|Location:||Saint-Maurice, Valais Suisse. About 300m north of Saint Maurice and 28km west of Sion.|
|Open:||15-MAR to MAY daily 10-17. JUN to SEP daily 10-18. OCT to 15-NOV daily 10-17. 16-NOV to 14-MAR reservation only. |
|Fee:||Adults CHF 8, Children CHF 5. |
|Classification:||Karst cave, river cave.|
|Dimension:||L=1,810m, VR=166m, T=10°C (air), T=9°C (water), A=580m asl.|
|Guided tours:||self guided, D=45min, L=504m.|
|Address:||Grotte aux Fées, M Olivier Crottin, CH-1890 St-Maurice, Tel: +41-24-4851045, Cell: +41-76-3451045, Fax: +41-24-4851045. E-mail:|
|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.
|1994||entrance area renovated and improved.|
As the name of the cave promises, Grotte aux Fées means fairy cave, you will find a fairy well inside, and the legend tells that everyboby who puts his left hand in the well will be granted a wish. However, it seems this is only the modern touristic interpretation. The cave which was known as early as Roman times, was called Trou des Fayes during the 19th century, which means Hole of the Sheep in the local dialect, as it was used as a sheepfold. Nevertheless there are several legends told at the cave, like this ones:
Long time ago, a good fairy named Frisette (little curl), lived in the cave entrance. Her duty was to protect the noble family Duin, which lived in castle Duin above the village of Bex. There also was an evil witch living at Diablerets, called Turlure.
After her cave was destroyed by a collapse, Turlure asked if she could live in the cave of Frisette for some time. Frisette welcomed her with open arms, but she demanded from her not to harm anybody in the area. But one day, Turlure found the two young children of the Duin castle playing at the shore of the Rhone river and drowned them.
Frisette saved the children with her magic wand. Angry as she was, she struck Turlure who fell into the floods and drowned. But now she was so sad about having killed herself, that she broke her wand and left the area for ever.
At the same time, a dragon haunted the cave. Being the only one of its species here, it was bored and decided to leave the area. When it arrived at the cascade of the cave, it stayed a few days on the small balcony above and rested. Then it continued, but the cave is rather narrow and so its skin left markings on the wall. Finally it met the wicked fairy who petrified it inside the cave where it can be seen until today.
At the end of the tour, the water from the glacier Dents du Midi falls down a 77m high waterfall into a subterranean lake. This is said to be the highest underground waterfall in a show cave in the world.