joly chamber

When you enter the first chamber, you'll be overwhelmed by the immensity of the 10,000 m² rocky landscape that stretches out before you! Any notion of distance becomes relative, the ceilings reach heights of up to 30 meters!
The number and variety of concretions is remarkable, ranging from the colossal to the extremely delicate. Accompanied by an experienced guide, the cavern's mysterious forms transport you to a magical world full of mighty stalagmites, from which seem to emerge the Leaning Tower of Pisa,  and forests of stacked plates.Bursting water droplets formed what look like giant palm trees, as well as the emblematic "Pine Cone" standing at more than 11 meters high.


The Chaos chamber

As the different sections are illuminated, you will learn how water has sculpted the limestone rock over time, fashioning a grandiose masterpiece complete with translucent tinges of purple, ochre and brown. Long ago groundwater seeped through and the cave ceiling began to collapse, creating the present day open volumes of the Aven d'Orgnac. Fallen blocks accumulated in the deeper section of the cave: some of the stalagmites that developed on these blocks are around 15,000 years old. No man-made structure can claim such longevity! Fragile draperies hang from the walls: slowly-flowing water drops have formed these. They are composed of deposits of calcite, naturally white, sometimes translucent, and never more than a few millimeters thick.

Visite guidée de la grotte ©L.Frémondière

The Red chamber

As we approach the end of the secure walkway, the Red chamber takes us into the original gallery hollowed out by the underground river that flowed here around 6 million years ago. The traces of corrosion on the walls serve as a reminder of the cave's distant past, when it was filled with water over several periods before eventually drying out. Colossal pillars then formed, setting the scene for the closing sound and light show that really brings out the majesty of this grandiose nave in a truly unforgettable moment of poetic beauty!!

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