Posts Tagged ‘Gouffre de Padirac’
Even if your primary reason for coming here is to canoe or kayak the magnificent Dordogne River, there are a few places that should not be overlooked when visiting the Dordogne River Valley:
Pech Merle, Grotte du Gaume, and Lascaux: The Pre-History of Man
Check out magnificent cave art of early man at Pech Merle, Grotte du Gaume, and Lascaux. (Also, a visit to the National Prehistoric Museum in Les Eyzies is a must)
Rocamadour is a nearly vertical village which has been visited by pilgrims since the 9th century. In 1166 when the perfectly preserved remains of St. Amadour were discovered under the floor in front of its little Chapelle Notre-Dame, Rocamadour became one of the most important centers for religious pilgrimage in all of Europe. It is said, ‘St. Amadour’ was actually Zacchaeus – a tax collector in Jericho at the time of Christ – who was advised by the Virgin Mary to come to this location in France to live out his remaining years as a hermit. Toward the end of the 12 century, Henri Courtmantel, aka: “Young King Henry”, son of King Henry II of England & Eleanor of Aquitaine (and the old brother of Richard the Lionheart), plundered Rocamadour and stole its most prized relics including; a small statue known as the ‘Black Virgin’ and Rowland’s famous sword, Durandal. Ultimately, under pressure from King Henry II, he returned these relics to Rocamadour and they can be seen there today.
Gouffre de Padirac:
Imagine a voyage down a river deep underground it is probably one of the most unique boating experiences you will ever encounter. The Gouffre de Padirac provides a spectacular entrance to a network of rivers about 300 feet underground and the opportunity to take a little cruise of about 1.5 nautical miles through a beautiful grotto and cave network. The view up from the base of the Gouffre’s main chasm gives you the sense that you are beginning a journey to the center of the earth. Then, you continue to descend another 100 feet underground to the boats below!
Link: Gouffre de Padirac
Explore the most beautiful villages in France:
THE French government has generated a list of 148 villages within the 65 French Departments (Counties) they protect & consider these villages’ true national treasures. All of these villages date back to the Middle Ages. Within a 20 to 30 minute drive radius of Carennac, there are seven! These include: Carennac, Loubressac, Autoire, Curemonte, Rocamadour, Turenne and Collonges-la-Rouge.
In total, eighteen of these plus beaux villages (including; Collonges-la-Rouge, Turenne, Curemonte & Domme not on detailed on the map above) are within an hour drive or less of Carennac. That’s better than 10% of the entire List …Right here in the Haut Quercy, how cool is that???
Link: Les Plus Beaux Villages
à bientôt! Jack
The Gouffre de Padirac had long been the subject of legend and lore, but it was not until 1889 that the speleologist Mr. Edouard-Alfred Martel undertook the first systematic exploration of the site. To their great surprise, Martel and his crew discovered a tributary to the Dordogne River running over 20k through incredible limestone caverns at a depth of: 100meters beneath the earth’s surface!
Today, the Gouffre de Padirac is one of France’s great natural attractions. Visitors descend by stairs or elevator to the base of a 75m sinkhole then continue to descend about another 30meters on foot to the underground river and board skiffs for a guided 2.5k river excursion to the interior of the site.
Guides then lead you on foot past mystical pools and through magical underground galleries. Ultimately, you are lead back to the boats for the return river-ride and the ascent by stairs or elevator back to ground level.
On my first visit to this part of France the possibility of getting on a river deep underground was something both unexpected and frankly never on my radar…
I hope this ‘post’ puts the Gouffre de Padirac on yours.
Bon Voyage et à bientôt! Jack
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Web Link: Gouffre de Padirac
Open: 2 April to 2 November 2012
Admission prices: Adult 9.4 € & Children (4 to 12 years) 6.1 €