Place du Château, 24160 Excideuil.
A89 (E70) exit St-Laurent, follow N221 north towards Périgueux, turn right on N21, at Sarliac sur l'Isle turn right onto D705, follow the Isle, then Loue valley to Excideuil. Start in the village opposite the Syndicat d'Initiative.
|Classification:||Sentier Karstique Karst Karst Cave|
Short trail: L=5.5 km.
Long trail L=8.5 km.
|Guided tours:||self guided|
|Address:||Office de Tourisme, Place du Château, 24160 Excideuil, Tel: +33-553-52-29-79. 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.
|1869||Grotte de l'Eglise de Saint Martin (Cave of Church of Saint Martin) discovered by Doctor Jules Parrot.|
The karst trail near Excideuil is also called Roches Enchantées (Magic Rocks or Enchanted Rocks). There are two different trails, the short one is 5.5 km long, the other one is 8.5 km long. The trail is marked with signs showing bear paws or “Heurtoirs du Pas de ma Mignonne”. The trails start in front of the Syndicat d'Initiative, in the center of the village. Here is the town hall and the tourist office, which provides maps and brochures. There is also a parking lot.
We have linked the pdf of a brochure with a description (in French) and a detailed map. The trail is also listed on hiking websites, which offer download of gps data. Good walking shoes, appropriate clothes, sun protection, some food and drink, and of course a lamp for the small caves are required. The long route will take at least two hours, if you want to enjoy the stops and do some photography, you should probably plan three hours.
The sights on the trails include the Grottes de Sarconnat (Caves of les Sarconnat). One of the most impressive rooms of this cave is la salle des 100 cierges (the Chamber of the 100 candles), named after numerous slim stalagmites. This cave, like many others in the area, contained a wealth of cave bear bones, when it was discovered. Unfortunately it is not open to the public, only the entrance with its karst spring is accessible.
Another cave is the Grotte de l'Eglise de Saint Martin (Cave of Church of Saint Martin). It was discovered in 1869 by the local doctor Jules Parrot. Cave bear bones and stone tools were discovered inside.
The trail offers numerous other interesting sights which are not karst related. There is a nice view from the bridge on the Doubs river. 400 species of flowers and plants have been classified along the trail, including 19 different wild orchids. The Tourist Office offers several free walks of the trail guided by specialists in geology, fauna and flora during summer.