|Location:||At Beaume les Messieurs. Close to Lons le Saunier.|
|Dimension:||Catafalque Gallery H=80m.|
|Address:||Grotte de Beaume Les Messieurs, Beaume les Messieurs 39210. Tel: +33-384446158, Fax: +33-384446141|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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|1970-1980||submerged gallery explored for 500m by cave divers.|
The Grottes de Beaume les Messieurs is a river cave, which is very active. The entrance is the spring of the river Dard, that is why it is also called Source du Dard. The spring flows during spring, at the time of snow melt, which is very impressive. An enormous beam of water comes virtually out of the steep cliff. The path into the cave crosses the spring twice on two bridges at different heights. The waterfall from the cave entrance is below the upper bridge, but above the lower bridge. This view is really impressive, and the entrance are is definitely the most extraordinary part of the cave.
The cave is the underground gorge of the river dard, with gours, dolly tubs and many other signs of erosion by flowing water. There are virtually no speleothems in the cave, as they are regularly destroyed by the floods. The path is built like bridges, above the water. After the entrance gallery, visitors are taken through tall, narrow passages and chambers.
The Salle des Chauves-Souris (Chamber of Bats), located 70m behind the entrance, is little more than a widening of the main passage. It is the crossing between the entrance passage and the athwart main passage. The system is formed along east-west running fractures in the limestone, so all passages run from east to west. The enrance passage is one of those. Still the main passage runs north-south. But it looks a little like a stack of plates when you look at the map, numerous parallel east-west running passages, which in connection form a irregular nort-south passage.
The Salle du Lac (Chamber of the Lake) is located 200m from the entrance, and has superb acoustics. From the Salle Renaud the path leads up to a dry passage of a higher level, and returns to the river cave at 400m from the entrance. This part of the cave is called Catafalque and ends at its most northern point 450m from the entrance.