Cuves de Sassenage

Les Cuves

Useful Information

Location: Near Sassenage, west of Grenoble.
Open: MAY Sat, Sun 14, 15:30, 17.
JUN Wed-Sun 14, 15:30, 17.
JUL to AUG daily 14, 14:45, 15:15, 16, 16:30, 17:15, 17:45.
SEP Wed-Sun 14, 15:30, 17.
OCT Sat, Sun 14, 15:30, 17.
Closed during floods.
Fee: Adults EUR 7, Children (6-18) EUR 5, Children (0-5) free, Students EUR 5.50, Unemployed EUR 5.50.
Groups (20+): Adults EUR 5.50, Children (6-18) EUR 4, School Pupils EUR 4.50.
Classification: SpeleologyKarst cave. KarstKarst Spring Cretacious limestones (Cennoman, 80-65Ma).
Light: LightIncandescent Electric Light System LightSon et Lumière
Dimension: T=12 °C.
Guided tours: D=60 min, L=1,000 m.
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: No, steep trail to the cave
Address: Cuves de Sassenage, Chemin des Cuves, F-38360 Sassenage. Tel: +33-476-275537, Fax: +33-476-535217. 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.


17th century first explorations.
1947 200 m of the cave developed and opened to the public.
MAY-2002 25 school children and three escorts trapped in the cave for 6 hours.


The Cuves de Sassenage (Cave of Sassenage) is known for a very long time. It is the resurgence of a cave river named Germe, which flows out of the impressive cave portal. The cave tour follows the river upstream for some time, then it follows a fossil branch of the cave. The river has an impact on the show cave: during floods it is not possible to enter the cave. The cave is closed in spring until the snow melt is over, and in summer after heavy rains it might be closed too. The cave is hydrologically connected to the nearby Gouffre Berger, this was found out by a dye tracing experiment. The Gouffre Berger is rather famous among cavers, as it once was the deepest cave of the world, and a visit is a very demanding cave tour with many vertical parts.

To visit the cave is rather strenuous for a show cave, as the cave is located above the town Sassanage, and it is necessary to walk uphill to the cave entrance. There is a small parking lot in the city, but it is not suitable for coaches. Here the visitors get basic information, for example if the cave is closed due to flooding. The walk uphill is rather pleasant, but you should allow at least half an hour. Along the way lies a nice waterfall. There is a second trail, so you can use a different route on the way down.

The ticket office is located at the impressive cave portal. The cave is widened by freezing, so it is here much bigger than inside. The trail crosses the river several times, until we leave it. The following passage is dry, by its river times are not very long ago, so the main sight of this cave are erosional forms of any kind. There are dolly tubs, scallops, and very few speleothems. The cave tour includes a light show which tells the story of the elf Mélusine.

Every Saturday, this young girl swam in the water of the river, transformed partly into a fish by her mother. But one day her husband saw her and so the secret was discovered, and the charm became irreversible. So Mélusine could not become human anymore, and she went into exile in the cave. Only when a member of the family of the lords of Bérenger was about to die, she came back to predict the death. While sitting in the cave she waited for her husband to free her, but he never came. Her tears rolled into the river Furon and were transformed into stones, so-called eye stones.

If you want to see her, she is depicted on a relief above the entrance door of castle Sassenage, wearing the coat of arms of the family Bérenger-Sassenage.