Every Monday evening in summer, until August 23, come and visit the Grotte du Grand Roc in Les Eyzies, in the evening at 8:30 p.m., with a hurricane lamp! An original and very immersive way, to immerse yourself in the emotion that Jean Maury the inventor, could feel while discovering these marvels! The Grotte du Grand Roc hides magnificent calcite concretions, with very particular shapes, they are eccentrics. To find out more, read, watch and make an appointment for a visit!
Photos of the article and video: © Guide du Périgord
The Grotte du Grand Roc was discovered by Jean Maury, archaeologist and prehistorian, in 1924. It is said that he is the inventor of the cave (the one who made the discovery). He was working right next door, on the Laugerie Basse excavation site (which can also be visited, in a combined ticket and I recommend it to you) when, while walking, he notices that water is flowing, dripping from incessantly from a specific location. Curious by nature and connoisseur of the phenomenon, he says to himself that something is hiding underneath… He is right.
He wants to explore this small semi-troglodyte terrace. On April 29, he will try to go through a first hole, but the concretions there, the columns, are so pretty that he refuses to damage them. He finds another passage and remains speechless in the face of the spectacle that awaits him. For 40,000 years, no one has entered this cave formed by the erosion of limestone over the millennia. The rainwater which streams and infiltrates the cavity, has given rise to incredible crystallizations! All around him, it is the magic of nature that has built a mineral forest. A connoisseur, he fully understands the extent of his discovery, which he intends to share. It opened for visitors in 1927, the time to prepare it to receive the public.
You can visit the Grotte du Grand Roc all year round, taking advantage of a ticket paired with Laugerie Basse, for example. Monday evenings in summer (until August 23), come and discover it with a hurricane lamp! You dive into the dark, you feel the excitement and the thrill that Jean Maury must have experienced in 1924… Each new venue, each turn is astonishment. At the end of the first tour of the cave, we turn on the lights and return, this time with the usual lights to enjoy the concretions and make a classic visit with all the explanations of the guide.
Why is the Grotte du Grand Roc so fascinating? It is not only the presence of concretions, it is also their nature! It is the only geological cave in Dordogne, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site . Here, we find stalactites (which FALL) stalagmites (which RISE) and columns (the meeting of the two, with a lot of patience, at the rate of a few centimeters per century…). There are draperies (when the calcite forms like a veil) and fantastic eccentrics: playful concretions, which go all over the place! They sometimes draw figures that one is tempted to identify: here a whale's tail, there a sword… There are also triangular calcites, which are very rare… They form in the gours (small lakes, or rather puddles of hard water). All these wonders are staged with light shows. To avoid touching them and also because the path in the cave is narrow and you can unintentionally damage something with a backpack, there is a protective net and you must not touch. Indeed, the deposit on our fingers (dirt or greasy element) could damage them irreparably.
To take advantage of the night visits of the Grotte du Grand Roc, do not hesitate to call to reserve. Several visits are organized by evening, on Mondays. You can also visit the cave all year round, with a very qualitative guided tour! We wish you a good time in this unique mineral forest!