Your guided tour of
the Grotte de Choranche
We are open all year round, and look forward to hosting you for a guided tour of this dazzling crystal cavern, staged by a team of enthusiasts.
You will take an immersive, instructive tour lasting about an hour along a trail built around the lakes and rivers.
Our guides tailor their presentation to their visitors, and are here to satisfy the curiosity of both children and grown-ups – so feel free to ask questions, chat and interact!
Your guide will tell you about the cavern’s human history: how it was discovered, the first explorations, and the cavers who continue to venture beyond the developed sections.
Geology of the Grotte de Choranche
You will discover the power water exerts as it passes through a limestone massif to form cavities and create concretions. Straw stalactites are a feature specific to the Grotte de Choranche: thousands of very fragile calcite straws of crystalline whiteness, which hang from the ceilings and can be more than three metres long.
The olm, a curious creature
The Grotte de Choranche is home to the largest predator in the subterranean world: the olm. Measuring up to 35 centimetres long, and indigeneous to Slovenia, this legendary cavern-dweller is a fascinating animal: blind, devoid of pigmentation, and able to go without food for months at a time, the olm can live to be 80 years old!
Sound & light show
During your tour, you will visit the stunning Cathedral Chamber, showcased by a tremendously colourful sound & light show, projected onto walls many thousands of years old – an original way of discovering this huge space, 40 metres wide and nearly 25 metres high.
The Grotte de Choranche:
an outstanding natural site at the heart of the Vercors
In the Department of Isère, deep in the
The cavern nestles amid the luxuriant nature of the Choranche cirque at 500 metres altitude. The fitted-out site offers wonderful vantage-points over the Bourne Gorge and the Presles Cliffs, which are more than 300 metres tall.
How the Grotte de Choranche was discovered
According to the story told locally, in 1871 the area was hit by drought, which prompted the villagers to walk upstream along the river bed. At the foot of the Presles Cliffs, they entered a narrow cavity from which water was emerging. A few steps further on, and having moved a few rocks to one side, they discovered a vast chamber with a large lake.
Then in 1897, more than 20 years later, began the first explorations of the Grotte de Choranche, led by Oscar Descombaz, a pioneer of caving and potholing in France.
Passion and conservation:
55 years of touring the Grotte de Choranche
Open to the public since 1967, making the Grotte de Choranche into a tourist attraction stemmed from the passion of three cavers/potholers eager to introduce this subterranean world to the greatest number of people.
For more than 20 years, Laurent Garnier, son of one of the cavern’s buyers, has been continuing to run the attraction as a family-sized firm that strives to promote and preserve this picturesque yet fragile environment.
During your tour, you will meet a team of guides with a passion for the underground world, who will welcome you and escort you through the cavity.
But their mission doesn’t stop there: besides leading tours, they devote some of their time to developing and maintaining the entire Grotte de Choranche site.