Saint-Marcel caves illuminated formations


27 March 2021  |  Tourism

Saint-Marcel caves

Visit the Ardèche Gorges this summer and descend into the caves of Saint-Marcel located near Bidon. Walk the 600m circuit, at a temperature of 14°C, admiring the illuminated galleries, its fauna, its flora and its water basins.

The location of the caves of Saint-Marcel was discovered in 1836 by a hunter whose ferret fell into one of the cavities of the cave. Today, 657 km of caves have been discovered.

Outside, visitors can take the nearby 2,800-meter long path and discover the megalithic traces of “menhir and dolmen” along the way.

The gorges of the Ardèche limestone plateau extend over 30 km between Pont d'Arc and Saint Martin d'Ardèche and offer visitors an exceptional panoramic view. It is an excellent area for caving, rock climbing, hiking and canoeing.

Did you know?

It is a donation from Dame Vierne in 1228 which is worth to the commune of Saint-Marcel to be the owner of one of the jewels of the underground world. The Grotto has been a national natural heritage site since 1934. Called the Grotte du Grand Louret, excavated by Léopold Chiron from Saint-Marcel, it is one of the pioneers of prehistory. It knew phases of occupation of the men of the prehistory in 90000 years and 1000 years before our era. The Lion's Head cavity (closed to the public) hides a 20,000-year-old cave painting discovered in 1963. A bovid drawn in red ocher shows two deer heads.

Free tour

Only in July and August from 2 pm to 7 pm continuous departure independently and last entry at 6 pm.

Guided tours

Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its geological and archaeological interest, the Grotte Saint-Marcel is, with its 64 km of network, one of the largest cavities in France.

From 10 am to 1 pm, discover the Grotto on a guided tour with a departure every hour with a bilingual guide.

What to bring: sneakers and warm clothes, the temperature of the Grotto is 14°C in summer and winter.

Walk of fireflies

Wednesdays and Sundays at 10 a.m. visit by lantern light.


Go on an underground exploration with the family or for people looking for thrills.

Find all the information about your Speleology experience.


Epicurean visits, or caving with a caving guide and an oenology specialist for a unique moment. Book here.

Official website:

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Lee Jones

I am the property photographer for Pure France and travel throughout France meeting property owners. I come from a background of sales in the luxury brands Bang & Olufsen and Swarovski Crystal.

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