Grotte de la Salamandre

Aven de la Salamandre

Useful Information

Location: Near Méjannes le Clap, about 45 minutes from Avignon. Belongs to the town of Saint-Privat de Champclos, but is only accessible from Méjannes le Clap. From Méjannes le Clap follow road to Plage du Roy, after 3km parking lot. 700m walk to the cave.
Open: MAR to APR daily 10:30-17, tours every hour.
MAY to JUN daily 10-18, tours every 30min.
JUL to AUG daily 9:30-19, tours every 20min.
SEP daily 10-18, tours every 30min.
OCT daily 10:30-17, tours every hour.
Lunch break 12:30-13:30, no tours.
Fee: Adults EUR 10, Children (6-14) EUR 6.50, Children (0-5) free.
Groups (10+): Adults EUR 7, Children (6-14) EUR 5.50.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave
Light: electric.
Dimension: Ar=150x100m, HD=100m, A=300m a.s.l., T=13°C.
Guided tours: L=500m, VR=20m, ST=60 down - 85 up, D=55min.
Accessibility: Only observation platform.
Address: Grotte de la Salamandre, Serre de Barry, 30430 St-Privat de Champclos, Tel: +33-988-182834. 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.


1965 first explored by cavers from Nimes.
2007 begin of development.
APR-2011 first access tunnel completed, second tunnel a few months later.
01-JUL-2013 opened to the public.


The Grotte de la Salamandre (Salamander Cave) is located in the Cevennes, just west of the Rhone valley. All those hills are composed of limestone and full of caves. Some areas, like the Ardeche valley, are well developed for tourists and full of showcaves. This area had no show cave before this cave was developed and opened to the public in 2013. Grotte de la Salamandre is one of the youngest show caves in France. It was created as enveironment friendly as possible. Thi the cave is not only equipped with modern LED light, it is also powered by solar energy. The parking lot is 700m away, to avoid traffic in this tranquil forest. Only handicapped are allowed to drive to the cave.

Grotte de la Salamandre is located in a dense forest. It was known for a long time to local woodcutters, but because of the technical difficulties, and probably also because of superstinion, they never entered the cave. This is what French call an Aven, an abyss, the cave starts with a 50m deep entrance shaft. The exploration started with a group of speleologists from Nimes. When they abseiled into the pit, they discovered a fire salamander with its typical black and yellow colouring at the bottom. So they named the cave Aven de la Salamandre.

The salamander is not the only cave visitor which was discovered in this cave. There are bats, dormice, and even toads. A true troglodyte is the beetle Diaprysius mazauricus, which was also found in the nearby Aven d'Orgnac.

The cave has a normal show cave tour through the speleothem rich fossil parts below the abyss. The cave is entered and left through two artificial tunnels. There are numerous extraordinary speleothems in the cave, like curtains, disks, and helictites. The tour is grouped into 12 stages, which show different interesting aspects of the cave. But despite all the wilful intents, the cave is equipped with coloured light which is pretty annoying.

As the normal tour has lots of stairs, it is not wheelchair accessible. Handicapped visitors may vist the museum and the Belvedere at the rim of the aven. From here The Grand Rappel starts, a special tour which starts with an abseil into the cave. Abseiling and caving equipment is provided. This tour includes the normal guided tour and takes about two hours.

There are numerous events in the cave. During the summer there are regular concerts including classical, baroque, or folk a ethno music. There are also numerous art projects, for example Jean-Pierre David with his Aeroplume, a one person hot air balloon. He was silently flying through the enormous chamber navigating with big wing-like paddels. There are YouTube videos with this and other events.