La Grotte de Soustelle

Safari Souterrain


Useful Information

Location: Vallée du Galeizon, Cévennes. 53km from Florac, follow N106 towards Alès, then D.32 towards Cendras, La Baume.
Open: Daily at 13.
After appointment only.
Maximum 15 persons per tour.
[2014]
Fee: Per Person EUR 39.
Groups (4+): Per Person EUR 36.
Groups (8+): Per Person EUR 33.
Sport Clubs: Per Person EUR 28.
Minimum age: 6.
[2014]
Classification:  Karst cave.
Light: provided.
Dimension: L=2,500m.
Guided tours: D=5h.
Photography: Allowed
Accessibility: Definitely not, requires climbing and crawling.
Bibliography:  
Address: Sarl Caminarem, Jean-Louis Galera, Moulin de la Baume, 30480 Cendras, Tel: +33-466-788303, Fax: +33-466-788303. E-mail: contact
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
Last update:$Date: 2015/08/30 21:54:34 $

History

 
1709oldest inscription in the cave with a date.
2000opened for spelunking tours.

Description

The Grotte de Soustelle is located east of Alès, in the western part of the Cévennes. This undeveloped cave is an easy cave without vertical parts or very dirty passage, which is used for spelunking tours. The tours are intended for groups, especially schools, and the cave is often called grotte école (school cave). They offer some easy climbing and crawling, many speleothems and even palaeontlogic and archaeological remains.

The Grotte de Soustelle is located in the Vallée du Galeizon, right where the slope meets the level valley floor. A door with an iron gate protects the cave, which was known for a very long time. Visitor always took speleothems with them and left graffities. The oldest inscription with a date is from 1709, and there are more from the French Revolution and the 19th and 20th century. On side passage close to the entrance was once transformed into an cheese cellar, this is probably the origin of the door. The entrance has developed paths, but soon they end.

The area around the cave is owned by a farmer. He is obviously proud of his cave and protected it by keeping it closed. Even cavers were not allowed to enter the cave. He had a piggery, which he always used as an argument, why he closed the cave. On the other hand the cave was dangerous to the pigs. Once a pig vanished and could not be found. It entered the cave, although there are some steep passages, and was not able to return. It went deeper and deeper into the cave and finally died. The bones can be found, also other traces of the pig, footsteps, scratches on the walls, and traces where it tried to eat clay before it died.

The cave is now guided by Jean-Louis Galera, a local caver, who patiently convinced the farmer to allow cave visits. He added a few metal steps but no other improvements were made to the cave. On the other hand he cares for the protection of the cave, tells the visitors how to behave, and cleans pollutions immediately. As a result the cave may be in better shape after the tour leaves the cave, than before the visit. He surveyed the cave, and is still exploring some leads.


See also


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