Journey to the (near) centre of the Earth to discover the secrets of the chasms in and around the Dordogne. From Proumeyssac to Padirac, you're in for a real treat.

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Gouffres de Dordogne: what are the must-see sites?

It's not Jules Verne's Journey to the Centre of the Earth... but it's close.

Like the famous prehistoric caves, the chasms of the Dordogne valley and the Vézère have many secrets to reveal. This is your chance to enjoy fun and original activities for all the family, dozens of metres underground. Follow the guide and rush into the depths of Périgord !

The chasms: discovering the Dordogne's hidden heritage

Tourism in the Dordogne means the caves from Prehistory of course, but that's not all! Treat yourself a dive into the Périgord by visiting an abyss.

What is a chasm?

The abyss is a vertical cavity formed naturally in the ground. Chasms are of karstic origin karsts are environments made up of soluble rocksmost often limestoneaffected by erosion. It is not uncommon to come across relief, underground rivers and different types of cavities, including chasms and caves. Périgord and the Vézère valley are perfect examples.

Abyss or cave?

Don't confuse chasms with caves. The cave forms in the cliffswhile the abyss is being dug dozens or even hundreds of metres deep under your feet. In the Périgord, you can find both! Why not take advantage of your stay to visit sites and prehistoric caves in the Vézère valley, such as the Lascaux cave and his incredible paintings? The Bara-Bahau caves and de Rouffignacand the Combarelles cavenear Sarlat, are also well worth a visit for their immersion in prehistory.

Why visit the chasms of the Dordogne?

The chasms of Vézère and Dordogne valleys are among the most remarkable in France. The Proumeyssac chasm is a must-see place to visit, as is that of Padirac in the Lot. Discover underground vaults and their concretions (stalactites, stalagmites) in explorer mode: children will love it.

An activity sheltered from showers when it rains, or cool on hot days? These are the advantages of the abysswith a temperature of 13 or 14 degrees all year round. You can also take advantage of this opportunity to disconnect for a few moments without a 4G network.

Which chasm to visit in the Dordogne?

The Proumeyssac chasm, 50 metres underground

Located in the commune ofAudrix in the heart of Périgord and the Vézère valleythe abyss was officially discovered in 1907. Previously, the site was surrounded by terrifying legends of disappearances. Today, they are well and truly forgotten! The abyss contains an underground vault spectacular, the largest in the Périgord, christened " Crystal cathedral ". That says a lot about the beauty of the concretions in the chasm.

Make a note in your diaries: the chasm is open all year round except in January, when it is closed. a rich programme of events for adults and children.

Visit in a gondola, sound and light show, activities for children: ask for the programme

How can you discover the secrets of the chasm? You can choose from a range of activities and visit options:

  • One-hour guided tour by a guide, or the gondola tour with a breathtaking view of the concretions;
  • The sound and light show Cathedral of lights "breathtaking;
  • Special family entertainment with the " The mysteries of Proumeyssac "New for 2023;
  • But also bicycles that generate electricity to produce some of the energy needed for visits.

Don't forget the Padirac chasm!

The Padirac chasm can be seen in the Dordogne valleyjust a stone's throw away of Rocamadour in the Lot département. This abyss is every bit as incredible as those in Périgord, and was first explored in At the end of the XIXe century. It stands out in particular for its underground river at a depth of 103 metres. To visit the Padirac chasmmeeting between late March and early November !

Photo: Christoph Gerigk ©Gouffre de Padirac

Prepare your visit to the chasms of the Dordogne

If you want to explore the chasms in the Dordogne or Vézère valleys, it's best to plan ahead. book well in advance. Especially if you opt for tour of the abyss in a gondolaand if you decide to come to Périgord in the summer.

Don't forget to book your accommodation, your campsite and other activities: discovering the prehistoric cave of Lascaux and its International Centre for Cave Art, the Font-de-Gaume caves and de Combarellesetc.

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