Villefranche-de-Conflent, Pyrénées-Orientales Department (66).
N116 Perpignan-Andorre. In Villefranche-de-Conflent turn south, towards Vernet-les-Bains. Parking after 200m at right.
JUL to AUG daily 12-17:30, tours every half hour.
Adults EUR 9, Children (6-16) EUR 5, Children (0-3) free.
Two caves: discount EUR 3.
Three caves: discount EUR 6.
|Guided tours:||Photography and videos allowed.|
Grotte des Grandes Canalettes, 2 rue St. Jacques, 66500 Villefranche de Conflent, Tel: +33-468-052020, Fax: +33-468-807684.
|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.
|1952||explored by the Prades speleology group.|
|1954||opened to the public by the Castillo family.|
|2003||merged with the Grandes Canalettes.|
The cave Les Canalettes was the first show cave in Villefranche-de-Conflent. The area is actually riddled with caves, but the relief is very steep, and most of the entrances are difficult to access. This cave was a new discovery, and after technical difficulties which required climbing and abseiling, the local caving club was able to explore it during the next years. After only three years from the discovery, the cave was opened to the public by the owner in 1954. The Castillo family owned the cave and it was run as a family business. Jean Castillo was the owner and his son Elie and his daughter-in-law Georgette worked as guides. The cave was open only during July and August, so it was just an additional income.
After three decades, a second cave was discovered nearby, bigger and more beautiful. It was owned by the Delonca family and also opened to the public. It was named Grotte des Grandes Canalettes, to make a point. Nevertheless, the Canalettes survived and in 2003 the two businesses merged. Today all three caves of the town have merged, and it is best to start a visit at the Grotte des Grandes Canalettes for info and purchasing tickets. There are combi tickets for two and three caves.