Visit the Gouffre de Proumeyssac and its park

Audrix
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Today, we are going down into the bowels of the earth… In a chasm which has brought fear and aroused curiosity since the 17th century… The Trou de Promeissat… To stop their fears, the villagers covered it with a brick-built lid… In 1907, a brave scientist went to explore the chasm and did not find the devil, but splendid concretions, basins and majestic crystallisations. The scientist and his colleagues visited the chasm in a wooden basket, with a horse holding the rope. More than 100 years after its first exploration, the Gouffre de Proumeyssac in Bugue attracts 130,000 visitors per year ! You can visit it in a basket (in metal and operated by a motor !) or by foot, with a guide so you can enjoy the hidden magic… This year, 2 new sound and light shows highlight the cavity, to enhance the experience. Should we go ?


The Gouffre de Proumeyssac, a geological rarity

Without getting into complex geological explanations, it should be pointed out that the rock, in which the Gouffre de Proumeyssac has naturally been created, is made of limestone. A very long long time ago, the mountains where we go skiing (the Alps, and the Pyrenees), raised up and the limestone plateaux at their feet got fractured. The rainwaters and the erosion led to the collapsing of the rock underground : they created the caves and the chasms. In the case of the Gouffre de Proumeyssac, the runoff waters which carried on flowing, had become saturated with minerals and the slow infiltration created the stalactites (going down), the stalagmites (going up), draperies and concretions that we can admire today ! Wonderful nature… a few centimetres per century ; I’ll let you calculate the thousands of years necessary to create this one ?


Draperie gouffre de proumeyssac

Draperie of the Gouffre de Proumeyssac


In the Gouffre de Proumeyssac, there are pools, we do not talk about lake or underground river, but about « gours ». The water runs off very slowly and plateaux with small reservoirs, like damns, got formed. The beauty of the lighting reveals the natural colour of these gours : a superb blue emerald.

Gours gouffre de proumeyssac

Les Gours

What is fascinating, when you visit the Gouffre de Proumeyssac, it is the many concretions ! The big star are the water droplets. It is these water droplets, which patiently run off along the walls leaving its minerals on the rock.

  • You can see for example a magnificent forest of stalactites, under which you pass along a bridge.
  • The baptismal font is another example of crystallisation (in a shape of a small bowl).
  • There are columns (stalactites meeting with a stalagmite), which are enlighten to see their translucent and coloured aspect.
  • There are draperies, formed when the water flows, in curtain.
  • There are multi-faceted concretions growing in every direction like small worms !
  • Finally there are curious concretions in triangular shapes… which form in calm and shallow waters…


Foret de stalagtites gouffre de proumeyssac

The forest of stalactites

bénitier gouffre de proumeyssac

The baptismal font

Stalagmite proumeyssac

Stalagmites, stalactites and columns

draperies gouffre de proumeyssac

The majestic draperies

gouffre de proumeyssac

Voluptuous shapes

ecoulement eau gouffre de proumeyssac

A never-ending water runoff

concrétions triangulaires proumeyssac

The triangular crystallisations


Visit the Gouffre de Proumeyssac


Visiting the Gouffre de Proumeyssac will keep you busy most of the day. When you are in Bugue, head toward Buisson and on the left towards Audrix it is well indicates. There is a large free car park.

Campagne Audrix

The beautiful view on the countryside


The chasm itself can only be explored with a guide, so when you get your tickets, you are entitled to a guided visit. During high season, it may not be to join the next tour (as the group numbers are limited in order to offer a quality experience). It is not a problem because there are other things to do to keep you busy :

  • There are refreshment bars for a drink, a coffee while waiting for your timeslot. Children can enjoy an ice cream or a treat.
  • There is a shop, offering products for the children and a very beautiful collection of quality minerals, it is rare to see so many. There are local products and also petrified statues, which you can see the creation inside the chasm.
  • For hiking enthusiasts, there is a forest trail, the path starts from the car park. It is a short walk with a beautiful viewpoint over the surrounding countryside. The Gouffre de Proumeyssac is located in the hills above Bugue and Campagne.
  • You can settle at the picnic tables which are scattered in the woody park, near the ticket office, there are also toilets and an indoor picnic room, in case rain stops you from enjoying the outdoor tables. Children will have a great time at the playpark.
  • But that is not all ! There is a ludoparc with a paper chase and questions answers waiting for all next to the picnic area, finally a small museographical area to start or end the visit to the chasm.

 

La boutique gouffre de proumeyssac

The shop

Minéraux Proumeyssac

The minerals

Statuettes pétrifiées proumeyssac

The petrified statues, shining thanks to the calcite deposited on them

Parcours forestier proumeyssac

The forest trail

plan gouffre de proumeyssac

The presentation of the whole park

Jeux enfants proumeyssac

The games for the children

foret pique nique proumeyssac

The forest and the picnic tables

Ludo-parc Proumeyssac

The ludo park

musée gouffre de proumeyssac

The museographical space


It is visit time ! You have two options :

 

  • If you chose the classic visit : you follow your guide and pass through a tunnel to reach the heart of the chasm.
  • If you have chosen the visit in the basket, your guide will take you to the top of the hill, at the same place where more than a century ago, the visits were done in wooden baskets ! Today, everything is safe, modern and automatic.


The visit in the basket (that I have chosen) is really great, it offers a very original point of view and the possibility to really realise the depth and the vast character of the chasm. It is not everyday that you see such a volume (without beams or walls !). Once the basket visit is finished, you return via the classic visit path.

visite gouffre de proumeyssac

We head towards the visit in the basket

A small souvenir from the past

Entrée nacelle

Entrance in the basket

Descente nacelle proumeyssac

We are going down !

statuettes petifiées

The small petrified statues

nacelle proumeyssac

The basket goes back up once you have been dropped off

 

The visit of the Gouffre de Proumeyssac accompanied by an interesting commentary and 2 fantastic light and sound shows. What is new, is the way the light is projected on the concretions. It is a « mapping 3D » modern system, which appose the light at the exact place of a crevice, a draperie… It is magical !


Son et lumières rouge

The red sound and light show

passerelle stalagtites

The bridge under the forest of stalactites

eau gouffre de proumeyssac

The stars : the droplets of waters


An eco-friendly visit of the Gouffre de Proumeyssac, labelled “NF Environnement Sites de Visite”

Did you forget to do your daily exercises ? Look ! There are exercise bikes available. More seriously, the Gouffre de Poumeyssac is a site that practices environmental management. Alain Francès (the manager of the site) and his team are committed to the “NF Environnement Sites de Visitestandards.

The Gouffre de Proumeyssac is the second tourist site in France and the first cave/chasm to have received this label which holds an ambitious scope statement. It demands the fine management of energy saving : the chasm’s lights are led lights, there are recycling points, a smart management of the water and the possibility for the visitor to « compensate » for the carbon footprint of their visit ; when you pedal on the bikes, you inject energy directly in the network (honestly !) and if you pedal for approximately 30 minutes, you generate the equivalent of the energy used by your visit. Smart, isn’t it ?!


gouffre de proumeyssac

Pedal, I lasted 10 minutes !


Further information

 

Did you like my article ? Find other articles in the part « Do It Your Way » of the Guide du Périgord. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram (@guideduperigord). See you soon !


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